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.