“Pleione is gorgeous, and impressively fast to boot. Her design is appreciated by those who like classic style, comfort, and performance in a truly timeless yacht.”
INTERVIEW WITH THE SKIPPER—Bruce Dyson
Why did you choose to build an 8-Metre?
I chose to build an 8-Metre because I could not afford to build a 12-Metre, nor could I afford the sandwiches and beer for a 12-Metre crew! Also, the 8-Metre class in Europe is the class of kings, princes, and royalty. It’s fun to race against royalty, as infrequently as we have, but when you do get a chance to race against the King of Spain, the King of Norway, or the Aga Khan it is special. In building the boat, combining the aesthetic, performance, racing, and cruising requirements was a design challenge, and the build took 4½ years; the result was worth the wait. Pleione is gorgeous, and impressively fast to boot.
What other kinds of boats did you consider before building it?
I’ve built several boats, but when it came time to build this one, there were no others to consider.
What boats have you previously owned?
Back in my younger days I was co-owner of C&C 39. I have also owned one-design boats, including IODs, a Tempest, Jolly Boats, a 505, and we still own the first boat I ever sailed in when I was 6 years old…a 17½ foot double ended keel sloop.
What are the features you like most about your boat?
When I decided to build Pleione I wanted more than just a race boat, so Jim Taylor designed the boat with a cruising interior (spartan though it is) and a lovely 30 horsepower auxiliary diesel. Her profile above the waterline is intentionally reminiscent of classic 8Ms from the 1930s, but below the waterline her hull shape and appendages are state of the art. She features a five berth interior with complete galley and enclosed head, and a self-draining cockpit with seats and comfortable coamings. The boat is extremely comfortable for two people – acceptable for three – and OK for four. We have had as many as 10 people for dinner on board the boat with all the vittles cooked in our galley on a two burner stove with oven. The boat is truly special.
What improvements have you added or do you plan to add?
When the boat was finished in 2004 it was pretty much sorted out, and we have not made any changes to the boat since.
How do you typically use your boat over the summer, and where do you go?
The 48’ Pleione was designed not only to compete against the best 8-Metre in the world, but also to cruise and day sail coastal New England. And we have done that, as well as compete in races. She has had consistent podium finishes in events as varied as the 8m NA and World Championships in Toronto to the PHRF NE Championships in Marblehead, and she has dominated ‘Spirit of Tradition’ racing in Maine. Her design is appreciated by those who like classic style, comfort, and performance in a truly timeless yacht.
What the biggest challenge you have in servicing your boat?
I run the Budget Brothers Campaign in terms of maintenance. We haul out at Dion’s, truck the boat to Marblehead, and store it beside the house, and because the boat is only 8 ft 9 inches wide it is fairly easy to get the boat home and in the side yard. I do all the maintenance, varnish, bottom pain mechanical, and other work, so the cost of ownership is very reasonable for a 48’ boat.
Do you have any advice for those thinking about owning an 8-Metre?
If you have a dream to own a boat like Pleione, what are you waiting for? We all get older by the day, and the clock is ticking, so make your dreams come true. It is sad to report that we have put Pleione up for sale. We are getting along in years, so it is probably time to get a power boat. When it does go, it will break my heart, but there is a time for all seasons. If the boat does not sell, we will continue to enjoy it. After all, in my opinion, it is the prettiest boat in the harbor.
What’s the story behind the boat’s name?
The original Pleione was a New York 50 rigged as a schooner and owned by Joseph Santry—Vice Commodore of the Eastern (1950-51) and Commodore of the Corinthian (1926-27) yacht clubs. As a child she was my favorite boat. When it was time to name the boat I asked Sue Santry Connolly (the niece of Joe Santry, the original owner Pleione) if I could use the name. She thought the boat was substantial enough to share the name, so permission was granted. Without her permission I would never have named the boat Pleione; it would not have been right.
CHECK IT OUT
To learn more about Pleione on her HarborMoor profile, click the gallery below. To see the profile of Bruce Dyson in our Makers & Shapers blog series, click here. To see other boats like this, simply type in 8-Metre in the manufacturer’s drop down menu in the Harbor Directory.