Regaining Status

Part 7 of a bit of history

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Meanwhile Joni Hertell, Eugene van Voorhis and Robin Clark took on the project for our class to regain its international status within the IYRU. The class rules were updated, an inventory of the fleets was made and a strong lobby started in London. It took some convincing to have our then 75-year- old Class reinstated but with the support of Tony Watts and the legendary Beppe Croce, the International Eight Metre Class was reinstated. We should never forget the tremendous effort made by our IEMA officers in those days which I believe has been instrumental to the following growth and success of our class as we see it today.

Meanwhile on the water, the two victories of Eugene van Voorhis and his Iroquois again provoked the class and new modern Eights were commissioned. In Sweden two new Eights were commissioned by Per Wermelin. The first one named Mr. E was supported by the telecom company Ericson. She was designed by Pelle Petterson. Per soon sold her to Ron Palm and immediately commissioned the next Eight named Dolphin (now named Yquem) also from the board of Pelle Peterson. Claes Henningson had Golden Feather designed by Peter Norlin, she was more experimental taking a freeboard penalty and turned out to be a real light air flyer. In Canada the initiative was countered by Elwin Catheart who commissioned Octavia designed by Bruce Kirby while in France, Gaston Schmaltz commissioned Gaulois designed by Jacques Fauroux.

The latest victory of Iroquois in the Norwegian waters brought the 8-Metre World Cup to North America where in 1984, at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, it was Octavia that brought the Cup to Canada. History repeated itself as Octavia was again a scaled down version of an unbeatable 12-Metre, this time Australia II showed the direction our class would go. And so, again, we enter a new era of the class and in the years to follow new modern Eight Metres were constructed including designs by Jacques Fauroux, Ed Dubois and Pelle Petterson.

Gaston Schmaltz’s Gaulois designed by Jacques Fauroux triggered a further series of new modern Eights built in aluminium. The Rothschild family has a long tradition in 8-Metre sailing and as early as 1924, this famous family of bankers and fine wine, was racing the Eights with great success. Following the tradition in his family Baron Edmond de Rothschild commissioned the second Fauroux 8-Metre Gitana Sixty as his 60th birthday gift and immediately won the World Cup in Cannes 1986.

In 1988, the most spectacular entry to the class was commissioned by Professor Sigfrid Svensson from Sweden. Based on Bruce Farr’s 12-Metre Kiwi Magic, his Gefion was the brain child of the British America’s Cup crack Philip Crebbin who persuaded Sigge to ask Ed Dubois to design a winner for the 1988 World Cup in Sweden. Philip Crebbin was hired as project engineer and a star was born. In the hands of Philip Crebbin Gefion turned out to be unbeatable and he drove her to victory with a clean sweep at her first World Cup. Gefion continued her magical victory tour on both sides of the Atlantic and took the honours at another six World Cups, a record that still stands today. In 1989 and in 1990 Ed Dubois designed another 2 Eights that would win the World Cup; Sarissa and The Natural.

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