2010 Newport Bucket Regatta Recap
The 2010 Newport Bucket Regatta was launched in a Carnival Atmosphere on Friday evening with three significant splashes. Our Ratings Guru, Jim Teeters, Charlie Dana, our host at Newport Shipyard and Race Director Hank Halsted, were sacrificed to the "dunk tank" where amid cheers and laughter they were dumped one by one, into the tank with our guest juggler, fire thrower and stilt walker entertaining the crew all the while. The IYAC hosted the celebrated “Gutter Regatta” which required each yacht crew to create a model sailboat – and a gale of hot air – to propel their creation to victory. VIRAGO was the proud winner!
With light wind forecast for the weekend, the Skippers meeting also called for a special tribute to our patron God, Neptune, wherein all in attendance served up a toast of vintage Calvados - with a tot into the sea, and a hearty cheer for the wind gods.
Photos by Suki Finnerty and Anne Vandromme
Unfortunately, six of sixteen yachts which were entered in the regatta were forced in the past week to withdraw for a bizarre set of circumstances involving two serious engine problems, a cruising permit issue, a death in a family and a couple other disabling events. Regardless, ten boats arrived at the starting line; five "Grandes Dames" and five "Gazelles" filled the cruising and racing classes.
Saturday was a sparkling fall day with a brisk 15 knot northerly blowing in the morning, forecast to diminish substantially. The starting line was easily identified, with the magnificent 160' Trinity Motoryacht, VITA, as committee boat, loaned to the Bucket by the Owner of J Class, RANGER. Thank you John!! The two classes sailed courses of 14 and 19 miles respectively, from the same start to the same finish, with reasonably close racing within the classes.
Photo by Pim van Hemmen
Even sailing the extra five miles, the Gazelles dominated the day with the W 76, WHITE WINGS finishing first in class and overall, a minute and a half ahead of the classic 12 Meter, EASTERNER, driven by Paul Callahan, director of the "Sail to Prevail Foundation" which uses sailing as an instructional format for the handicapped. HANUMAN, the J Boat by Royal Huisman Shipyard finished third.
Among the Grandes Dames, the Royal Huisman 169' Schooner, METEOR won her class by over five minutes, having sailed a tactically beautiful race. The yacht is simply, a visual feast! PALAWAN, the Little Harbor 75' Sloop finished second with AURELIUS, the 77' Modern Classic Dykstra design sloop, in third.
The Bucket Bash at the Shipyard on Saturday was one of those gatherings of Bucket personalities that launched itself into a party that just wouldn’t quit! Ingrid Martens and Blue Rocks Catering served up a sumptuous meal, Robert Oatley Wines graciously lubricated the event, and in the end. it wouldn’t end! The whole crew simply danced all night and would not go home. The band had such a good time they forgot their check, and reported it was the best party they’d been to all year! I guess that means we had fun as well!
Sunday dawned steely silver gray with high overcast but a promising easterly breeze of about 12 knots. In crafting a course for the day, the RC was challenged to "think out of the box" and conceive a course more interesting than the offshore triangles that have been sailed off of Newport for a century. They noted the day prior, that the un-navigable fish traps that have obscured the shore of Newport's Cliff Walk Mansion District for over thirty years, had been removed the week before. Immediately they set two courses of geometric complexity -- that sent Les Grandes Dammes des Mers and Les Gazelles des Mers on courses of 19 and 26 miles respectively, which brought the whole fleet to a jibe mark just off the mansions for a long reach along the cliffs. This is the first time in our collective memory that any race has been run on the waters off Ocean Drive. Finally, sightseeing from the ocean off Newport is back! We wonder if the view was better from the land or the sea - both spectacular!
Photo by Jim Teeters
Sailing different courses from the common starting line, the two classes disbursed to their best advantage toward the common turning mark. Mid way through the race, with yachts near and far on all points of the horizon, the RC looked at each other thinking that it would take a miracle to bring the entire fleet together at the finish. Our ratings Guru just smiled.
AZURRA, the Jongert 96' Sloop found her feet after her first day's last in class. She started first and held that spot all day, for a decisive win of Sunday's Race! In true Bucket fashion, AZZURRA crossed the finish line with the ten ladies aboard each waving. . .their brassieres at the RC!!! The Classic Schooner, GLORIA, crossed the line in second place and the next twenty minutes were a thrill as the entire remaining fleet of nine boats converged and finished. The Huisman Shipyard built, J-Class HANUMAN, crossed the line to claim third overall for the day.
The Awards Celebration was hosted by Newport's Museum of Yachting and the International Yacht Restoration School, on the Fort Adams lawn at the entrance to Newport Harbor. With a 300 degree view of Newport Harbor, Narragansett Bay and a marvelous sunset, we could not have asked for a better backdrop for celebrating the weekend’s victories.
Overall Fleet Honors for the 2010 Newport Bucket went to HANUMAN!
The 76' W Class Sloop WHITE WINGS claimed second Overall and CLEVELANDER placed third.
Along with class awards, the Vitters Seamanship Trophy for seamanship and the best demonstration of Corinthian Sailing, was aptly earned by 12 Meter, EASTERNER, Paul Callahan and the Sail to Prevail Foundation. With the yacht converted to be handled by handicapped sailors, this crew sailed hardest, without a doubt. The Bucket Committee took the opportunity to present The Sail to Prevail Foundation a check in the amount of $1,800, as a contribution to their ongoing efforts on behalf of the handicapped.
The other award of note is the Newport Bomb, a World War Two bomb that has been earned by, and decorated by various fleet members over the years in recognition of those who perpetuate the non-adult behavior that pervades all Bucket Fleets. The Bomb was well earned this year, by AZZURRA, for her fine demonstration at the finish line!!
In sum, the 2010 Newport Bucket was an intimate affair with less boats, but a great crowd of long-term Bucket enthusiasts who left with the feeling that Newport this year really had the ‘feel’ of Buckets past. With a smaller fleet it was somewhat decompressed, but populated as usual, with every personality from the yachting world with whom you’d love to have opportunity to have a chat. And once again the Bucket passed the crucial litmus test, the Race Committee had a ball!