I have already written two articles about ‘Skylark’. (See links below.)
For some reason I have an obsession with this very unusual one-off junk-rigged yacht. Two days ago I saw her again; this time she was out of the water so that I could see her underwater lines. They were very much as I had imagined when first seeing the boat afloat, i.e., she has a deep, long keel and firm bilges. Had she been beamier, she would have been less tippy, and had she had a wide transom, that also would have helped reduce her tendency to roll, particularly when on the run. You might say, “How do you know this without sailing her?” I’ve sailed boats since the age of 13, and I’m in my late seventies; therefore I have a pretty good idea as to how she will perform. She will be a beastly pig of a boat!
She has the unfortunate feature of very high, slab-sided topsides. These raise the centre of gravity, making her less stable than a boat with lower topsides. High topsides also increase windage. Hence, with no sail set, the sides of the yacht will act as if they were sails. Because of this she will range on her mooring or anchor warp. Her heavy mast will contribute to a pendulum motion, particularly when she is at anchor, and undoubtedly this will be aided by her internal ballast which is mainly set at the waterline.
She doesn’t have an engine; therefore she relies on a yuloh for manoeuvring within a marina and for propulsion when there is no wind. Exactly where one attaches the yuloh to the stern of the yacht is a mystery. There is no provision for a rowlock or a universal joint mechanism for locating the shaft of her yuloh or sculling oar.
Her rudders are a pain. They are held in place by rope lashings which are inadequate for supporting them. If she had been a beamy light displacement yacht there would have been some merit in having twin rudders. The only possible advantage with the present setup is that if one is lost, there is another with which to steer the yacht.
I have said some pretty uncomplimentary things about this unique vessel, and yet she continues to lurk in my mind as a creature with which I have an obsession. If only I could dismiss thoughts about her, life would be more comfortable. She’s a bit like one of those black spots that float around in ones vision; wherever you look to avoid seeing the spot, you just cannot get rid of it!
“Please, ‘Skylark’, Depart from me and leave me alone. Torment and beguile another.”
‘Skylark’ – an unusual junk-rigged yacht