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2013 Newport Bucket Regatta: Blog and Recaps

 

2013 Newport Bucket Regatta - Hank Halsted's Blog and Recaps

BUCKET BLOG #3 - SUNDAY 25 AUGUST

Bucket Sunday dawned yet another perfect late summer day, bright and chilly with a light northwesterly.  As forecast, the breeze went flat in the late morning but everyone must have been living right, because after a half hour postponement by the RC, the sea breeze filled in bringing ideal sailing conditions.  Both fleets sailed relatively short courses of 12.5 miles for the Grandes Dames and 16.5 for the Les Gazelles, which tested the yachts well on all points of sail.

ALTAIR started first at 12:30 and with some serious tweaking she sailed upwind as she never had before.  ANGELS SHARE was the fastest and therefore last boat to start, 36 minutes later.  BRISTOLIAN distinguished herself yet again, crossing the line only one second after her gun!  ALTAIR finished her best upwind leg ever, by sailing so close to Narragansett Beach pier that as they approached the 15’ depth curve there was talk of stepping ashore for a round of hot dogs!  This paid off, saved her two tacks in fetching the weather mark and made her the boat to beat to the finish.

The Gazelles had to sail a couple extra miles to weather in somewhat more challenging conditions as the breeze was lighter offshore.  In the end, they had a good, close contest within the class, with ANGELS SHARE squeezing past MARIE to finish a minute and a half ahead, and SEJAA finishing a minute and a half later.

The GRANDES DAMES finish was closer with BRISTOLIAN rapidly catching ALTAIR, and METEOR with a cloud of sails, overtaking both at a good clip.  ALTAIR chose the best position, once again out of the channel and this time out of the current, where she gained a 1.5 knot advantage to close on the finish more rapidly than the boats that were actually sailing faster through the water.  She was so far out of the channel that Michael Nethersole, our esteemed “Voice of the Bucket” didn’t see her, and broadcast the finish line drama between the other two boats for several minutes before ALTAIR surged into view around the Castle Hill cliffs as the clear winner, with BRISTOLIAN 40 seconds behind and METEOR 32 seconds later in third.

ALTAIR (Blue Spinnaker) and Bristolian

 

The fleet tied up, cleaned up and had a toast or two at Newport Shipyard before heading off to the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS) for the Awards Ceremony.  IYRS Restoration Hall was an ideal location for the Awards.  Surrounded by boatbuilding shops, tools, completed classics and projects ready to begin, it created a great atmosphere for the final Bucket get together.

Among Les Gazelles des Mers, ANGELS SHARE was the clear winner with two firsts, MARIE placed second and SEJAA third.   Les Grandes Dames des Mers were dominated by BRISTOLIAN with first and second place finishes, ALTAIR placed second and GEORGIA, third. 

The overall winner of the 2013 Newport Bucket Regatta is BRISTOLIAN!  Originally launched as MARI-CHA over 20 years ago, this 90’ German Frers design still rocks!  She was sailed to near perfection by a Corinthian crew who enjoyed every moment of the regatta to the fullest.  She’s a Bucket winner indeed!

Alice Huisman presented the Wolter Huisman “Spirit of the Bucket Award”, for the yacht that best demonstrates the real values that this event was built upon; sailing our yachts to their absolute best potential with safety and seamanship at the forefront, wholesome competition and sportsmanship, with the goal of having fun far outweighing the need to win at all costs.  In this regatta, ALTAIR won the award hands down as her owner remarked about the Saturday results, “I got third yesterday and that’s great. I won’t mention that there were only four boats!”  Sunday he went out, sailed a perfect race and won for real!

 

MARIE was presented the Vitters Trophy for Seamanship and Sportsmanship on several counts.  First, she rescued her mammoth spinnaker out of the water on Saturday in a well-coordinated fire drill without casualty.  She also chose to overlook a valid protest in the interest of getting beyond it and just having fun.  Lastly, her crew spoiled us all at the Fleet Open House, decorated in deep South Pacific Style, and treated the fleet to great hospitality!

The Committee was a bit stumped on who won the Chippewa Bomb because sadly, the Bucket seems to be running a bit low on skullduggery and non-adult behavior, which this Award is designed to celebrate.  We were truly a bit nonplussed about this when someone mentioned that we should have been out and racing with the METEOR crowd.  Although the yacht is run with precision, she’s also evidently fueled by nonstop riotous banter and rollicking jest.  We celebrate that and are pleased to present them with the Bomb, entrusting them to autograph it in  proper fashion as all previous recipients have done while in their custody.

Accepting the Vitters Trophy

In sum, this was a Bucket reminiscent of the old days in Nantucket, with a smallish fleet of the world’s largest yachts just out sailing together, driving their boats to peak efficiency on the race course and enjoying the company of great friends ashore.  Newport Bucket 2013 easily passed the essential litmus test; the Race Committee had a Great Time!

Enjoy some Sunday photos by Billy Black / billyblack.com

 

 

BUCKET BLOG #2 - SATURDAY 24 AUGUST

Saturday at the Newport Bucket dawned crystal clear and chilly, with a brisk northerly breeze that foreshadows the coming of fall.  Our relatively small, eight boat fleet included some of the largest superyachts on the planet and got underway mid-morning for the first start at high noon.  The cruising oriented Grandes Dammes des Mers sailed a 21.5 mile course and the performance Gazelles des Mers, 26.5.

PHOTO COURTESY CARRIE FLETCHER

The northerly served up a downwind start for the yachts to sail out of Narragansett Bay, requiring each of the superyachts to set spinnakers as they crossed the line.  All performed flawlessly but the 91’ BRISTOLIAN got the best start by a good measure, crossing only five seconds after her gun.

The two classes went to different rounding marks in Rhode Island Sound and there was a bit of well managed confusion, when the yachts discovered that one of the rounding marks was off station.  This was announced and discussed in an active VHF discourse, the yachts rounded the assigned coordinates and continued on their way.

 The fleet came together at a windward turning mark set off Ochre Point, where they rounded, set spinnakers and sailed parallel to Newport’s Ocean Drive in a display more elegant than the “cottages” ashore that made the place famous.  Fulfilling the “David and Goliath” myth, 90’ SEJAA arrived at the turning mark ahead of the 180’ MARIE, which rounded just astern and then did a beautiful spinnaker set but unfortunately the halyard shackle failed and dropped the sail in the drink.  Even with great crew work, this put the brakes on in a big way, allowing a couple boats to pass.  As the yachts sailed back into Block Island Sound before turning north toward the finish, the wind turned fluky, which made acres of spinnaker management all the more difficult.

As the yachts turned for the final upwind leg to the finish, the northerly turned deep schizophrenic, blowing from two directions at once; NW on the left and NE on the right with a deep flat zone in the middle. Those who finished earliest suffered the least and the rocket Wally 130, ANGELS SHARE crossed the line first, over six minutes ahead of SEJAA, then BRISTOLIAN a minute and a half later. 

Jim Teeters

GEORGIA and MARIE both sailing hard to weather. 150 meters and 75 degrees apart! photo courtesy Jim Teeters

In sum, this was a challenging great day on the water that was followed by an evening of pure Bucket fun.  The Open House aboard the yachts touched a level of hospitality that was truly reminiscent of those wonderful low-key gatherings in the original Nantucket Buckets.  All were truly dazzled by the minimalist but remarkably comfortable interior aboard ANGELS SHARE, which resonates the same purposeful appeal as her immaculate deck arrangement.  SEJAA, BRISTOLIAN and ALTAIR spoiled their guests with drinks and fine fair but MARIE stole the show.  The walk through on deck and below is a visual feast at every turn, from the display of ancient cannons and flintlocks, to every detail of this elegantly crafted masterpiece.  The yacht was fully dressed in “South Seas Style” with inflatable palm trees,  flamingos and angel fish swimming in the aft cockpit.  Pacific punch was served along with a tropical display of epicurean delights.

Traffic on the walk back up Charlie Dock at the Newport Shipyard was slowed by another visual feast of sorts. . . a couple of lovely and skilled Hula Dancers whose gait was decidedly different than we normal walkers.

PHOTO COURTESY ANNE VANDROMME

 

Then back in the marquis the party got underway!


BUCKET BLOG #1

Meteor

In the run-up to the 2013 Newport Bucket Regatta, METEOR has been our resident “cliff hanger”

The good news for all Newport Bucket enthusiasts this week is that the magnificent 170’ Gloucester Schooner METEOR, by Dykstra Design and the Royal Huisman Shipyard will be able to join us for the Regatta.  A recent drive train problem required the yacht to be hauled for repairs several weeks ago but with the combined efforts of the yacht’s crew, Newport Shipyard and especially the Huisman Shipyard, parts were fabricated, delivered and installed for the yacht to be launched and sea trialed, just in time for the starting guns.

As the fleet assembles for the 2013 Newport Bucket Regatta, the Bucket Committee is pleased at the prospect of entertaining a relatively small fleet of the world’s largest superyachts, with just five of our entries adding up to nearly 800’ of LOA!  METEOR will be challenged on the race course by MARIE, the 180’ Spirit of Tradition Ketch by Vitters Shipyard, just back from the South Pacific and the Shipyard Cup in Maine.  The trend setting 160’ Alloy Yachts Sloop, GEORGIA, just arrived from Palm Beach, the 155’ Royal Huisman Sloop, HYPERION has joined us at the Shipyard and the scorching fast Wally 130, ANGELS SHARE has been tuning up in Block Island Sound as well. 

We may have a bit of the David and Goliath story in the performance class as the 90’ Judel Vrolijk Sloop SEJAA returns to defend her class win from 2012.  She will be sailing out of the huge shadows cast by MARIE, HYPERION and ANGELS SHARE.  But she’s nimble, so there’s a good contest to come for sure. Among Les Grandes Dames des Mers, the cruising oriented METEOR and GEORGIA will be challenged by the 91’ Frers design, BRISTOLIAN, the 90’ Sparkman & Stephens Sloop, ALTAIR and the elegant classic W-76 by Brooklin Boatyard, WILD HORSES.

In sum, there’s a great weekend of racing in store, with a good measure of Bucket fun to be had ashore as well, all focused on a “South Pacific comes to Newport” theme.  Friday evening will begin on a serious note with a review of the new and evolving International Superyacht Rule followed by the Skipper’s Meeting.  The Welcome Party will follow under the marquis at Newport Shipyard.  Saturday will feature two important gatherings; the annual Yacht Open House for participating Owners and Crews aboard the yachts, followed by the “Bucket Bash” at the Marquis, with cocktails, buffet dinner and dancing to the Evan Goodrow Band until they pull the plug! 

We are really pleased to be returning to the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS) on Thames Street for the awards presentation on Sunday evening.  IYRS is a world-class experiential school with a core education model dedicated to teaching highly technical and deeply craft-oriented career skills. IYRS currently has three accredited schools: School of Boatbuilding & Restoration, School of Marine Systems, and School of Composites Technology. The skills acquired in these programs are transferrable to other industries and applications.  IYRS is the Official Bucket Non-Profit for 2013.  For further information please visit their website.

Stay tuned for further Regatta updates in Hank Halsted’s commentary and the insider view from the Directors, as the Newport Bucket unfolds.