Skylark wins Regates Imperiales 2012!

Following four races in the Gulf of Ajaccio against a classic fleet which included crews from both the British and French Navy, Skylark of 1937 has won the overall trophy for Epoque Marconi at Les Regates Imperiales 2012. She eventually discarded her 3rd place in the first race, posting a score line of 1, 2, 1 totaling only 4 points. Two yachts tied for 2nd on 7 points meaning Skylark’s win was convincing.

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The regatta was initially delayed by 50 knot winds and huge waves in the Gulf of Lyon, which prevented many yachts from making the passage from the French and Italian Riviera to Corsica. The first race of the regatta was then cancelled due to no wind and torrential rain. By Wednesday the weather had cleared to provide perfect racing conditions and whilst Skylark had a good race, she placed 3rd by one minute due to being overpowered on the first beat by too large a head sail. Races 2 & 3 were again in perfect sunshine and 7-12 knots of sea breeze and Skylark performed to her potential – in Race 2 winning her first race for her new owner.

Going into the 4th and final race, Skylark held a one point lead overall and needed to finish either ahead or only one place behind the larger yacht Oiseau de Feu crewed by the French Navy. This set up a nail biting finale which began in little or no wind from the NE with the fleet drifting across the start line. After 20 minutes the land breeze died and a drifting match favoured the lighter Skylark who glided slowly past the becalmed Oiseau de Feu.

Skylark tacked to cover the French and, as the new sea breeze arrived from the NW, was able to keep in contact with the French by the 2nd mark. As the wind built so did the boat speeds with Skylark under asymmetric spinnaker and her new pole touching 9.2 knots. Two power reaches and fantastic crew work by the foredeck crew at the gybe mark allowed Skylark to win the last race by an impressive 6 minute margin on corrected time.