Steel Away Logo

Steel Away is a 56 ft steel ketch that was custom built in Ontario, BC from plans created by the marine designer Bruce Roberts. Based in Australia, Roberts designed boats starting in the late 1960’s, offering DIY plans to those who wanted to make their own vessels from steel, wood, aluminum or fiberglass. From statistics on their website and other boat data sites, there are approximately 30,000 Bruce Roberts boats in the world and about 700 of the approximate model we have (a modified 53E plan), although each boat is unique.

The paperwork from the purchase of the boat, which was christened Tres Amigos, says it was completed in 1983 after an 11 year construction process, by a man named Gerhardt. Brent, who has wanted to sail around the world since high school, purchased it in 1989 for $77,000 in Florida. He bought it mainly for the hull and rigging, with the intention of fully renovating it one day. After Tres Amigos’ maiden voyage, from Ontario, to Maine via the St Lawrence Seaway, to Florida, it was rumored that the boat-builder’s wife said “it’s me or the boat” during that trip. She won that battle and the boat went up for sale, although we are unsure of the year, or how long the voyage took. After taking ownership, Brent changed the name to Party Central…because what else would a 27 year old single guy name his boat?

In 1990, I met my future husband in my apartment complex’s jacuzzi in Marina del Rey, California. He was always freezing cold, since his boat had no insulation. He described the journey of sailing the boat from Florida to Los Angeles, through the Panama Canal to me while thawing-out in the hot tub one night. He seemed like a very adventurous and smart guy. After being invited to see the boat, I realized he had no money and was not concerned with aesthetics – quite disappointing. The inside could be described as a college frat boy’s boat. It’s interior was made of plywood, with shoddy, unfinished surfaces. The dirty cushions in the salon were disguised with Mexican blankets. I spied his college diploma hanging over the head, (at least he had a degree). The only things Brent had going for him were that he was bright, ambitious and had long-term goals. Could he be marriage material?

We were married in December of 1992 and bought a house in San Diego. The boat was moved from the Chula Vista Marina, to the San Diego Boat Mover’s boatyard in Mission Gorge and was totally gutted. Over the next 6 years Brent started 2 different companies and Beth started 1 too. Kyle was born in Dec. 1998. The boat was neglected for about 22 years in the boatyard while life happened, but the dream never went away.

The renovation took approximately the last 6 years of the 28 total years in the boat yard and took countless hours and vast sums of money. The previous 22 years were chalked up to wasted payments to store her. She finally went back in the water on June 26, 2020 and was rechristened on July 4, 2020 as Steel Away. She resides in nearly the same slip she left in Chula Vista all those years ago. We implored Neptune to keep her and her crew safe on our journeys and forgive us for renaming her a more mature and less problematic name.

Now, she is finally ready to live the life she was meant to live and see the world. Follow us on our journey, as we explore, see amazing things and meet awesome people.