Fife Schooner #704
Length: 86 feet overall/74 feet on deck
Beam: 15 feet 6 inches
Built by Wm. Fife & Son Farlie, Scotland 1923
Construction: Teak planks Over English Oak frames/Bronze riveted
Keel laid in 1922 and launched in 1923. Astor was ordered by Dr. McCormick- A Surgeon residing in Sydney, Australia. He owned another Fife designed boat that was built in Australia. Over the years he had become a friend of Wm. Fife and decided to have a very special boat built by the Fife yard. Listed in "Fast and Bonnie" by May Fife McCallum, Astor was originally named "Ada" and is design number 704.
Astor has had only 5 owners:
Sir A MacComick, Sydney, Australia : Launched in 1923 as a daysailer Sir MacCormick himself with crew sailed her to Australia. He had a wonderful home inside the heads of Sydney Harbor that had its own ways car to haul Astor / Ada. During his ownership he was known to travel extensively hauling "Astor during his absence. It has been said that some times she was up for a period of 10-12 years. He enjoyed her as a family yacht until the Japanese entered Sydney Harbor. It was at that time that he sold the house and yacht to the Stewart Family.
Stuart Family, Sydney Australia, Little is known of this period. All that is known is that she was a family yacht that made a yearly adventure down the coast 60 miles south for a family vacation. It was noted by a deck hand that was day sailing on Astor "that it was important to have tea ready at the weather mark."
Peter Warner, Sydney, Australia, : Although this was the owner the shortest length of time, Mr. Warner made her famous. He says that he admired her in Sydney Harbor, thinking that with those lines she must be fast. The Warner family was an active yacht racing family and participated in the Sydney to Hobart race many times. When he purchased her he set about fitting her for racing, as she had not raced previously in her history. A young man at this time he and his young crew raced and won Line Honors 3 times. In 1962, she raced and lost after being 8 hours ahead to "Ondine”- a famous racing yacht from the USA owned by Huey Long (also well known for his yachts racing). It was a fight to the finish as Astor lost that day by only 57 seconds. It still stands as one of the most exciting finishes in Sydney to Hobart Race history. Mr. Warner raced in 1963 Trans Pac. She finished 4th corrected.
Wm. Adolph, MD, Marina del Rey, California, USA, : Used as family yacht, Dr. Adolph and his four sons sailed Astor extensively throughout Hawaii, Mexico and California.
1987 to present
Richard, Lani & Mariah Straman, Newport Beach, CA, USA
Richard Straman had always had his heart set on owning a big schooner. Searching and looking in every harbor he visited and reading everything available about schooners when he saw an ad in a local yacht listing with Astor for sale. He made an appointment with the broker and they went down to see her at the fish docks in San Diego. The Stramans had seen Astor a few years before and knew that she was grand. Richard wanted a boat that was teak and bronze construction. Lani wanted a boat with a splendid interior. After touring, it took the Stramans only one hour to make an offer.
The Stramans have enjoyed her in many ways. She has raced and won the KKIYC's America Schooner Cup Race 5 times consecutively. She also has won the Newport Harbor Yacht Club's Opening Day Race 8 times. Although racing is fun, the Stramans have enjoyed hundreds of trips to Catalina Island and ports up and down the local waters of California. In 1997 the family cruised to San Francisco for 2 months.
It was after that trip that they decided to retire and cruise extensively. It was decided that after Mariah graduated from high school would be the time to go. Putting aside a 35-year business in the automotive world and outfitting Astor was a lot of work, but managed to untie the lines in 2000 and never look back. That was the beginning of a 6 year tour of the South Pacific.
Over the years Richard has completed the following projects in addition to cosmetic upkeep. Richard has worked continuously restoring her doing all of the work himself or closely supervising the work. Some of the additions include the new pilothouse, refrigeration & pantry, forward cabin with V-berth/chain locker/sail locker.
In preparation for the South Pacific tour the following was also completed: All new standing rigging, single side band & ham radios, GPS (multiple), depthsounders, generator, watermaker, pressure water, water heater, Dishwasher, Clotheswasher.
Right before the 2008 Atlantic tour the changes included new cap rails, new booms (main and staysail), and now recently repowered with a new engine and transmission.