July 5, 2023
It took a full day and lot of expertise, but according to owner Cedric Gyles Jr, the historic 8M, Severn II, is back to the surface and on her way to the repair shop. The Severn crew and likely the entire Toronto sailing community is hugely relieved to see the 90-year-old classic back from the depths.
Two weeks ago, at the RCYC open, Severn II had a collision with another 8M-Yquem and sunk in 200’ of water about 2NM off Toronto’s, Humber Bay. According to Gyles, while the boat sustained a hole in the bow and some other hull damage due to the impact, she landed on her keel on the lake bottom, which was better for the boat than landing on her side, which could have further damaged the structure. The team also felt it was beneficial to recover the boat as soon as possible to reduce water damage to its mahogany hull.
The salvage operation was done by Toronto Tug & Transport with full heavy equipment. Since it was then dark after a full day’s operations, the boat remained in the Ship Channel opposite the RCYC city facility on Cherry Street. The following morning Severn II was hauled at Outer Harbour Marina where there is a suitable travel lift. From the marina, it’s off by truck to Thornbury, ON and the Gyles Sails and Marine, the facility operated by Cedric Jr’s brother, John Gyles. That shop has restored the 8-Metre, Raven, and done significant re-fitting on other 8s including Bangalore and Norseman.
Cedric Gyles anticipates it will take the summer to restore the boat but is staying optimistic. “Maybe we will make it for the RCYC Last Mast Blast in late September.”