Eight Bells: Cedric Gyles

Published on October 9th, 2023

Cedric Gyles passed on September 24, 2023 at the age of 96 years old. He was one of the past Commodores with the Royal Canadian Yacht Club (RCYC) in Toronto, as well as one of the founding members of the Lake Ontario 8 Metre Class Association, which started with his purchase and restoration of the Norseman boat in 1973.

“Cedric Gyles (senior) was most certainly a patriarch of one of Canada’s great sailing families following on from his father George,” said Hugh McGugan, Chair of Sail Canada’s Board of Directors. “Ced’s sailing accomplishments, including the part he played in (re)establishing the Eight Metre Class in Canada, have left an enduring legacy for sailing in Canada. Ced will be remembered by sailors young and old from across the country.”

Born and raised in Vancouver, Cedric joined the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club (RVYC) in 1943 as a junior member, becoming the third generation of Gyles to be part of the club. His sailing experience was gained in Snipes, Stars, 6 Metres, R Boats, and 8 Metres. He maintained his membership until his passing.

After moving in different provinces in Western Canada for professional reasons, including when he played football for the Calgary Stampeders and was President of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Cedric and his wife moved to Toronto in 1971, where he joined the Royal Canadian Yacht Club.

He became a Member at Large (1977-78), Vice Commodore House (1979-81) and Commodore (1985-86) with the club, in addition to being part of many standing and special project committees and receiving the AEmillius Jarvis Bowl (1993), Patricia Trophy (1994) as well as several Fleet Captains Awards.

He was an integral member of the RCYC Canada’s Cup Committee for the better part of 20 years, including when he was the Canada’s Cup Committee Chair from 1993-2001. In 1983, Cedric headed up the operations committee for the “One Hundred Corinthians for Canada I” group, which allowed for Canada to enter in the America’s Cup for the first time since 1881, achieving a credible semi-finals finish.

Following the restoration of his 8 Metre Norseman in 1973, he skippered it in many club and international races, leading it most times to victory including the Kimber Trophy for the North Americans, and the Norm Walsh Trophy for the overall 8 Metre season championship in the Classic division. Norseman took part in every World Cup on Lake Ontario and, in 1999, won the 8 Metre World Cup Sira Trophy in Rochester.

In 2004, representing Canada and the RCYC, Cedric shipped Norseman from Toronto to Geneva, Switzerland, in order to participate in the International 8 Metre World Cup Regatta and to promote the next World Cup Regatta that was to be held the following year at the RCYC. He received an Honorary Life Membership from the International Eight Metre Association (IEMA).

As a passionate sailor, Ced and his wife Barbara travelled throughout the world for sailing events, both for business and pleasure, including in Australia and New Zealand for an America’s Cup.

A celebration of Cedric’s life will be held at the Toronto Ski Club located at 796456 Grey Road 19, The Blue Mountains, Ontario between 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 22, 2023. A second Celebration of Life will be held at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in Toronto next spring at a date to be determined.

Additional details: https://memorials.chattersonfuneralhome.com/cedric-gyles/5280294/index.php

Source: Sail Canada

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