I have already written two articles about ‘Skylark’. (See
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