RCYC’s Past Commodore Cedric Gyles has passed away

Kingston, October 6, 2023 – It is with great sadness that Sail Canada shares the news of Cedric Gyles’ passing on September 24 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 Gyles 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 Gyles 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.

Cedric Gyles was also one of the founding members of the Lake Ontario 8 Metre Class Association. In fact, he was part of the revival of the Eight Metre Class on Lake Ontario with the purchase and restoration of Norseman in 1973. He was then the skipper of his boat 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.

Sail Canada would like to offer its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Cedric Gyles, including members of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and members of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club.

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.

You can read his obituary at https://memorials.chattersonfuneralhome.com/cedric-gyles/5280294/index.php.

About Sail Canada
Established in 1931, Sail Canada is the national governing body for the sport of sailing in the country. Sail Canada is a leading international sailing nation, proud of its world class athletes, lifelong participants and inclusive culture. The organization and its members are committed to excellence by developing and training its leaders, athletes, sailors, instructors, coaches and officials. With the valued support from our partners, the Provincial Sailing Associations and our member clubs, schools, organizations and stakeholders, sailing is promoted in all its forms. By setting standards and delivering programs from home pond to podium for Canadians of all ages and abilities, from dinghies to keelboats, cruising to navigation, windsurfing to powerboating and accessible sailing, Sail Canada sets sail for all, sail to win and sail for life.

A sport in the Olympic program since the first Games in 1896, except in 1904, the pursuit of success in these Games is what fuels the focus of Sail Canada as Canadian athletes have so far achieved nine Olympic and five Paralympic medals.