The Raven


With the North America Eight Metre Association’s championship taking place at the exotic locale of Etobicoke, ON this year, local boat genius John Gyles is in on the action.

For the last two years he’s been working on Raven, a 1938 eight-metre that needed a bit of love. Well, maybe a lot of love. “We replaced 80 of 126 ribs, replanked 30 percent of the boat, replaced five percent of the deck beams with a new plywood deck, a new cabin top with cockpit combing, installed new bulkheads, installed new cockpit, installed new interior (very basic), faired the entire hull and painted the hull, lots of varnish on the mahogany, installed all new hardware,” says Gyles. “A restoration of this magnitude is on par with a newly constructed eight-metre.”
As any boat owner knows, this was no doubt an expensive restoration. So why not build a brand new boat?
“This is a classic eight-metre class which must be built between 1923-1967 to be eligible to race,” says Gyles. “A new eight-metre would have to race in the Modern class which is a different division.”
The four divisions are divided into boats built during different eras. The first rule division contains boats built from 1907-1922, the Vintage division from 1923-1967 are rigged with wooden masts and Dacron sails, the Classic division boats are built from 1923-1967 with modern masts and sails, and the Modern division contains boats built since 1968. This year the Classic and Modern divisions will be represented in Etobicoke. The four divisions start together and finish together for the World Cup but it is rare the Modern division upsets the older divisions.

Perhaps the Raven is up for the challenge.
“Her chances are very good as she rarely finishes out of the top three in any given race,” says Gyles. “She is very solid, has state of the art equipment and sails and a very experienced and qualified skipper and crew. Her chances are good to win the Classic division and she will probably catch some of the modern eight-metres in the process.”
The race takes place this August 14-15th. Check out naema.net for more info.

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