Roy Bryson dreamed of sailing around the world in comfort and safety on a boat that could be called home. Roy dreamed of visiting many beautiful islands, meeting the local people and pursuing his love of the outdoors. Roy dreamed of being at sea, out on the open water, free to experience nature and to fully enjoy his retirement years.
At the age of 50 Roy began to make his dream a reality.
Roy and his family lived in Port cartier in Quebec. Roy was an engineer, working for QCM – Quebec Cartier Mining Company). Roy loved the outdoors, especially being on the water. In the early 1960s’ the Bryson family purchased an ugly 32ft steel boat named The Ore Miner. (This boat had been used as a ferry to take pilots to and from the ore carriers as they prepared to come into port.) Over a two-year period, Roy converted the steel tug into a cruising boat. Once the renovations were completed, the family used to boat for summer vacations. It was during this time that Roy’s dream of a retirement on a boat began.
Months of weighing the pros and cons of power vs. sail took place, until the decision of sailboat was made. As Roy and his wife Elizabeth began looking at the purchase prices of large comfortable sailboats, they realized that Roy would have to build a boat of his own if their dream of retiring to a life of sailing was to be realized.
Roy spent months poring over boat plans and hull construction plans. Roy was drawn to the Ferro Cement and steel construction because of the safety aspect. From that point, plans were purchased from Sampson Marine in Vancouver, and at last the construction began.
The first item on Roy’s agenda was to build a huge shed in his back yard. The shed was 67ft long, 24ft wide and 20ft high. Roy cut spruce trees from a wooded lot 12 miles from his home; he hauled over 300 peeled logs to his house and began building the shed. (During this period, Roy was called Noah –the biblical character who built an ark- by his skeptical neighbors,) but undaunted Roy proceeded. The shed was made from spruce logs and covered with strong polyethylene.
The hull was built upside down using a wooden mold, which was later removed, and a complicated network of steel rods and steel mesh. Over 20 people completed the application of the cement in a 24-hour period. Then using chain blocks, pipes and cable, Roy constructed a device to lift the 16tonne hull and turn it over. Once this part of the construction was completed, Roy continued to build his boat.
The Amoeba was constructed from 1967-1977, mostly on weekends and holidays. It truly was a labor of love.
The launching was a memorable day.
The Amoeba at this point weighed over 30 tones. Surrounded by many of his colleagues, friends and neighbors, Roy supervised the crew as the boat was lifted over the house by a crane, and placed onto a flatbed trailer, then transported to the port, where it was lowered into the water.
A great party followed the highly successful launching of the Amoeba.
The rest of that summer was spent “dressing” the boat
The Maiden Voyage was on September 6th, 1977, when Roy and Elizabeth set sail for the South Shore of the St Lawrence River. After spending the summer living comfortably on board the Amoeba, they returned to Port Cartier and began to make plans to head towards the Caribbean. Roy retired from his position at QCM, Elizabeth retired from her teaching job, the house was sold and the furniture placed in storage. A year later the Bryson Family headed for their ultimate destination… a life long dream was just beginning.