But, back to my history, all of these boats have a history, after all.
SYLPHE (originally ARIEL, later SYLPHE IV) was commissioned by Paul Blanchet, an owner who wanted a yacht to win races under the British RORC rating rule. His timing was not good – it was 1939 when Mauric started designing/building the yacht. And she was still unfinished on the slipway at Chantier Pharao, her builders in Marseille, when the Germans invaded France. In the days of uncertainty and chaos after France’s surrender, believing that the Germans would steal the yacht’s ballast keel – a 13 ton lead casting (imagine the price of that today!) – Mauric ordered the yard to sink the unfinished hull in the spank middle of the old harbor. So it was that SYLPHE spent 6 years in hiding under water before she was even launched. Many of the Marseilles shipyard and dock workers knew the secret, but no-one breathed a word, and SYLPHE remained safely concealed with all her ballast, until the war was over. After the war SYLPHE was recovered and completed. Her long submersion had done no harm – indeed it may have further improved the seasoning of her timbers and made them less liable to distort, crack, or split in later age. In 1947 she was raised. In those days there was no electricity on-board, no engine foreseen, so they simply stepped the mast and started racing.