Sunday, 17 December 2017

Kyla Sails Again!


Earlier in this blog I've posted the saga of the Kyla and the struggles by the Russells to bring back a trophy from the United States, here : Scots in Oyster Bay I'm delighted to report that I've heard from Kyla's new owners and one of them, Jean-François THAU, President of the Cercle de la Voile du Bois de la Chaize has contributed the following guest post. Blogging has very few direct rewards and this is one of them!

Act One : The Boat

Cornered by machines, a boat of traditional construction sits on her shores. A quick look shows that she’s definitely a six metre that’s undergone a less than aesthetic modernisation. Her name is Blue Monday, date of construction 1934, origin Scottish. Acquired by three pals in 1992, the Blue Monday had seen the start of a restoration that sadly hadn’t been finished by the trio.

In 2006 the Blue Monday is donated to the Conservatoire Maritime du Havre, an organisation that takes on classic yachts and boats, supports their restoration and sells them on.

At the lecture celebrating her acquisition we learn that her original name was Kyla. The first step in her restoration is the decision by the CMH is to give her this back.

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Kyle Act Two : Searching for origins


Following some deep research by Dany, the official in charge of acquisitions, the plans are recovered from Scotland. Receipt of these is a great moment for us, because they enable us at last to know Kyla’s true physiognomy. That moment settles some things for us, the helmsman’s cockpit was identical, but we have a different arrangement for the backstays and will have to add two winches.

A visit from Tim Street, the Honorary President of the British International Six Metre Association brings us a whole complement of precious information.

The renaissance has begun!

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Kyla Act Three : The Boatyard


Once the transfer to the yard is done, the work of assessing the real state of the boat and producing an accurate survey follows. This defines the various tasks and how to do them, make provisions, form teams and distribute the work, always remembering that Kyla herself will guide our professional efforts.

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Kyla Act Four : The Group Dynamic

The work proceeds, Kyla’s silhouette takes shape, problems are resolved, such as our blacksmith quickly realising that he has seriously underestimated how much he will have to do on a wooden boat. The dynamic of the group grows in strength, everyone knows his role, every piece of wood has to be perfect, all metal parts solid, aesthetic and brilliant, filling and sanding perfect, the masters words in our ears 

no shitty painting or varnishing, everything solid and lovely”

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Kyla Act Five : The Rigging


The mast provokes an animated debate, because it doesn’t exist any more. What to do? Making a new one is technically possible at the CMH, however Patrick explaining the technique makes us realise that this measures 14.70 metres to a top like the head of a lightbulb. “Look, we’re restoring a regatta boat and we’ve only got ten months to get the whole job done and try out the complete boat on the water.”

The decision is made, we’ve got to find a mast, a task given to Ronan, an active member of the Association.

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Kyla Act 6 : Completion


The project goes ahead full tilt, the restoration goes forward fast, the helm, the furniture, the fittings are put in place.

The first coat of paint goes on, the colour surprises us but gives a touch of originality. Why mauve? To give a nod to the the Swiss, whose waters we are sailing on, the colour of MILKA chocolate bars!

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Kyla Act 7 The Big Day


It’s arrived, the big day! An official presentation and presentation to the public, everyone is there, friends, families, participants.

The trip from the yard to the launch site is a great moment, it rains but who cares because we’re all overheating.

The boat touches the water, bravo to everyone! Kyla is beautiful and floats, now we just need to sail her.

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Kyla Act 8 : Handing over


Busy with the final preparations for another big day with Kyla under sail.

Sadly we’re sorry to miss out on this premiere. Well, one is doing well just getting a boat like this to go, as it’s not at all evident!

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Kyla Act 9 : Welcome to Switzerland


This part of the story consists of us arriving at Lake Geneva just before the historic boat regatta.

It’s lovely to see our Six with all the other classics. What a welcome we got from the Cercle de la Voile Vevay - la Tour

Kyla Act 10 : The boat is acquired in 2003 by Gilles Piette


She is repainted white and re-equipped with racing hardware. She takes part in several regattas at le Havre and Deauville until 2015, when her owner throws himself into the restoration of the Eight Meter Silk …









Kyla Act 11 : Stop Press September 2017

A band of comrades from Noirmoutier buy the boat from Gilles, beefing up the fleet of Sixes at the Cercle de la Voile du Bois de la Chaize .

The latest episode in the story of ten years in the recent history of Kyla happens one Monday in September, when after spending the whole weekend in discussions with Olivia and Valerie, Vincent and Jeff go to le Havre in torrential rain to see the boat.

The charm works at once. The decision to buy Kyla takes a few hours! With Christophe and Geoffroy having joined in the adventure by, the boat will join Noirmoutier in Spring 2018 with a view to the Metric Challenge 2018 Metric Challenge 2018 and the European Six Metre Championships European Six Metre Championships starting in September at La Trinite …

watch this space!




The Wherrymen

The Wherrymen
Two old friends on the water