Editor’s Note: Tears for Severn II

8mr Worldcup Severn2

Particularly in the GTA but all over both shores of Lake Ontario, the impressive sight of an 8-Metre under sail is a stirring sight.  These occasions not infrequent – the 8s’s owners keep these elderly, stunning classic boats alive through dedication and significant maintenance programs.

June 21, 2023

Particularly in the GTA but all over both shores of Lake Ontario, the impressive sight of an 8-Metre under sail is a stirring sight.  These occasions not infrequent – the 8s’s owners keep these elderly, stunning classic boats alive through dedication and significant maintenance programs. They race all summer as they have for a century. Between 1907 and 2008 approximately 500 8mR boats were built, 177 of them have survived until today spread around the world.

 

In 1930, the 8-Metre Rule was used to contest the Canada’s Cup, which had been awarded since 1896 for Great Lakes superiority. That year it was won for the US by Thisbe, built in 1929 beating Quest. Both Thisbe and Quest are sailing today.  This provides some context for what happened this week.

On Saturday, the Lake Ontario boat community came to a stop as word of a collision and the resulting sinking of Severn II spread across phones and social media. It would not be an exaggeration to say that for many, it was as traumatic as losing a dear friend. Severn II was built in 1934 at the Bute Slip Dock Company at Ardmaleish, Isle of Bute in the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. To describe Severn II, built of carvel mahogany on oak frame, as ‘beautiful’ is a huge understatement. Gorgeous striking, amazing. These 8s would be museum pieces, were they not still energetically sailed racing boats.

Severn II is now off Humber Bay in 100 metres of water. Will she rise again? Is that even possible. We don’t know yet but in the meantime Severn II is already terribly missed.

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