Thank you for your interest! Please, let me tell you my story as follows:
my birth and early years
the first crisis
change of language and water
the beginning of my middle age
my latest phase of development
the 50th anniversary
the season 2001
how I have been cared
my present crew
friends supporting me
I will try to be short (although it is hard for me) and I wish you a pleasant stay. Hope to see you in real life, too.
THE STORY OF SILÈNE III
BORN UNDER A GOOD STAR
I was born in April 1950 in Gamleby, Sweden. Designed with a stroke of the pen by my father Tore Holm my immediate future was to gambol over the blue waters of the Lake Geneva. My Christian name was Silène III and my home was in Port Noir at Société Nautique de Genève ( SNG)
As an anecdote, in the old days, "Silènes" were small boxes whose covers were painted with joyful and frivolous figures like crested eagles, satyrs, goslings, horned hares, flying goats and other beautiful paintings. Their purpose was to make people laugh in the same way as Silènus, the tutor of Bacchus did. These boxes were mainly used to keep precious stones or fine perfumes like balm, ambergris or musk (F.Rabelais: The Histories of Gargantua and Pantagruel).
I arrived by train at Geneva Cornavin (the main train station) in the spring 1950, and my new master's name was André Maus with Jack Duval as my skipper.
I found several famous playmates: Ylliam, Borée, Véga, Bambi and May Be. At that time the regattas were organised around fixed buoys which favoured my best point of sailing. Consequently I had no trouble at all to stack my owner's shelves profusely as I won the Swiss Championships twice.
I also made several attempts at the famous Bol d'Or race. In 1957, parrallel with Louis Noverraz, I established a speed record (not broken until in 1983), and even though I was still in second place only three miles from the finish line, I unfortunately lost my mast. In those days it was very fashionable to participate in the International Regattas of Marseilles as well as the Royal Regattas of Cannes, and as much as I disliked travelling by train, that was my most frequent means of transportation.
The first act of treachery I can recall was when I was sold to Charles-Edouard Müller and renamed as Farfadet. Still, my new name did not bring me bad luck, and I continued to behave brilliantly; indeed, I swept new Swiss Champion titles, not to speak of local regattas. However, my new master did not keep me long and I was "passed on" to Michael Mora in 1967. My third name, Bosco, did not bring me so much luck. I lost much of my confidence and found myself pushed into the background as far as race results were concerned.
My new owner changed my mast and equipped me with a metallic one. With its two pairs of spreaders, its heavy top and the two forestays the new mast was too rigid and weighted too much. My list was thus considerable and it slowed me down. I still kept on travelling from Geneva to Lake Constance and even up to the 1975 World Championships in Sandhamn.
THE CRISIS IN THE THIRTIES
In 1980 a new owner was imposed on me. My new master Florian Held had the good idea to give me back my Christian name, Silène. He also realised that my mast was not adequate and bought Gitana's spare mast. After that, luck was back on my side, and in 1981 I had the occasion to participate in the largest gathering of these boats ever organised - the World Championships at Romanshorn. There were 45 Six-Metres on the starting line but unfortunately the Championship was not validated due to the lack of wind.
The time and the competition were becoming hard. My new playmates were aggressive and built differently. They did not give the same good feeling as the older yachts do, but they performed much better. Sometimes I managed to play good tricks on them. Nevertheless, I was no spring chicken any more being in my thirties, and it became more and more difficult to beat them. Because of such differences, it was decided to divide our class into two categories.
I still took part in all the regattas and managed to place well - I often came in first in the classic boats' group. I also started to participate in the Croisière Eynard again which means that during one week we raced every day on Lac Léman. A lot of admiring visitors came onboard every night.
In 1983 I rediscovered salt water in the Bay of Cannes. I felt so good and so confident that I won again. From those days on, a special regatta for the classic boats has been organised every year at the northern end of Lake Geneva. There I always met my old buddies and won almost every time, which made my worst opponent, St.Yves (ex Silène II), quite unhappy.
In most of the regattas we found only very young boats and my old playmates were disheartened by this situation. As a result they did not race often any more. I also got the feeling that my owner was unfaithful and that he had the intention of sailing the better performing boats. I was very disappointed.
STRANGE LANGUAGE SPOKEN ONBOARD
In late 1980s I started to hear that my master was planning to give me a new home, perhaps somewhere closer to the place where I was born. On a beautiful spring day in 1989 I realised that these plans had come true, and I was loaded on a truck that was heading north. To my surprise the road trip was not long, and in a city called Basel I was in the water again. I was equipped with a motor, and soon I was travelling down the river Rhein. For two weeks I enjoyed the scenery in the wine growing areas of Germany and France, stayed a night at Loreley, then travelled through the Ruhr and the peaceful heaths of Lüneburg to finally arrive in Lübeck. There my mast was erected, and I noticed that the water was salty but not as salty as I had experienced during the great regattas in Cannes. On a windy and misty morning in April 1989 my sails were hoisted and my nose was firmly turned towards Northeast.
During the coming few weeks I sailed in the chilly waters of the Baltic Sea, passed my birth place, had a break of a couple of weeks in Oxelösund due to technical difficulties, and finally arrived in the city of Helsinki on 8 May after more than 800 miles at sea.
It turned out that I suddenly had three masters: Kari Karlsson, Heikki Kirjanen, and Tapani Koskela - all of them enthusiastic enough to awaken my inspiration to meet new racing mates. In the first race I was lucky and placed third among ten boats in the class. The next big regatta was the Nordic Championships a few weeks later. That race had collected as many as twenty participating crews. As a beginner in the fleet I was satisfied with my final placement as the ninth. In the following regattas of the summer I normally placed in the middle of the fleet after a few very good starts and a few less perfect performances.
LIFE BEGINS IN MIDDLE AGE
Next spring my masters kindly noted that it was my 40th birthday which we all happily celebrated with a reception at the club while I was still on land. Later in the summer at Hanko we had a combined party with Ninnie (50 years) and Fridolin (60 years). In the regattas of that summer my success was variable, again. My masters sailed me as far as Sandhamn to the Nordic Championships. The trip was not in vain, and I placed 4th after a most enjoyable series of six starts. In a perfect mood I left Sandhamn at midnight and sailed directly over the sea to Helsinki in 36 hours.
As I was not a young girl anymore my masters had begun to repair my spars already in the spring, but a major renovation started in the autumn of 1990. It lasted much longer than I had anticipated, and to my disappointment I had to spend the whole summer of 1991 on land. However, in the spring of 1992, I was proud of my completely new deck, several new boards and spars, my nicely painted beams, and new white sails. Later in the summer I received a prize for an exemplary renovation. On the other hand, one of my masters unfortunately had to leave me. My first race in 1992 was not until in July, in Kotka, where we enjoyed beautiful summer days and a 4th placement.
The success continued with 2nd placements in the Nationals of the same year as well as in the Brändö Classic Yacht Regatta in the autumn. The coming seasons took me to numerous races among the active fleet. I had to wait until 1994 for my first victory, which I won in Oscarsberg Cup and which I repeated in the Viapori Cup later the same year.
That year I also found myself being looked after by one master anymore. Fortunately this turned out to be a short episode, as Ari Myllylä firmly decided to share the responsibility for my health in January 1995. Little by little the new crew was formed, mainly consisting of those who took me to the World Cup of 1995 in Sandhamn (placing 8th of a total of 14 classic yachts). They also took me on a pilgrimage to my birth place Gamleby in 1996 to celebrate the 100th memorial anniversary of my dear father Tore Holm and to meet his friends and relatives.
STABILITY IN DEVELOPMENT
In the summer 1997 I sailed roughly in the middle of the fleet and gained a 4th place in the Nationals and 5th in the annual ranking. In 1998 my best placements were reached in Oscarsberg Cup (2nd), and in the Viapori-race (4th). Along with the development of the overall performance level of the Finnish fleet, I was all the time able to gain more boat speed and teach my masters strategy and tricky manoeuvres at sea.
With an optimistic mind I headed for the World Championships of 1999 that was raced almost at my home waters in Hanko. The regatta became unprecedented in the history of the Finnish 6-Metre sailing, and the whole class reached new respect. On one hand, crews travelling from far away could be offered excellent racing facilities, and on the other hand, our team took a big step towards an even race-to-race performance needed for winning the game.
The season of 1999 started with an organised series of all-weather training sailings. I started to feel good as my crew did not make so many mistakes anymore and I had new beautiful sails. Therefore, it was a pleasure to place 5th among 13 yachts in the Nationals in June. Hanko regatta right before the World Cup was sailed between 26 yachts, and I could still climb to the 5th position. The climax of the season was, of course, the World Cup gathering as many as 32 classic sisters on the line which reminded me of the hot days in Romanshorn in 1981. This time we had enough wind, except for the first day. Among many good races I also had some bad luck and placed finally as the 9th which was at least a satisfactory result.
THE ANNIVERSARY IN 2000
The year 2000 counted 50 years from the spring date when I arrived with my new shining beams at the city of Geneva to meet my first master Mr. André Maus. My present masters took into account my birthday by naming the year 2000 as the Festival Year of Silène III.
The celebration naturally included a proper Festival Tour, during which I participated in three regattas and made the idea of classic sailing known in numerous harbours between Helsinki and Sandhamn. The Tour started on 4 July, and the route first took me to Getskär and Hanko, then to Hiittinen and the beautiful natural harbour of Björkö, further on to the hospitable Sottunga, to Rödhamn, and the provincial capital Mariehamn. There I rested for a week. With a new crew the sailing continued across the Sea of Åland to Furusund in Sweden and finally to our destination in Sandhamn.
The Tour was characterised with a highly variable weather. I could experience joyful south-easterlies and search for a rescue against a southerly gale, and I had to shake and listen to thundering and the drumming of the rain on my deck. I also sailed without any problems in fog and in drizzle, but could enjoy the glitter of the Sun and gentle morning breezes, too.
Sandhamn welcomed both me and my wet sailors with a smiling warm sunshine that soon dried us all.
Due to the Anniversary my crew organised a reception for the whole 6-Metre fleet at Sandhamn. The event with a buffet on the pier and a film show collected a great number of joyful partakers.
As soon as the prize giving of the regatta was over, my sails were hoisted again and I found myself heading directly towards Utö. In the light winds the crossing of the sea took 28 hours. After a short rest I was at sea again, cruising through the sunny archipelago, and at end of the beautiful day I arrived in Hanko. At sunrise next morning we were bright up and going again. Although many yachts only used their engines on that light-windy day, I was always able to find some breeze in order to arrive by midnight at my home city Helsinki. It was the 3rd of August, and the Festival Tour had been happily brought to its end.
From the racing point of view my Festival Year was a success, too. Already the beginning betokened a good season as I took silver among the 11 yachts of the Helsinki Classic Regatta in June. The season culminated with another silver in the Nordic Championships in Sandhamn, an enjoyable victory in the archipelago race from Helsinki to Svartbäck, and a bronze between 12 yachts in the Nationals in August. The total score placed me 3rd on the official Finnish 6-Metre ranking list of five races, which was my best result ever since I arrived in Finland.
THE "YEAR IN BETWEEN" 2001
After two tight seasons my masters decided in 2001 to have a kind of a "year in between" in order to review what had been learned and to economise both my equipment and their own resources. Not even such a solemn decision could prevent me from darting to a prize in two respected regattas.
The season started again with the Helsinki Classic. The result was encouraging (and obliging): I was 5th among 14 yachts although my masters wisely skipped one start to save my old planking in the brisk breeze.
The Hanko Regatta, that is getting more and more international, collected as many as 18 Six-Metres, among which my bronze tickled my keel pleasantly. The Nordics sailed immediately thereafter, however, soundly reminded my masters of the fugitiveness of our earthly success. My 8th position and three windy days at the rough sea made my crew already ask whether it was themselves or my sails that were old and tired.
Fortunately the summer still continued. In August we raced in the Nationals between 13 yachts. My second bronze of the season salvaged our self respect. In this, as well as in many other regattas I was once again clearly the best yacht sailing clean without any advertisement in my sails.
Remembering my 3rd position in the archipelago race to Andö in early July, and a victory against the 8-Metre s/y Naja on the 32-mile course of the Silène Challenge Cup in late July, I consider my year 2001 as a success, too. - It is another questions, how well my masters finally succeeded in having their "year in between".
Apart from any success, soon forgotten by everyone, the best of everything has been the opportunity to meet my lovely sisters in wonderful races and to sail in a fleet with a good spirit of sportsmanship.
Independent of any race success my old hull has always been taken a good care. A few years ago I had all my keel bolts checked and re-zinced, my wooden keel was inspected, found healthy and impregnated, and I got a new rudder, lighter than before. Four boards on each side of my under-water planking were replaced and a number of spars were also repaired.
Every year my bilge has been impregnated with a sweetest natural linseed oil and all varnished parts have been looked after, not forgetting my dear rig and sails.
Sometimes I truly feel that I am getting younger year after year. I hope, however, that I can keep my classic beauty. Impatiently I am awaiting the summer, again. I hope you, too.
Several people have significantly contributed to taking me out to sea during the last years. I remember, in alphabetical order, e.g. Anssi Ahvonen, Arja Ulmanen, Hannu "Viki" Eskola, Jari Outavaara, Jukka Glader, Tuukka Haarni, Tapani Koskela, Ari Myllylä, Tuomas Myllylä, Juhani Ollila, Pekka Säyrä, Pekka Tumme, Lauri Vanninen and many other good boys - yes, I say boys, because they are all younger than me! Somewhere above you can see a photo of a few of them at my birthday party in Sandhamn.
Suunnittelija Tore Holm
Veistämö Holms Yachtvarv, Gamleby
André Maus & Jack Duval
Omistajat Tapani Koskela
1. FIN 80
2. FIN 77
3. FIN 23
4. FIN 74
5. FIN 43
6. FIN 49
Sara af Hangö
7. FIN 51
May Be VI
8. FIN 38
9. FIN 67
10. FIN 39
10. FIN 63
10. FIN 76
13. FIN 60
14. FIN 44
16. FIN 19
17. FIN 64