Due to the global pandemic it is unclear which regattas will be able to run during 2020, or even whether travel will be possible between countries.
Whilst Skylark is Standing-By … her crew wish our friends, competitors and their families a safe, sound passage navigating challenging waters.
May we cross-tacks with you sometime soon.
Les Ecosse des Pipes des Highlandaise … were invited onboard BlueBird for the closing ceremony. A fitting tribute, onboard a wonderful vessel, for a truly classic event.
“The most beautiful regatta in the world” are the words most often stated about Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. Held each year on the French Riviera, it is a celebration of the world’s most beautiful boats – both classic and modern – and the party scenes and lifestyle ashore is second to none.
In addition to all the beautiful sailing boats, many of the biggest and best motorboats also gather in support. These include the latest modern and contemporary craft, as well as classic motor yachts such as Shemara, Haida and Talitha, once owned by the Bee Gees impresario Robert Stigwood.
For the 2019 event Skylark again faced Cippino II the Argentinian boat that has an almost unbeatable record. Blitzen, Argyll, Stormy Weather were all also competing after a long season of events around the Mediterranean.
The conditions for racing through the week were unusual and, whilst Skylark performed well on some days and less well on others, her overall result was not the best of the year. One notable race, Race 3, Skylark had an incredible start and sailed away from the whole fleet of 42 boats. Two thirds of the way through the race she was caught on the wrong side of a wind shift and lost all of the significant lead that she had gained. It was a painful way to end the season having performed so well and all the other events.
That said, and in summary, the 2019 season was amazing. A lot of fun and results that were some of Skylark’s best yet.
Year on year the BlueBird Cup is gaining momentum and growing larger and stronger. Its 9th Edition on the Golfe of Saint-Tropez was no exception. With the added support of Leading Hotels of the World in 2019, joining the line up of luxury brands Hennessy, Bentley, BOYD and North Sails, the event was the most exciting yet.
The BlueBird Cup itself was raced between Stormy Weather owned by Christopher Spray and the defending Skylark helmed by the talented yachtsman and international sailor Tara Getty. The Challengers Race, to decide the 2020 event, was run between Havsornen, chartered and helmed by Nick Barham, the 54ft Blitzen owned and helmed by Sir Charles Dunstone, Argyll owned and helmed by actor and comedian Griff Rhys Jones, Manitou owned by Hamish Easton, Moonbeam owned by Carsten Gerlach. As in previous years, the contemporary race boat Spectre, owned and helmed by Peter Dubens, participated as an honorary guest.
Sky TV filmed the event from a helicopter during its filming of the drama ‘Riviera’.
The Challengers Race was first to begin, with the start gun fired by Bubbles from onboard the magnificent 104ft BlueBird which defined the startline. The other end of the start was defined by the huge motoryacht Talitha.
The race was a pursuit event with the respective handicaps for size built into the different start times. Skylark was the scratch boat and led the fleet across the start in very light wind which worked against her. As the breeze died away Stormy started making it advantageous for the larger, faster boats starting behind.
A big wind shift then closed the gap between all the boats, followed by another shift which was nearly 180 degrees. Considering the massive changes in wind direction and strength, it was a near miracle that all the boats arrived at the first mark at the same time, having taken radically different courses and wind speeds to get there. Essentially, the race started again half way through which gave advantage to the bigger boats.
Coming into the last leg to the finish, Argyll was in the lead and looked a likely winner. But the weather turned events on its head once again and metres before the finish Nick Barham and Rupert Cleavley on Havsornen snuck ahead to cross the line first.
Then followed the BlueBird Cup race itself. After some circling before the start where the boats competed head to head, Stormy won the start convincingly and from that point Skylark struggled to over take her. Whilst the gap between the boats closed to a few metres, Stormy extended on the last leg crossing the finish over a minute ahead of the turquoise crew on Skylark.
At the prizegiving onboard of Talitha, Leading Hotels of the World presented fabulous awards whilst Hennessy presented its 100 year old Paradis Imperial cognac and Bentley invited owners to loan its latest cars. Each competitor was then presented with a commemorative BlueBird Cup 2019 polo shirt made by North Sails. It was a fabulous occasion. As BlueBird weighed anchor in the setting sun, “The Best Day of the Season” was declared by all. A fitting tribute to a fabulous event. An amazing occasion enjoyed by all who attended. Stormy Weather, worthy winners of the 9th Edition.
Celebrities, television personalities, film stars, rockstars, entrepreneurs and glitterati attended a fabulous reception aboard BlueBird, the famous 1938 motor yacht commissioned by Sir Malcolm Campbell holder of multiple world speed records. The event celebrated the announcement of the 430 Leading Hotels of the World joining Bentley, Moet Hennessy (LVMH), Purdey (Richemont), NetJets, Faberge, Canon and Monaco Yacht Show in the BOYD luxury brand experience on mobile.
Leading Hotels of the World includes glamorous properties including The Ritz, the incredible Sir Norman Foster designed Dolder Grand in Zurich and The Metropole and L’Heritage in Monaco. It is responsible for 87,000 reservations per night across the group. It will partner BOYD to showcase, through interactive experiences, its luxury properties around the globe.
Monte Carlo, centre of Monaco, was the glamorous setting for the bi-annual Monaco Classic Week, held at the prestigious Yacht Club de Monaco. Renowned for its light winds and waves, the event is a challenge for the heavy Skylark.
Yet again Cippino was Skylark’s major contender, joined in the line up of favourites at this event by Sir Charles Dunstone’s Blitzen. Blitzen was sailed by a very good crew with a lot of America’s Cup experience including Matt Cornwall and Chris Mason. She was helmed for the week by Sir Keith Mills.
The first race Skylark sailed incredibly well winning line honours against the much lighter Cippino, helmed by Argentinian Olympic Medalist and multiple World Champion.
Race 2 was just as challenging. Skylark started well then got on the wrong side of a wind shift. She fought back as the wind died completely and moved up her position to mid-fleet. However the wind then died completely and the race was abandoned.
The last race was again incredibly shifty. Both Skylark and Cippino sailed right round the becalmed fleet out to see and looked to have a massive lead. Then the wind came in strong from the east allowing all the becalmed boats to overtake Skylark. After finally rounding the windward mark, Skylark managed to sail a better course in the light winds and again over took Blitzen, Manitou and all her competitors (except … you guessed it … Cippino!). A long reach in light winds allowed Skylark to extend on those behind securing her another 2nd Place Overall.
It was a great achievement at an event which really doesn’t favour heavier boats.
After some hard core racing it was time for a little relaxation … Sadly the weather did not play its part for one of the two days.
So we headed for the Michelin Guide … and ashore in both Cannes and Villefranche, settling of the Kathleen Turner & Michael Douglas movie ‘Jewel in the Nile”.