The Eventider's News



Issue 13 Autumn/Winter  2009





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This article has come in via the  Royal Cape Yacht Club newsletter and member Roger Jaques father,  Philippe Jaques. It is about their Eventide....


Years ago when I wrote some articles for the newsletter, I had a go at some of the boats that were stuck to their moorings. One in particular was Syringa, which was about to do an impression of the Titanic. About 10 months ago, Garry Dainton mentioned that someone was giving a boat away on Gumtree. I like things at that price, so I called up and acquired a boat for free without knowing what it was.

So imagine my horror when it turned out to be Syringa, which had been sold with mooring to an upcountry man who only wanted the said mooring. If not disposed of, Syringa was on her way to the hard, to be put to death in a skip. Even my positive attitude was a bit stretched after looking her over, to say the least. My daughter Kim and her partner Roger came down for a look, and immediately laid claim to her. They apparently could see something in her classic old lines beneath the rotting topsides, cockpit, rusting rigging, broken stanchions and general shambles, that I missed. I suppose understandable really, after my experience with the old Lello Vagrant, which I bought with real money in a similar state, and then proceeded to throw even more real money, at some of our less than forthright self professed carpenters who hang around the club looking for unwitting victims. Tommy finally saved the day thankfully. She is now in False bay looking every bit the classic Lello.

Finally I convinced Dave to tow Syringa to the crane for the showdown. The plan was to try to lift her out. Should she break up under the strain, then a skip was waiting. I had to cut her free from the weathered mooring lines, which I understand were holding her firm for 10 to 14 years, depending who you talked to in the bar. A debris field followed her to the crane. Fear and trepidation filled my crocks as her bottom gingerly made an appearance. Even before she saw the light of day, a very nice guy did his best to buy her. (Some folks have real imagination.)
After a power wash, we were all quite shocked, and I mean shocked, to see a perfectly preserved hull, some exposed parts of the marine ply looked like new. The hull proved to be perfect. That has to be a lesson about timber immersed in sea water. Wow.

Roger and Kim took ten months to transform Syringa, which we now know to be a  Maurice Griffiths designed Eventide, into a lovely yacht. She was apparently built in the 1960s in Cape Town, under a Syringa tree, near the Liesbeck Parkway. Huge congratulations to both Kim and Roger for saving this beautiful little ship. Its still going to be a while before she is sailing the high seas, but she looks a picture riding proudly to her mooring.

If anyone can provide details of her history, please help us to fill in the years. The Eventide Owners Group has a compliment of some 900 yachts still sailing in the UK. That’s astonishing… I have to admit to being quite jealous. Good luck and fair winds to Kim and Roger…

Lesson learned…. Never look a gift yacht in the bowsprit..


Postscript.  Roger's father organised a friend to come along to our UK Danbury meet in 2009, and pick up a CD of all the drawings of the Eventide so they could carry on the restoration and repairs.  Hope to see more pics of Syringa later, under sail!  We have also been able to fill in a few gaps in her history for them!