Pronounced Cill Feed, Sylphide is the German word for ‘a whale’s vagina.’
No. Not really.
What It actually means, at least according to the internets, is:
La Sylphide (English: The Sylph; Danish: Sylfiden) is a romantic ballet in two acts. There were two versions of the ballet; the original choreographed by Filippo Taglioni in 1832, and a second version choreographed by August Bournonville in 1836. Bournonville’s is the only version known to have survived and is one of the world’s oldest surviving ballets.
Apparently a Sylph is an imaginary spirit of the air.
I know! Suuuuper gay, right?? I should totally change that, right?? Well not so fast, Copernicus. I did consider changing her name to something that meant something to me, which ‘Sylphide’ did not. The front runner in my considerations was ‘Aluminum Falcon,’ which I still think would be a great name. After thinking about it for a while though, I decided that I would keep the name. Say what you want about it, it’s original. You’ve probably never met a boat named Sylphide before, right? I know I haven’t, and I’ve met a lot of boats, almost all of them have one of the same five… questionable names like: ‘Five o’clock somewhere,’ or ‘Cirrhosis of the River,’ or ‘Ready OAR KNOT BUOY.’ So It’s nice to be a little different.
The main reason I decided to keep the name is because I didn’t feel like I had the right to change it. Sylphide has had her name since she was built in 1985. She’s only two years younger than me. She’s had her name longer than my sister has. Who the hell am I to come along out of nowhere and just change it?
So I will continue to explain how to pronounce it, and what it means for the foreseeable future.
As I mentioned above, Sylphide was built in 1985. She’s a custom, one of a kind boat, and so far I haven’t gotten used to saying that without feeling a little smug. She really is though. She was built by the Kingston Aluminum Yacht company in Ontario Canada. The company is no longer what it was, but it’s since evolved into a what is now known as MetalCraft, avery successful manufacturer of metal boats, mostly built for commercial and government services. Think law enforcement boats, fire boats, and pilot boats. Heavy duty, tough stuff.
She left the yard as a mostly empty aluminum shell, with only her running gear installed. The first owner took the boat to another facility to fit out the interior, and when he was done, it looked almost nothing like it does today.
The second owner bought her in the mid nineties, and then proceeded to gut her and totally refit her. He changed the layout drastically. The galley was originally all the way forward in what is now the guest cabin. The helm station was on the port side, where now it’s to starboard.
This owner was a craftsman in the truest sense of the word. He enjoyed working with wood, and that can be seen in any one of hundreds of little details throughout the boat. He was also an engineer. The systems aboard, and the careful and thoughtful way that they were installed speaks volumes to the fact that he really loved this boat.
Sylphide is kind of a hard boat to pin down. She’s not really like anything else. When people ask ‘what kind of boat is that?’ I never really know what to say. She’s not really a trawler, but she has a lot of characteristics in common with boats people tend to call trawlers. The previous owner was adamant that she’s a ‘motor yacht,’ which is as good a name as any, really. I do feel a bit of a jerk saying using the word yacht to describe anything that I own. It just doesn’t feel right.
There are a few ways I can describe her. She’s a 44 foot long, 12.5′ wide aluminum power boat, with a 3.5′ draft. She has two staterooms and two heads. The master stateroom features a walk around queen sized bed with a real standard queen mattress, and loads of storage. The Guest room is all the way forward in the V-berth area. The main living area consists of a forward helm station to starboard, with a mate’s chair and chart table to port. The galley is to port and aft, and there’s a comfortable three person settee to starboard, with a large drop leaf hi-low table. The whole interior is very spacious and well thought out. It’s rare for a big dude like myself to set foot on a boat, and not feel like i’m about to fall through the floor, or get stuck in the shower. Nothing like that here. Everything feels solid, with lots of room for elbows. The engine room is also really spacious, and just about everything is easy to get to.
Outside, she features full walk around side decks. She has a big sliding door on either side, and a companionway aft, leading to the raised aft deck. The aft deck is large, and has plenty of room for lounge chairs and whatever miscellaneous junk I end up throwing back there. There is also a secondary helm station on the port side of the aft deck, which I tend to use when docking, since It’s easier to handle the lines from there.
Sylphide is slow. She has a single Perkins 4.236 diesel engine, driving a single screw. She cruises at a dignified 7-7.5 knots, and tops out at around 9.5 wide open. I’ve only done that in the sea trial, and am not in a hurry to open her up any time soon.
Aside from 7.5 knots being a perfectly respectable, civilized, and leisurely rate of travel, it also means that she is very fuel efficient. In fact, with two full tanks, she can cruise well over a thousand miles without trying too hard at all. It would take a while though.
She has a tall aluminum mast that makes many people think she’s a motorsailer, but she isn’t. It’s just there for looks mostly.
And there you have it. Sylphide in a nutshell.