Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Design 214 - Nyala

Yesterday we posted an article about the 12-meter racing yacht Northern Light, design #239. Nyala (US12) was the first 12-meter designed by the firm. She was launched just a few weeks prior to Northern Light by Nevins, the same builder who built both boats. In fact the two 12-meters were yard build numbers 434 (Nyala) and 435 (Northern Light). The year was 1938.

Nyala was designed and built for Frederick T. Bedford, then president of Standard Oil, as a gift to his daughter Lucie on the occasion of her wedding to Briggs Cunningham. I guess that's one way to get a top skipper on your boat. She was a very successful racing yacht.

Here are the plans.

The boat was completely restored in 1996 by Cantiere Navale dell'Argentario of Italy. Here she is just after her restoration. More images can be found on their website.

Principal Dimensions
LOA 70'-0"
LWL 45'-0"
Beam 11'-10"
Draft 8'-10"
Displacement 55,010 lbs
Sail Area 1,953 sq ft


  1. In my younger years I sailed on nyala in long island sound and the new England coast.. Nyala was owned then by g w ford......we had a cca black spinnaker ...a challenge at night....what a lovely sailing yacht

    Fred heyes

    1. My grandfather sailed on Nyala - he was a friend and business partner of Mr. Ford. In fact, they both lived in Gerald Ford's house on City Island Ave. Two 90+ year old sailors - it would have been fun to be a fly on their wall. My grandfather was Frank Guyer.

      Steve Jones

    2. Steve, I have owned a 1939 Elco 53 motor yacht "Valorian" since 1974. It was formerly owned by Mr Ford in the early 1940 an during the WWII years. He wrote to me about 1986 that he loved Valorian and kept track of her whereabouts over the years. I was supposed to meet him only to arrive on City Island to find that he had been killed by a hit and run driver in front of his house just weeks before. Like you say "a fly on the wall", there are a million questions I would have liked to ask him. Do you know much about your grandfather's friendship and business dealings with Gerry Ford? Mystic Seaport Museum has a GW Ford collection of documents and photos, but I was told the collection is unsorted in boxes and the museum has no plans to organize and make them available anytime soon. I imagine there would be a lot there that would interest you and myself. Nyala was kept by Ford up until his death. He was in the process of selling her to someone Maine, who then owned her and wrote a book which I have. Forget the author's name off-hand. If you have any information about your grandfather's yacht dealings or I can offer more information. Please email me at Fair winds, Scott J

  2. Sailed on Nyala as foredeck man at the wooden boat regatta in Newport, RI one beautiful summer day in the 80's.

  3. My friend worked on Nyala in the 80's, and lived in City Island...I believe at Mr. Ford's house. I met Mr. Ford, who was not a young man then. Very sweet, knowledgable man. So sad how he passed away.

    In 1987, I visited my friend in Newport over Labor Day weekend. I sailed with the crew (did nothing to contribute, just along for the ride) in the Classic Yacht Regatta. Nyala took first place. It was a beautiful, magical day!