By: John Lammerts van Bueren
For most people Aile VI is synonymous for the legendary Virginie Hériot.
To me, personally, Aile VI is equally synonymous for Alain Dominique Perrin. If I recall correct it was back in 1994 when he discovered Aile VI in St. Malo and decided to restore her faithfully & respectfully, aiming to bring her back her original purpose in life: Racing ! At that time I was executive secretary of the International Eight Metre Association and on August 27th 1996, through the kind help of Clément Brunet-Moret, I contacted Mr. Perrin to compliment and commend him for taking up Aile VI and restoring her so authentically. The contact remained and when in 1998, we organized the 8-Metre World Cup in Geneva, I asked him if the House of Cartier would be willing to put up a trophy for the vintage 8-Metres. He invited me over to Paris, we met, discussed and agreed; La Coupe Cartier was born! The story would not be complete without giving Clément Brunet-Moret every bit of credit for making it happen, he guided me through the proces with a focus and queit determination. The following 6 years Cartier supported the 8-Metre Class and in those years the warm partnership played a pivotal role in the development, revival and growth of the 8-Metre Class. Sailors wanted to be part of it all, found other old boats, restored them authentically following the example set by Aile VI. The numbers, enthousiasm and passion was simply staggering as 6 years later more than 30 boats had been restored and brought back to life. So Aile VI is not just about the fame and admiration for Virginie Hériot or the genius of her designer Pierre Arbaut. To my mind Aile VI is just as much about the vision and leadership of Alain Dominique Perrin who, through the House of Cartier, played a pivotal role in the appreciation and revival of The Int. 8-Metre Class and the classic sailing community as a whole. So a grand merci beaucoup to Aile VI , Pierre Lefèvre and the wonderful long time crew of friends for touching the heart of so many.
With every good wish and my apologies for not writing this in French.