2010 St Barths Bucket Recap
2010 was yet another watershed year for the St. Barths Bucket. With a record 39 yachts on the race course and 1200+ crew and participants, this circus set its tents at the St. Barths waterfront and with full hospitality from of our friends on the Island, let the party roll! The 2010 Superyacht Safety Protocol, was tested and further refined with input from the fleet. The Bucket Organization offers sincere thanks to all the yachts, tacticians and safety tacticians for perpetuating the focus on collision avoidance and for their “oh so congenial” safety chatter on Channel #17. This civil radio discourse is a far cry from the traditional heated shouting matches that claim rights in most racing. All yachts truly set a new standard for sportsmanship on the race course. This was also the first year we were able to offer professional on-water management of the racing. We are grateful to Peter Craig and Premiere Racing for helping us to raise the bar on Bucket race management.
The overall winner of the 2010 St. Barths Bucket is the J Class Sloop, RANGER, which sailed consistently well with a 13th, 1st and 10th overall, to claim first place. They celebrated by performing the traditional “Haka”, New Zealand Mauri Ceremonial Dance, for the crowd.
Photo courtesy of Dana Jenkins
In another display of profound cultural savoir faire, they took the opportunity to soak down Michael Magras, the Vice President of St. Barths, with champagne!
Photo courtesy of Claire Matches
There was a tie for second place overall, between the cruising oriented Perini Navi classic 46M Ketch, ANDROMEDA LA DEA and Perini’s new, 125’ Philippe Briand design, high performance Sloop, P2. Each yacht had 31 points after 3 days racing with ANDROMEDA prevailing, because of her first place win in race #3. Both boats were consistently sailed to their full potential.
The Bucket began with the Skipper’s Meeting at the Bistro on the St. Barths waterfront, which was packed beyond capacity for a full dissection and explanation of the new provisions of the Superyacht Safety Protocol. After a lively discussion, and with the Sailing Instructions understood, including the over-riding goal to sail well “and win the party”, all headed off to the Welcome Reception by the Bucket Sponsorship Group, to do just that.
At the height of the party, our Managing Director was accosted with cutlass, pikes and swords, by the crew of AXIA, dressed in full pirate regalia with offerings to the Race Committee of the full range of pirate delights; vintage rum, a treasure map and treasure chest packed with jewels, gold pieces of eight (great chocolate!), a parrot, eye patch and. . . plenty of bootie!! The serenade was lyrically delivered in prose, created and read by crewmember Drew Webb, with owners Cathy and George Sakellaris, owners leading the charge.
Friday dawned a quintessential Caribbean day but with lighter breeze than usual. The wind filled in nearly 90 degrees left of all forecasts, from the northeast, rather than the predicted sou’easter. The result was far less upwind work in sailing around the Island than expected, which created an advantage for the ketches. Indeed, four of the top six finishers were split rigs. The 140’ Classic Ketch, HETAIROS, dominated the day with flawless sailhandling and great boatspeed! SALUTE, the 56M Perini Navi Custom Sloop, claimed second overall three minutes later, followed by Ketches AXIA and ANDROMEDA La Dea in third and fourth.
Back alongside, the yachts turned out for the Fleet Open House, which this year, evolved into a bit of a “fancy dress” affair. “Arabian Nights” entertained aboard ANDROMEDA. ANTARA hosted the entire Wild West, 70’s Disco aboard WHISPER, there was serious Pirating going on aboard AXIA, and secret agents guarding the passarelle for HELIOS.
Photos courtesy of Billy Black
The hospitality ran deep, fully through the fleet with VISIONE, DESTINATION FOX HARBOUR, METEOR and many others fully “putting on the dog” to entertain their competitors, well into the night.
Saturday served up another magnificent, but somewhat light Caribbean sailing day for the “Not So Wiggley” course. In a 10 knot sou’easter, the downwind start saw most of the fleet departing under “nylons”, with some great – and some entertaining spinnaker sets as the yachts approached the line. The original “Wiggley Course”, around and between the islands north and east of St. Barths, was designed a dozen years ago when 6 yachts participated and 110’ was huge! As the average size built to 40M and the fleet grew toward 40 yachts, this course needed a little straightening out! This year, the RC eased several roundings and created a better traffic pattern, but still found a constriction in passing between Isle Frigate and Isle Chevreau. With yachts this size, the .4 mile gap is simply not wide enough to guarantee a safe racing thoroughfare. This bottleneck too, will become a fond memory of Buckets past.
Photo courtesy of Billy Black
Saturday was Les Gazelles day in the sun, with the top eight finishes claimed by the performance yachts. RANGER finished first, 35 seconds ahead of REBECCA, with GHOST placing third. Among Les Grandes Dames, WINDCREST was first, followed 17 seconds later by GANESIA, and AXIA finishing a minute later, in third.
The penalty sanctions of the Superyacht Safety Protocol were exercised for the first time ever, with several yachts assessed 5 minutes for safety and rule infractions. Overall, the sanctions were well received, it was acknowledged that the Rule has teeth - and it was no surprise that there were no reported infractions the following day!
Saturday night, the Bucket Bash served up 600 sumptuous meals and entertainment by “Itchy Feet” a great rock and blues band from Antigua. The band’s performance was underwritten by the owner of VISIONE, who took the stage and jammed with the group, playing spirited guitar for the crowd. In the context of Bucket fun, this quantifies what “winning the party” is all about. Hats off to VISIONE, and many thanks. You really get the picture!
Sunday’s clockwise romp around the island also began with a downwind start, then a long beat up the east side of St. Barths. A squall line crossed the fleet near the southeast tip of the island and those who chose the right side of the 30 degree wind shift made out handsomely. Three Perini Navis, ANDROMEDA, REILA and HELIOS, hit the shift well for a good gain and finished first, second and third overall and in class. DSK beat RANGER over the line by 16 seconds to win the Gazelles, with REBECCA a minute later, in third.
This year’s St. Barths Bucket is the first regatta we are aware of, in which two classes of vastly different designs, sailed different courses concurrently, from a common starting line to a common finish, with handicaps induced by the pursuit start time sequence. In spite of some forecasting issues created because the trade winds took the week off, after three days of racing the top 10 positions were equally divided between Les Grandes Dames des Mers and Les Gazelles des Mers. The tie for second place between the flat out racing Perini, P2 and the ultimately comfortable Classic Perini 46M ANDROMEDA is a pretty remarkable end result among opposites!
This relative parity aside, the division of classes and their separate courses point up the increased importance of the class results in Bucket events, where yachts are competing against those with the most similar design attributes. It has been well demonstrated that if you win your class in a Bucket Regatta, you will have sailed consistently well, indeed.
At the awards presentation on Sunday evening, RANGER was the clear winner among Les Gazelles des Mers, followed by P2 in second and UNFURLED in third place. ANDROMEDA La Dea was the victor among Les Grandes Dames des Mers, with AXIA claiming second (in full pirate regalia) and HETAIROS in third place.
GLORIA thought she would be the clear winner of the coveted Escargot Cup, having defended dead last in the first two races. However, her 8th place finish in the last race stripped her of her chance of success. Thus, TOTO was the clear winner of the Escargot Cup for last place, which should help guarantee her favorable rating in future events!
The Wolter Huisman Memorial, “Spirit of the Bucket” Award, was presented by Alice Huisman to Peter DeSavary, GLORIA’s owner, for his long-term support of the Bucket events as a sponsor, his ever-present humor and sense of fun, along with occasional bubbly bribes to the Rating Committee (without regard to their efficacy).
The Perini Cup, for the best performance among Perini Navi Yachts, was presented by Milena & Guilia Perini, to ANDROMEDA La Dea, for stellar performance in finishing second overall. The Alloy Yachts Trophy was presented by Tony Hambrook, to GEORGIA, for a well-sailed regatta in which she placed 7th overall. The Vitters Shipyard Seamanship and Sportsmanship award was presented to BARRACUDA, for their highly professional management of an on-race course injury aboard.
The All Star Crew Award is presented to the yacht crew that is voted by their peers to be the best professional team that keeps maintains their boat in top condition, with the best team spirit and joie de vivre. This year by fleet vote, Holland Jachtbouw recognized the crew of ANTARA as the All Stars, for the second time!
Lastly, the entire pirate crew of AXIA was dispatched to the stage to receive the Skullduggery Cravat; the framed and perfectly tied Admiralty Bosun’s Noose that recognizes the yacht that best furthers the humor and non-adult behavior that pervades all Bucket events. This is also the second time AXIA has won the Cravat. This crew really knows how to play!
In sum, what a circus!! The Bucket has proved once again that if you hold the world’s most accomplished sailors hostage in paradise, aboard the largest, fastest and most elegant sailing yachts on the planet, bring on Caribbean weather, a bit of rum and vintage wine, the pot will certainly boil over with an effervescence that giggles on the
way by . . . This year, St. Barths was simply, a Bucket of fun.