Alloy YachtsHolland Jachtbouw Perini Navi Royal Huisman Vitters Shipyard



St Barths
2011

home |  st barths |  newport25th anniversary book |  about the bucket |  sponsors |  press |  contact

 
 

St Barths Bucket 2011: Regatta Recaps

 

March 25 2011 0900 - THURSDAY REPORT

March 26 2011 0900 - FRIDAY REPORT

March 27 2011 1100 - SATURDAY REPORT

Serious Fun: Staying Safe at the St Barths Bucket

Joie de Vivre: 25th Anniversary Bucket Regatta arrives

It’s a Wrap!
By Norma Trease

A few days have passed since the end of the of the absolutely phenomenal St. Barths Bucket 2011, celebrating twenty-five years of great large-yacht racing among peers.

As every yacht leaves this beautiful island behind, with every full flight and ferry, the excitement - which was at fever pitch throughout a very long, busy week – has begun to wane. The adrenaline rush of racing for three days, with a fleet of 40 world-class yachts, seeing friends and colleagues from near and far, is draining too quickly away. Only a few yachts can leave with the glory of making it to the podium and carrying home their own personal Bucket trophy, yet for several hundred lucky participants in the 2011 St. Barths Bucket, representing yacht owners, builders, designers, suppliers, joined by professional and amateur sailors from all over the world, the memories of such an epic event will linger into happy sailing lore. The legend of Bucket racing, begun as a dream fostered by competitive yacht owners twenty-five years lives on, bringing the joy of yachting to Bucket fans old and new.

It’s all about the racing, and on St Barths this year, the sailing was outstanding. Smiled upon by the Wind Gods, all three days of racing provided decidedly exciting courses, with stunningly accurate starts and increasingly close finishes every day, proving once again that Jim Teeter and his team have truly applied their lessons learned from gathering Bucket ratings data for several years. In a fleet of 40 yachts, ranging from 30 to 88 meters, from Grande Dames to Gazelles and the newest Bucket class, Les Elegantes des Mers, with competitive racers such as P2 and Leopard on the water,even a couple of wickedly beautiful Js, next to a slew of Perini Navis, Royal Huismans, Alloys and every yacht imaginable in between, establishing ratings is terribly tricky business. Yet on the final day of racing, in a spectacular downwind finish, over 24 yachts finished in just over twenty minutes, with the rest of the pack closing in not too far behind. The first three yachts across the finish line, Helios as the Grande Dame, Gazelle Virago, and Elena, representing Les Elegantes came in together in under three minutes - a sight exciting enough to warm the hearts of any racing or yacht enthusiast.

In order to field a fleet of this magnitude, there is naturally a mix of yachts new to Bucket racing, mixed with plenty of veteran Bucketeers. Yet the racing still remains highly competitive- this is certainly not just a club for old cronies to pat themselves on the back. In a typical Bucket scenario, several of the daily and overall race winners were either new to Bucket racing – or at least, were new to winning Bucket races. In her first Bucket, crowd-pleaser classic Royal Huisman William Tai, manned by one of the smallest race crew, including the designer’s son, Ted Hood, Jr. swept to win a first in her class on Day One of racing. In fact, the winners of all three classes on Day One were new to the fleet, including Marie and Marama, starting off this years Bucket with a genuine surge of excitement. The three Overall St. Barths Bucket winners, Virago, Hanuman, and Symmetry, although all three previous Bucket participants, had never before won the elusive top prizes, so you can imagine there was a whole lot of celebrating going on when the winners were announced !

Always popular are the various other prizes given, such as the All-Star Crew (multiple crew award winner Rebecca, who this year entertained the crowd with a chicken dance); and ever fired-up Axia family earning the Skulduggery Cravat for some successfully aggressive maneuvers. The Walter Huisman Memorial Award went to the owners of Marie, who generously arranged for the daily air shows as four WWII era fighter planes buzzed the fleet and the island, capping off each day’s racing in truly spectacular style. Make sure to take a look at the full results, to see how your personal pick Bucket boat fared.

It’s no secret that a big part of winning the Bucket is actually winning the party too, and this year had several serious contenders for Best Party Awards. Nightly, huge crew dinners were held at every leading island eatery including perennial favorites Eddy’s, Do Brazil, Wall House, Maya’s, Le Yacht Club and Le Bistro, sufficiently softening up their teams for the next day’s racing. The massive tent on the Capitanerie Quai hosted several events for the entire fleet, including an opening night BBQ, and a buffet dinner on Saturday night, capped off by one of the best reggae bands playing today, Bankie Banx, who kept the crowd dancing energetically well into the night. The Owners Soirée, held once again at the elegant Carl Gustaf, was nicely lubricated by the last-minute gift of many cases of champagne, kindly donated by Moët Chandon. The Yacht Hop can be a little too much, but this year, despite the seriously impressive group of yachts participating, it came off without a hitch, or even too many wharf rats. A definite nod must go to towards the party animals on Antara for once again showing their rock-the-dock creds with a black-themed “Non Party Party.”  Kudos must always be given to the hyper hospitable Perini Navi family, who every evening host dozens of clients, friends and crew for their lavish pasta suppers in their lovely villa perched way above the port - Bravissimo!

The Sunday night awards ceremony, effectively emceed this year by the very plummy-toned “Voice of the Bucket” Michael Nethersole, a Bucket veteran, who when not behind the microphone, can often be found behind the wheel of one yacht or another.. He gathered together the entire Bucket clan for one last chance to toast each others’ achievements and disappointments, while celebrating yet another milestone regatta event.

The St. Barths Bucket always attracts a certain number of celebrities, this year including Bucket perennial Jimmy Buffet, who closed off the 25th Anniversary Bucket in style, playing an impromptu and much appreciated set at BAZ late on Sunday night, bringing another huge group to it’s dancing feet. Rounding off a long hard weekend was the traditional Monday après-sailing rose lunch, so popular that it now oozes from Nikki’s Beach all the over to La Plague. Only the strong survive.

Without a doubt, congratulations must be given to those who work hard year-round to organize regattas of this magnitude, led by Hank Halsted, Tim Laughridge and Ian Craddock,. The new Bucket Race management team, spearheaded by Peter Craig, did an outstanding job in their first – but surely not their last – Bucket Regatta. Thanks too for the many volunteers, sponsors and participants who make this all possible.

For the last twenty-five years, Bucket Regattas have exerted an incredibly powerful and positive influence on the large sailing yacht world, offering owners a valuable “raison d’être” to enjoy their vessels as they were meant to be used, and bringing recognition, a creative spirit, and increased prosperity to this glamorous yachting microcosm. But, in the end, each and every one of us lucky enough to celebrate the 25th Anniversary Season in St Barths are all winners – until the Bucket tops itself again. So hope to see you in Martha’s Vineyard and Newport from 24-28th August, where once again, honor and glory will be sought, both on and off the racecourse.

Bucket blogger Norma Trease takes time away from her day job as Director of Sales and Marketing for Salamanca Marine to enjoy and appreciate the very special Bucket magic.

Back to top of page

March 27 2011 1100 - SATURDAY REPORT

Show Your Colours!
By Norma Trease

One mark of a true Bucket professional is the ability to recognize the other yachts you are sailing against. Now, the difference between say – J-Boat Ranger and Holland Yachtbouw Windrose is pretty easy, no matter how experienced a Bucketeer you are – or are not. But when getting into telling one beautiful big Perini Navi from another, you have to be a little more clever. (Unless, of course, you’re talking about Malatese Falcon or P2, which are totally different from her sister ships.) Now, Helios is pretty easy to recognize with her distinction dark-red hull, and Perseus with her elegant black hull also stands out. Most of us can recognize from afar the distinctive sleek lines of a Dubois, but not everyone knows their Hyperion from their Drumbeg. But besides the obvious (how big is she, and what’s her hull colour? Does she have two masts or one? Flush deck or superstructure?) Canny race yacht spotters, however, know to look for a few other obvious tell-tales which can help anyone to become an expert out on the water.

While still on the docks, many of the yachts port giant battle flags which symbolize the name or spirit of the yachts, and the logos on these give you a good hint of how you recognize the yachts later on. Christopher, a lovely Pendennis enjoying a very successful first Bucket race, sports a giant red battle with a flaming chili pepper, honoring her proud Texan owner, while Symmetry keeps it simple with a royal-blue S on a white background. Ranger, of course, flies the peach which symbolizes her owner’s Georgia roots. But these go down when the yachts go sailing, so how, you might ask – can this help gather you your own yacht-spotting creds? Look for the colors, boys and girls!

Now, on Race Day Two of the St Barths Bucket 2011, we raced the “Not So Wiggly Course” which took us back and forth around some of the fabulously scenic volcanic rock formations which surround the island. Sailing on Bucket veteran, and multiple winner Antara, one of the 13 yachts in the Grande Dames de la Mer class, we started off the race with a downwind start, giving us the first of three spinnaker runs we enjoyed over the course of a 3.5 hour race. Everyone especially enjoys the spectacle of seeing these giant vessels hoist their colorfully distinctive spinnies, which despite their massive size, seem much too delicate to stay afloat, gently bobbing out in front. The design of a spinnaker one of the most obvious way to tell one yacht from another, and the Bucket fleet shows off some particularly creative ones.

Ranger shows her J-class status with a classic J-5 (her class number) in maroon on white foreground. Nautical images abound, including Meteor’s stars,Windrose’s compass rose, while Ethereal’s gentle three waves, are still easily distinguished from Genevieve’s creating white wave on blue. More fanciful are the children’s beach drawing on the spinnaker of Gaia (which in any case, you couldn’t miss because of her turquoise hull,) while White Wings flying green horses are easy enough to spot. Figures include Hanuman’s leering monkey, Blue Too’s Joker, and Varsovie’s hunky Neptune. Solid colored spinnakers include Antara’s Big Red, while Marie’s black spinny with giant red M was simply lovely.

Can’t get your head around hull shape, sail colors or number of masts? There’s always one more tried and true, easy method to spot your favorite yacht: go to the skippers meeting in the morning, and check out what color the crew shirts are that day. For instance, on Day Two the always-impeccably togged-out crew of Axia wore acid yellow shirts, which when compared to her sea-horse spinnaker would be almost impossible to miss.

Race Day two brought in a new group of daily winners, including 30m Swan Virago taking the Gazelle de la Mer Class, Alloy Blue Too topping Le Grandes Dames, and showing her usual lively colors, when Rebecca’s crew took to the podium for winning Les Elegantes, they entertained the crowd with their victory chicken dance, costumes and all.

Today, final and third day of the St Barths Bucket, we go around the island again in the other direction. Energy might be waning somewhat after a few late nights, and hot days working on deck, but Bucket spirits never wane. At the end of the day, the fleet will once again be awed by the increasingly acrobatic antique war plane shows. Without a doubt, on the courses, or off, the St Barths Bucket offers up her usual multi-colored spectacle.

Bucket blogger Norma Trease has enjoyed more than two dozen Bucket regattas in Nantucket, Newport and of course, St Barths.

Back to top of page

photo courtesy Kate Drenckhahn

March 26 2011 0900 - FRIDAY REPORT

A Whale of a Day
by Norma Trease

Whether it’s your first Bucket race, or you’re a veteran, racing here on the Day One of the 25th Anniversary Bucket in Saint Barths is like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

You’ve heard the statistics – 40 yachts, totaling almost three linear kilometers, racing together on a lovely sunny day, almost enough breeze, and the best view imaginable: beautiful vessels sailing together in close formation. You would have seen highly experienced professionals working alongside hard-bodied youngsters, proud builders and designers enjoying the fruits of their labors, of course pumped-up owners and their crew, along with all types of fellow enthusiasts fortunate enough to share the special joy that is Bucket Racing. From 16 to 60, experienced or not, Bucket racing offers something for everyone.

The sheer diversity of this fleet is simply breathtaking, from classic Herreshoff schooner Elena of London, to the ever-magnificent sight of Maltese Falcon with her three Dyna Rig sails unfurled, “J” yachts Ranger and Hanuman, racing machines Leopard and Sojanna, plus a slew of sleek Dubois beauties. Yachts such as Perini Navi’s Antara, Parsifal III, P2, Helios II, and Klosters are regular Bucketeers, as are Holland Yachtbouw Windrose; White Wings and Bequia from Brooklin Boatyard, joining Royal Huismans Meteor, and Hyperion; never forgetting the Bucket veterans sailing onboard Pendennis Rebecca and S&S Axia. Yet you cannot field a fleet of this magnitude without always having a few newbies, and they always add an extra level of excitement – sailing against the unknown! In fact, of the 40 yachts sailing this year, an impressive 15 are new to the fleet.

New to Bucket racing are some cracking beauties including Holland Yachtbouw This Is Us, and newly-launched Royal Huisman Twizzle – whose owner suffered a nasty accident of the serious toe crunching variety while race training – and who we all wish a speedy recovery so that he may enjoy the rest of the Bucket. As always, Royal Huisman brought along a few of their experts, including Alice Huisman, Michael Koppstein, Bert Tromp, and young heir apparent Ronald van Hulst. In fact, as a remarkable gesture of Bucket solidarity, Royal Huisman brought to this event a total of thirteen of their team all the way from Holland, including newly-named head of Rondal Paul Dielemans, who will willingly perform needed repair service on any yacht in fleet. – complimentarily. Now that’s a true team Bucket spirit.

White Wings and Hanuman (foreground boats) photo courtesy Kate Drenckhahn

Your lucky Bucket blogger was invited onboard a fine example of Royal Huisman excellence – eco-friendly 58m Ethereal, sailing in her first race ever. Their lovely American owners, Bill and Shannon obviously get the Bucket vibe, by inviting along with their top-level professional crew, a slew of old-time yacht racing captain pros, including her build project manager Allan Pryor, Herb Kiendl, Ben Menem, Gary Weisman, Robbie Cook, and YCO’s Neil Cheston. Can’t forget the equally experienced ladies, Christy Pryor, Patty Kiendl, Beverly Wellington, and Helen Bate, who served up delicious nibbles to the hungry crowd all day long. Ethereal is a yacht which practices what she preaches, with the very clever, and sure to be often imitated custom of offering each guest a reusable water bottle, each neatly printed with individual names, efficiently by-passing one of yachting’s worst excesses – bottled water! Crew boss Bruce Preston said it right “I think this boat epitomizes what Bucket racing is all about, lovely old fellows from Admirals Cups and other professional races, enjoying being together on the water!”  

Our day started off with the sighting of several whale spouts, not an unknown here during migration season, but always a reason for rejoicing. Ethereal was rated in second place for the class les Grande Dames de la Mer, and the race went off without a hitch, as it seemed to for most of the fleet. An extremely fortunate position, as whether we were passing them, or they were passing us, we managed to see most of our peers, including the always awe-inspiring Ranger, striking Mirabella V, and traditional beauty Gaia. Unfortunately, those in Les Gazelles class were largely gone with the wind. Maybe today’s “Wiggly Course” will offer a chance to see the rest of the fleet in action.

In proper Bucket groove, the winners of the three classes were all yachts new to Bucket racing. With Axia nipping at her heels, Hood-designed William Tai took first in Les Grande Dames, Marama scored in Les Gazelles, while Marie took line honors in les Elegantes des Mers. (See full race results here at www.bucketregattas.com.) Polishing off the festivities was an impressive air show of antique WWII era fighter planes which buzzed the fleet and awed the crowd with their acrobatics, a pleasure we’ll be repeating each day. Many thanks to the owner of Marie for bringing them all the way from Houston for our sincere enjoyment.

“So beautiful to see the other boats from the water” exclaimed an elated Bill Joy on Ethereal – “and some of them up close and personal.” Obviously, he gets it, and who wouldn’t, for Bucket racing is an experience easily enjoyed by one and all.

Our blogger Norma Trease takes time from her day-job as Director of Sales and Marketing for Salamanca Marine to join us in fun and games, not to mention some serious networking, as she has for many years.

Back to top of page

March 25 2011 0900

Off to the Races!
By Norma Trease

Bucket Racing brings together an international brotherhood of sailors and yacht enthusiasts from all over the world.

Excitement on the docks and in the scenic Gustavia Harbour is palpable, on Day One of the 25th year of Bucket racing – which is also the 15th edition of the St Barths Bucket.

It’s obvious, looking out at this amazing, enormous, fleet of yachts that we are all participating in something truly phenomenal. But what distinguishes the Buckets from all other races is the intense feeling of belonging, a comradery that is based in the sheer joy of being so privileged to sail in possibly the most significant fleet afloat.

The players come from all over the world, and include the owners, the skippers and crew, yachts builders, designers, and suppliers of everything from rigging to uniforms or insurance, representing every sailing nation. All are bound together by ties of mutually beneficial business – for make no mistake – although Bucket racing is such a blast, it represents enormous investments. Quite obviously it all begins with the yachts themselves, valued in the mega-millions each, but also each and every participant invests time, talent - and especially in the case of the crewmembers - their entire lives are bound to their careers. And the yachts themselves make enormous investment, for bringing in a gaggle of professionals sailors, and entertaining them in appropriate style, including endless crew dinners ashore, and hosting parties, parties, parties adds up to stagerring sums. But of course, it’s still all about business. To call this a “networking: opportunity barely expresses the incredible value of having such a rich pool of potential clients and colleagues gathered together, with one goal – racing as well as possible, and to enjoy it just as much.

Last night Skippers Meeting was attended by a large crowd of captains and owners, eager to carefully understand the myriad of racing rules which govern this wildly diverse fleet. The opening party on the Quai was attended by hundreds – many of whom only ever see each other at events such as these. The Owners soiree at the elegant Carl Gustof Hotel was enjoyed thoroughly by another large group. They are all already pumping up their competitive juices.

Many yachts have participated in Buckets throughout the years, but naturally they can’t all come each and every time. Some yachts have been so identified with Bucket racing but can’t be with us for one reason or another deserve a shout-out including: Avalon, owned by the family of dearly departed, much mourned Bucket founder Tom Taylor; Whisper, who always “win the party”, family-friendly Perseus, Independence, Gitana and many many others.

So, racing fans – it’s Off to the Races, and hopefully – the wind will pick up a little, for early this morning of St Barths Bucket racing Day One, it’s looking like a hot, slow race today.

Our blogger Norma Trease takes time from her day-job as Director of Sales and Marketing for Salamanca Marine to join us in fun and games, not to mention some serious networking, as she has for many years.

Back to top of page

Serious Fun: Staying Safe at the St Barths Bucket
By Norma Trease

The logistics of sailing 40 yachts, totaling over 2800 linear meters of yacht around a complicated race course over three days of racing are very serious business.

As we all know, Bucket racing is all about fun, winning the party and all that jazz. But making it look so effortless is a big job. Some number crunching came up with the incredible statistic that the average size of yacht sailing in the 2011 St Barths Bucket is a staggering 64 meters. It wasn’t all that long ago that 64 feet would have been considered a pretty big sailing yacht. Added together, the fleet represent almost three kilometers of breathtaking beauty afloat. During three days of racing, these 40 behemoths will race around the island twice, both clockwise and counter-clockwise, in addition to tackling the famous “Wiggly Course.” Adding to the complications, there are three different classes of yachts, which are divided up according to their relative performance characteristics. But whether your yacht is a Gazelle, a Grande Dame or an Elegantes de la Mer, it is always thrilling to sail in close formation with your peers. Just not too close, because with Bucket racing, safety is the name of the game!

46m sailing yacht Christopher heads out for a day of race training on the eve of the St Barths Bucket 2011. Photo courtesy Norma Trease.

The bragging rights of winning a Bucket are coveted prizes indeed, and needless to say, despite the friendly nature of this regatta, this is a fiercely competitive crowd. Most yachts beef up their permanent crew with a handful of racing professionals who normally sail in circuits such as the America’s Cup or Maxis. The performance of each yacht, and therefore that of the designers and builders are scrutinized and evaluated constantly, so naturally the yachts all want to stretch their capabilities as much as possible. There are some helmsmen who are infamous for sailing just a little too close for comfort - which while exciting - can be downright scary with yachts of this magnitude. The racing style is pursuit racing, which means that the starts are staggered according to ratings, and if the ratings and conditions are just right, theoretically, the yachts will all cross the finish line together, which can also be just a little intimidating.

Bucket Regattas have always emphasized safety, and enjoy an enviable record and history of safe racing over the last twenty-five years. As you can imagine, handicapping a fleet this large, and of such incredible variety is not a job for amateurs. Bucket ratings is a science, painstakingly developed over the course of several years by racing ratings guru Jim Teeters. Jim’s Bucket rating program is so sophisticated that several other races have adopted the same system, including Palma’s Superyacht Cup. It is no coincidence that new Bucket Event Director Peter Craig is also the Race Chairman, and with the strong credentials of several America’s Cup and other races behind him, he adds still more gravitas to the Bucket Regatta protocols.

No one is more concerned about safety than yacht owners and industry players, and they gathered two days ahead of the St. Barths Bucket to discuss the formation of the Super Yacht Racing Association (SYRA.) An initiative which bega last November in London, SYRA will represent yacht owners, designers, builders, event organizers, and industry players who operate in the “superyacht” arena (which they define as yachts 33m+.) The mission of SYRA is “to enhance the enjoyment of superyacht owners by taking all available steps to ensure safe racing and encourage fair competition.” With such a powerful membership base, this organization will undoubtedly exert a strong and positive influence on large yacht racing worldwide.

It is obvious that racing yachts of this magnitude is a big learning curve for everyone involved. Owner of Dubois-designed, Alloy-built Salperton, Barry Houghton, said during the SYRA meeting that “in one week of regatta racing, you learn more about your boat than in a year of cruising.” So today, on the eve of the St Barths Bucket, most of the yachts are out learning their lessons, training up their crew, tweaking their gear and sharpening their tactics. Tonight, we’ll gather on the Capitanerie Quay for the Skippers Meeting, where safe sailing and the Bucket rating rule will be discussed. Then we will move on to the Opening Party, which brings together the several hundred Bucket revelers who will probably spend at least of little of their time debating the ratings – and anticipating the thrill of heading off to the races tomorrow, confident that they will come back to port safe and sound.

Bucket blogger Norma Trease has been part of Team Bucket for many years, and has participated in over 25 Bucket Regattas. When not writing about her favourite subject, Norma is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Salamanca Marine.

Back to top of page

2012 Dates: March 22 - 25

Joie de Vivre
25th Anniversary Bucket Regatta arrives on Saint Barths
By Norma Trease

Celebrating 25 years of bringing the joy of sailing to yacht racing from Nantucket to Newport and of course, St Barths, Bucket Regattas are the highlight of the annual racing calendar.

The story has been told so often, it’s now a legend, how on a foggy Nantucket night twenty-five years ago, fueled by Dark n’ Stormys, owners Nelson Doubleday of Mandalay, and Tom Taylor of Gleam, dreamed and schemed of sailing their big sail boats against each other – for a little bit of glory, and a whole lot of fun. Together with a small group of several other like-minded “superyacht” owners what they created that night has become the most celebrated large yacht regatta trophies worldwide. The list of yachts who regularly participate in Buckets represent every leading sailing yacht builder, showcasing the talents of naval architects, designers – and racing crew from all over the world. The glory of winning a Bucket is indeed a coveted prize, but the “joie de vivre” which typifies each and every Bucket is something which is shared by one and all. Founder Nelson Doubleday cleanly summed up the magic of the Buckets simply saying “participating is winning.” Truer words were never spoken.

Today is racing day minus two, and the excitement is building already. With every ferry coming into the dock, every airplane arriving on the tarmac, and every yacht docking in Gustavia Harbour bringing in more excited racing enthusiasts, all are anticipating seeing old friends and building up to another round of gentle competition. This years’ fleet is the largest yet, with 40 yachts taking to courses for three days of racing. Just reading the name of the yachts designers represented is like reciting a who’s who of the yacht world.

The fleet is divided into three categories: Les Elegantes des Mers, Les Grandes Dames des Mers, and Les Gazelles des Mers, making the racing at once more equally competitive, and safer too. Buckets attract the crème de la crème of yacht builders from every sailing nation, with several builders boasting multiple entries, including no less than six Royal Huismans, six Perini Navis and all the way from New Zealand, four Alloy Yachts. The “Big Five” sailing yacht builders (Perini Navi, Royal Husiman, Holland Yachtbouw, Alloy Yachts and Vitters) have for many years financially supported the Bucket Regattas, choosing to help maintain as non-commercial an atmosphere as possible, still another significant hallmark of Bucket races.

photo courtesy Kate Drenckhahn

Organizing and running a race program of this magnitude requires a lot of work year-round. Led by the three of the original Buckets captains are Directors, Hank Halsted, Tim Laughridge, and Ian Craddock, aided by a loyal group of hard-working volunteers and administrators both on-island and in Newport RI. This year, the Bucket took another leap forward by appointing the widely experienced racing professional Peter Craig and his team as Event Director and Race Chairman. The logistics involved are massive, and Peter’s experience in superyacht racing, including involvement in such events the Perini Navi Cup bring the Buckets to a whole new level of professionalism. Peter too, is excited to have joined the Bucket organization, stating “I’m thrilled to be a part of such an incredibly special event. What Hank, Timmy and Ian have created is more than just a competition, it’s an experience which is so incredible for all to share.”

Bucket racing is amazing no matter whether it is held on Nantucket, Newport or here on St. Barths. Now in it’s 15th year on this favourite French paradise, the St Barths Bucket has a charm and cachet all of it’s own. The Buckets are of course enormously important to the island’s economy, yet again, bring a certain “je ne sait quoi” even to this glamorous island mecca. Soft spoken Director of the Port, Ernest Brin has been a fixture in the Capitainerie for literally decades, and is yet another valuable partner to the Bucket, having been in charge of fleet safety for many years. He too recognizes the very special character of Bucket racing, and explains a bit of its appeal to St Barths. “First of all, speaking for the island of St Barths, we have to say that economically speaking, it is enormous. But what makes this event so unique, is that it is tied to the sea. It gives all of us the chance to meet the captains, owners, naval architects – all the big names are here – but we are all on the same level – which is very friendly. Everyone on St Barths looks forward to welcoming the Bucket family to our island every year.

The yachts are heading out on the water, to work on team tactics, and practicing their racing strategies, but everyone will gather this evening for the first of what will be many wonderful moments of Bucket celebration throughout a long, fun-filled racing weekend. Long-time event Director Hank Halsted has devoted most of his career to carefully shepherding his beloved Buckets to the fantastic success they enjoy today, and sums it up nicely. “The popularity and exponential growth of the Buckets are in direct consequence of a full focus on celebrating these beautiful yachts – not just winning races.” Bravo, Hank!

Bon Courage and Bonne Chance to all of the yachts, crew, volunteers and organizers of the 25th Anniversary Buckets series. Please check in with us daily for more discussions of the social events, the joy of big boat racing and the incredible magic that is the St Barths Bucket 2011.

Our blogger Norma Trease has been part of Team Bucket for many years, and has participated in over 25 Bucket Regattas. When not writing about her favourite subject, Norma is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Salamanca Marine.

Back to top of page