45 years ago, Øya was emerging brand new from the shipyard L. Landy in Vitry-le-François, according to the plans of Elie Poinsot. Curiosity, the interest of Internet users and especially my nostalgic and well known sentimental side launched me in an investigation about these know-how.
A ghost shipyard
First of all, the idea came to me when I wanted to learn welding… I wanted to know more about the steel used and the treatments it received. It’s always good to see what others think and know about the boat and its yard.
A first search on the net showed me that the site is obviously closed, but I could not find any more information.
I tried to look further, but every time I only ended up on people who, like me, have been looking for information. Most of these questions are posted on hisse-et-oh, a french forum for sailors. I even found traces of other Goëlands owners *.
If I had a Beneteau or other popular brand, I would have had to sort through a mountain of information. But here, about Landy: nothingness!
* Goëland is the model name of the boat, see my previous article on Øya.
An old-fashioned survey
Starting from scratch, any source of information is good to take… Administrations must know if the company has stopped its activity or has been bought and renamed for example. In this last case I could possibly see if the successors would have archives.
Journalists too, after all they wrote for sure a few lines about the L. Landy shipyard by that time!
So, I wrote to the archives service of the département de la Marne, the town hall of Vitry-le-François and the french sail magazine Voiles & Voiliers.
I take care to write my letters by hand on proper paper, as we use to do at the time of the construction of Øya.
This is important for me because it is a mark of respect that is terribly lacking in the impersonal, cold and volatile e-mails of modern times.
Also, speaking of modern times, I fond on a french social media two former technicians of the yard that I tried to contact. Because yes, we do are in 2019 and despite all its flaws internet works quite well!
Now it is just about waiting for any answer…
It’s going faster than expected!
First message sent on the social media at 15:15, first response two hours later with the coordinates of the son of the director of the shipyard L. Landy. I did not even have time to post my old school letters to the post office!
I resume my old school paper and write another handwritten letter to the son of the former director.
Four days later, I get a call from him. A very nice gentleman who says he would help me in my research. I really appreciate this kindness!
Although his old age, his father is still lucid and it will probably be with pleasure that he will find documents. The shipyard L. Landy was a highlight of his life.
So, it seems that I can do a nice report on the cradle of Øya. I will publish the whole result so that those who before me have expressed their questions about the site L. Landy on the forums may be able to find their answers.
To be continue