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  Photograph of St BArths harbor at night, with yachts docked
 

2014 St Barths Bucket Regatta: Recaps

 

Photo of a crowd celebrating at a party1 April 2014

As the Winch Turns:
au revoir

A brand-new outdoor venue for Sunday's traditional Bucket awards celebration proved to be a super-sized crowd pleaser, with 1000 or more bucketeers enjoying plenty of elbow room and stage-show fun—both planned and unplanned— at the Hôtel de la Collectivité, located on the western bank of Gustavia Harbor. With a cool breeze blowing and cold drinks flowing, a giant screen showed on-water action from the long weekend of racing, and a podium platform built specially for the occasion became — for a few hours, anyway — the center of the superyacht sailing universe.

Since it takes a village to put on an event like the Bucket, a formal thank you was extended on behalf of the organizers and competitors to all the people of St. Barths. President of the Collectivité of St. Barths Bruno Magras and Vice President Michel Magras graciously accepted them on behalf of their community, Photo of a yacht crew celebrating and award.while children from St. Joseph's School thankfully accepted a check representing funds that had been earmarked from Bucket registration fees (as they are every year) for a worthy local charitable cause.

The most energetic part of the program had to be the presentations of seven special awards as well as series trophies for four classes and the overall Bucket Award, each accompanied by amped up tunes from the DJ that inspired raucous hooting and hollering from the audience and spontaneous dancing and other silly antics by the owners and crews taking the stage. "It was like rock stars were being introduced every time a new award was announced," said The Yacht Insider's Guide editor Anne Vandromme-Hood, "and the crowd would go crazy. I have been coming for many years, and I have never seen it as spirited as this."

Photo of the crew of the yacht MarieIt came as no surprise (but you couldn't tell by the reaction of the crowd) that this year's new Golden Pineapple Award, recognizing the yacht and crew showing the most outstanding hospitality during Friday night's yacht hop, went to Seahawk, which had a queue to get "in" as long as a New York City nightclub's that evening. Parsifal III's black t-shirts, which shouted in pink neon letters a choice catch-phrase that needs censorship here, undoubtedly contributed to its winning of the Skullduggery Cravat for fun yet non-adult behavior. Each of the "big five" sponsors of the Bucket also sponsored special awards… Axia received Holland Jachtbouw's All Star Crew Award, which was decided by a vote from the sailors' peers; Blue Too won the Alloy Yachts Trophy, while Saudade took home Royal Huisman's Wolter Huisman Memorial Award; Genevieve was recognized by Vitters for the Shipyard Seamanship Trophy; and Seahawk returned to the stage to accept the Perini Navi Cup.

The crew of the regatta's overall winner, Marie, had the best time on stage (perhaps), with the female members of the crew sporting Carmen Miranda-style headdresses and fully embracing their hip-shaking "chica chica boom chic" inner selves. (Okay, if that went right over your head, take a quick peek here: https://www.youtube.com)

And with that, au revoir, on a high note from your beloved St. Barth's Bucket Regatta.

Barby MacGowan
Media Pro International’s Barby MacGowan is reporting daily from St. Barths. Follow her releases under news and updates and her blog under Recaps.


2014 St Barths Bucket Filmed by a Drone on Vimeo.


29 March 2014

Day 3: As the Winch Turns

photograph of the Bucket Regatta trophyIt has a few dings in it, and it doesn't polish up so well, but "The Bucket" (not the regatta, but the trophy that is its namesake) is awarded to the overall winner here after three days of racing and is as prized as the America's Cup in superyacht sailing circles. No fewer than 20 yachts have a shot at a podium finish going into today's final race, and it should be noted that the four class winners will receive a Chelsea Ship's Bell Clock engraved with the Bucket logo, which is a pineapple, symbol of hospitality, sitting in what else but The slightly tired but stately Bucket. The handcrafted clocks are fittingly exotic and intricately detailed, just like the massive super structures gracing the waters here off St. Barths. They have a hand-silvered dial behind which are 364 precision brass parts (many plated with gold) and an 11-jewel movement, so who needs another silver serving plate when a clock and a magnum of Taittinger Champagne will do just fine, thank you.

Photo of Jimmy Buffet singingAnd for those who don't win the top prizes, there is always the claiming of other prestigious awards: the Golden Pineapple for "Win the Party" hospitality; Skulduggery for non-adult behavior; Huisman Spirit of the Bucket for sportsmanship, safe seamanship, best hospitality and overall contribution to the event; Vitters Seamanship for best seamanship and sportsmanship in the interest of promoting safety on the race course; HJB All Star Crew (aka "cool crew") for peer-voted crew that displays the pinnacle of the profession and has the most fun at it. The Alloy Yachts Trophy and the Perini Navi Cup will also be awarded on Sunday.

Photo of people enjoying a performanceTurns out Jimmy Buffett's gig at The Baz Bar on Friday was just a rehearsal for his surprise appearance at the Bucket Bash last night. Dressed in jeans, t-shirt and a straw hat, he took to the stage and struck some crowd-pleasing chords with a back-up band provided by French headliner Soley who, wearing a white suit with matching fedora to tame his blonde dreadlocks, carried the music torch well into the night after Buffett left, blending his flamenco-reggae-salsa sound to keep Buckateers moving to the beat.

Photo of sails being repaired.While the party raged, some good souls at The Bucket had to work hard through the night fixing things that failed or broke during yesterday's battering breeze. A reported nine spinnakers had to be repaired, and the temporary North Sails loft set up in conjunction with West Indies Sails opposite headquarters on the far side of the Quay was, let's say, buzzing with busy-ness. Rumor has it Meteor will be sailing without a spinnaker at all today, since her torn sail couldn't make it out of the hospital.

More good deeds: Each year the Bucket Regatta designates a portion of entry fees for donation to a meaningful non-profit on St. Barths, and this year the St. Joseph School is the official charity. One of the oldest education institutions on the island, the Catholic school will use a donation of 20,000 euros to support some badly needed renovations to the school grounds, allowing children to continue to learn and grow in a healthy environment.

Barby MacGowan
Media Pro International’s Barby MacGowan is reporting daily from St. Barths. Follow her releases under news and updates and her blog under Recaps.


28 March 2014

Day 2: As the Winch Turns

Photographs of St Barths Bucket entertainmentWinning the party has been priority at The Bucket since day one, and the traditional yacht open house (aka yacht hop), held last night, was one darn good opportunity for teams to show what they're made of. Axia got started early with "007"-themed shenanigans, changing into tuxes and glittering dresses straight after racing and arriving at the docks to the blare of cannon fire and loud theme music. And they were escorted by a Bond-style amphibious tender, of course! The bar was raised this year by the announcement of a new Golden Pineapple Award for "best of show," accompanied by an evening of wining and dining at Hotel Saint-Barth Iles De France for the owner and seven of his select guests. No one knows yet the winner, but James Bond has some competition in the form of some sailor-suited pole dancers aboard Seahawk, a reggae band aboard Silencio, and a full-on disco on Parsifal III.

The party continued at The Baz Bar, where Jimmy Buffett got the tiny place rocking. With no room on the dance floor, the tables in the joint did just fine as a dancing platform.

More good deeds. After Friday's racing, the Bucket hosted a presentation by the Environmental Agency of St. Barths and the NGO Megaptera, to educate the community on a concurrent scientific project, tagging and tracking whale migrations. The mission, in a nutshell, is to place Argos satellite tags on humpback whales and take skin and blubber samples from humpbacks and sperm whales. Good stuff for superyacht sailors to know, of course, since whales are special to them. There have been several sightings here during the bucket, and the captain of the 75 meter (246 ft.) Motor Yacht Leander, which is serving as the VIP boat here, reportedly went swimming with a pod of them just two days ago.

Barby MacGowan
Media Pro International’s Barby MacGowan is reporting daily from St. Barths. Follow her releases under news and updates and her blog under Recaps.


27 March 2014

Day 1: As the Winch Turns

Photo of youngsters at St Barths Bucket regatta.Lots of sharing was going on at the Quay today, with teams banding together to prepare their yachts for tomorrow's opening day and Bucket volunteers signing in competitors, answering questions and directing the general goings on of pre-event preparation. Winds in the "upper-range" and a big swell from the north are expected for tomorrow's first day of racing, and that meant lots of conjecture among participants on the dock before most took to the water for their second, if not third, day of practice. The main question on everyone's mind: will the gusty conditions be a burden or a blast? That is to be seen, but until then—as they say in show biz, and at major sailing regattas where the talent runs deep and unfazed by challenge— the show must go on.

Yesterday, in another act of sharing, crews of the yachts Axia and Silencio gave tours of their impressive accommodations to 15 junior Opti sailors from the St Barth's Yacht Club. According to the kids' coach Jean Paul Berry, at least a few of the 10-12 year old tykes are contemplating making the step up – well, at least some day—to superyacht sailing. The Bucket has long been partnered with St Barth's Yacht Club to run the races here, and it was in the vein of "paying it forward" that the tours came about. Lots of ooohs and aahhhs emanated from the mouths of these babes, and Captain "Biff" of Silencio could relate, as he, too was once a dinghy sailor, having started sailing at the pint-sized age of 6. At the end of the tours, it was time to stow Silencio's flag, so a few of the kids obligingly became deck hands.

Tomorrow, fans who don't venture out on the water (it just might be the right day to be a proud armchair sailor) can follow the racing live on the website through the TracTrac viewer. For those brave enough to venture on to the high seas, there will be a separate VHF Channel for commentary. Michael Nethersole, the "Voice of the Bucket," will be providing his unique and insightful on-water observations on VHF Channel 77, which will be used exclusively for this purpose.

Barby MacGowan
Media Pro International’s Barby MacGowan is reporting daily from St. Barths. Follow her releases under news and updates and her blog under Recaps.