Leda in the U.S.A.

One would think that I would have pages and pages of information about Leda’s adventures under different owners.  The simple fact is that I failed to find much information.  With my one really good resource, Frank and Bea Hyland, I failed to record much detail.  It was both a failure of youth, not recognizing how important it might be later (because it was right in front of my face), and due to the fact that the Hylands did not understand why I tore their boat apart.  It caused an uneasy tension, probably mostly on my part.  Frank and Bea were both generous and caring people.  It makes me sad now that I didn’t do a better job of being their friend.  But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

It is not completely clear to me how long it took for Erica to find a buyer for Leda.  Sandy was killed in April of 1955.  It isn’t clear to me who the buyer was.  Erica referred to him as “the colonel”.  No further information was offered, other than he was retired Air Force.  When I tried to gently ask for more information, I never got an answer.  I’ll never know whether the lack of response was due to failure of memory or from her desire not to relive a painful experience.  I didn’t want to press.  Erica was a private person and I was thankful that she shared herself with us in the capacity in which she could.  I did find a comment in one of her letters that suggests that the boat ended up in Newport Beach during this time.

The following narrative is what I have been able to piece together by using notes from Frank Hyland, rumors, hearsay and some brief contact with previous owners or their families.  Some clues have come from archeological evidence left on board the boat.

Circa 1959 the boat transferred to Dr. Guy Pouteau of Napa, California.   He retained ownership until circa 1971.  It was during this time that Leda’s mast was shortened to a masthead rig.  Her interior was remodeled with some new cabinets.  The master state room was transitioned to more of a live-a-board or cruising arrangement with mahogany faced drawer sets, a hanging closet and a double bed (double by boat standards!).  Her galley was transformed as well.  A new stainless steel propane stove, top-opening refrigerator-freezer and teak faced drawers and cabinets.   The Perkins diesel was installed.  I believe this is probably when her deck and cabin were covered with fiberglass cloth and polyester resin.  Much of the gear still on board when we bought Leda in 1990 was from this period. 

I got the opportunity to speak with Dr. Pouteau’s widow once on the phone.  We had a delightful conversation.  His wife told me that there were lots of trophies and that Leda had been successfully campaigned in races to Santa Cruz and perhaps other destinations.  We chatted for quite some time.  She offered to send me some of the memorabilia from this era.  I never heard from her and sadly when I called back months later to check up I was asked by one of her children to stop bothering their mother.  I’ve since tried unsuccessfully to retrieve some of this history via yacht clubs in the area and to date have had no responses.

I have a note that suggests the boat was next sold to a woman, maybe in Sausalito with the last name of Montero, circa 1971.  I know that in 1974, ownership was transferred to a man named Bob Charles.  He comments in a brief letter that he bought the boat from people who were not sailors and were instead living on board.  Leda was taken to Newport, Oregon and kept on Yaquina Bay until late in 1975.  It is unclear to me whether Mr. Charles sailed to Newport or had someone deliver the boat.  As it turns out Newport, Oregon is in the area in which I grew up.  I’ve heard stories from old-timers there that Leda spent one whole day laying on a sandbar inside the bay, refloated on the tide, and was placed back in her slip, never to be sailed by her owner again.  Who knows?

In 1975 Leda came to the Hylands.  I don’t know how they came to find her in Newport, Oregon nor do I believe that they were the ones who sailed her to Puget Sound.  It is in fact possible that she had been delivered to Puget Sound to aid in selling her.  The Hylands were to go on a seven year Pacific cruise and they told me that when they left for their adventure that they had never had Leda offshore.  Their shakedown cruise in their own words had resulted in a day of floating around with no wind, so they had motored home to finish preparations.

Their cruise took them to The Sea of Cortez inside Baja California, Mexico and I’ve talked to people who recognized our boat from seeing her there.  They went on to Hawaii and eventually worked their way as far south as Tahiti.  They were in contact with the Wilsons in New Zealand but to Dooley’s disappointment they did not come to New Zealand because of the quarantine laws regarding the Hyland’s pet cat.  When Leda first came to us, their logbook was still on board the boat.  Bea expressed her disappointment that she had let it go.  I returned it to her but of course now wish I had a copy of it as I can’t remember precisely where they went. 

Of course, if you have been reading other sections of this web site, you will know that we first saw Leda for sale in 1987 in Seattle.  In the autumn of 1989 she was sold to Duane Sherwin of Poulsbo, Washington.  All I know about that ownership is that it did not last long and Leda was not well treated during that time.  It was told to me that the boat was bought to please a girlfriend and that things hadn’t worked out for them or the boat.  Mr. Sherwin has declined any contact with me and I don’t want to presume to really know.  To be clear, this is a highly speculative rumor. 

In the spring of 1990 we found Leda for sale in an auction after being seized to satisfy the debt owed on her.  If you have made it this far and have yet to read up on Leda and her present owners, you may do so by going to the section, “Present“.

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