African Dream Realised on the Clarence

After almost three years in construction, the luxury catamaran ‘Amarula’ was launched on the Clarence River on Thursday July 26, 2001.

Originally a Crowther design, the 18.4 metre aluminium vessel has been significantly launch11modified to suit the requirements of owners Eric Toyer and Lynne Sands, and is specifically designed for blue water cruising and long passages.

Eric, a former Yamba resident and local businessman, met UK-born wife Lynne in Tanzania, East Africa.  From the early beginnings of their relationship, the couple worked on plans to achieve their dream of building a luxury yacht to sail around the world.

Having finally realized that dream,  ‘Amarula’ will set sail from Australia into the Indian Ocean bound for East Africa (Dar es Salaam), later this year.

Eric and Lynne have worked hard to create an impressive website at  Information about ‘Amarula’, her construction, plans for the future and Captain’s Logs can be found on the website.

The dream began to take shape when Eric and his son Daniel, a fourth generation boat builder, set up a company in northern NSW, Australia to build the boat.  Not ones to keep such a special opportunity to themselves, Eric and Lynne will be offering other likeminded people the opportunity to partake in their chosen lifestyle by joining them aboard ‘Amarula’.

They are offering exploratory trips for guests who are adventurous and wish to explore new territory together with the crew.  They will also offer repeat trips for guests who prefer to have their crew know the ropes before visiting a destination.

A number of local tradespeople contributed to the project, with the fitout being carried out by Bob Evans and his son Levi.

Bob worked with Eric during the late 1980s on his previous boat, a commercial trawler now operating in East Africa.

Asked about the unusual name the vessel has been given, the adventurous couple said, “The name ‘Amarula’ was chosen to reflect the distinctly African flavour of the place where they first met, and also represents something they enjoy. Amarula is a delicious creamy liqueur made from the fruit of the marula tree, which is found in Southern Africa.”

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“The colour scheme represents the colours of the liqueur,” said Lynne, “a soft cream and rich red/brown.”

Mr Perry Gamsby of Amarula Australia, joined in the celebrations and official launch at Harwood, NSW, Australia.

The crew from NBN Television was also there to interview Eric and Lynne and the whole event was later broadcast to thousands from the Mid North Coast via the 6pm NBN News program.

Text and photos from the original website (2001)

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