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St Barths
27 – 30 March 2014

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16 – 19 March 2017

 

 

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  Photograph of St BArths harbor at night, with yachts docked
 

St Barths Bucket: 2014 News & Updates

 
 

4 April 2014

Photograph of St Barths harbor in twilightLoving the Bucket

A low bellowing of horns sounded in Gustavia Harbor on Sunday afternoon (March 29) when sailing vessels the size of some airline jets returned to their Med-style berths after a thrilling day of racing. It signaled the end of the 2014 St. Barth's Bucket Regatta, which had begun on Friday, and the beginning of a final round of shore-side celebrations toasting jobs well done by both organizers and competing teams.

Brisk winds and a heavy sea state prevailed throughout the annual regatta's three days of racing, which was held on 20-25 nautical mile courses, taking teams counter-clockwise around the island of St. Barths on day one, on a "Not So Wiggley" course around smaller islands to the north on day two, and then back to day one's course, but reversed, on day three. The conditions meant imported race crews had to work extra hard, and quickly, to learn the giant machines they were helping to handle in coordination with permanent professional superyacht crews already aboard.

"The finishes were extra close, and class wins were decided by just minutes, if not seconds, on the last day," said Event Director and Race Chairman Peter Craig, explaining that individual yacht ratings based on the International Superyacht Rule had been "working well" to ensure fair, safe sailing at this alternative, pursuit-style event that some further described as "excitingly eccentric."

Eccentric because, if tied up end-to-end, the 38 superyachts that raced this year (Hetairos was the largest at 66.7m/216ft.) would stretch over one and a half kilometers in length.

Photograph of St Barths Bucket Regatta racing"Every bit of scale that you have known and lived with as a boater is thrown in your face," said Jonathan Russo, a talent agent from New York who was invited to sail aboard Royal Huisman's 57m/187ft. Twizzle. "You are forced to confront and accept that some people have constructed boats that threaten your brain's cognitive understanding of yachting. It is as if you had a hamster as a pet and these guys have a T-Rex as one."

More impressive than sheer size, however, was that each of the superyachts cost in the tens of millions of euros to build and more often than not included game-changing technological advancements, unthinkably luxurious embellishments above decks and below, and in more than a few cases priceless personal collections and works of art thrown in for good décor measure.

The pursuit format meant each yacht started at its own designated time to theoretically contribute visually to a spectacle at the finish line when they converged with others in their class. Turns out, tight quarters around marks created spectacles, as well, and that's where a very important Superyacht racing rule really kicks in. It demands that the contenders keep their distance from each other (40 meters, to be exact, in all directions at any given time) and safety officers have final word and authority to overrule anyone else in their afterguard.

photograph of St Barths Bucket Regatta racing"The safety officers make certain the teams are not pushing bad positions and that competitive advantage takes a back seat to safety," said Craig. "That's paramount with these yachts and for this to continue, but having said that, it didn't sacrifice the competitiveness of the sailing."

Some of sailboat racing's biggest names came to enhance the performances of teams that were typically patched together from the superyachts' regular crew members who were used to cruising, not necessarily racing; owners' friends and families; and all levels of marine industry types, including leaders of the "Big Five" Bucket sponsors, who happen to all be Superyacht builders: Alloy Yachts, Holland Jachtbouw, Perini Navi, Royal Huisman and Vitters Shipyard. (A total of eight "new builds" graced the fleet this year, including two each from the latter three listed here.)

Bouwe Bekking, the Dutchman who will skipper a new Volvo campaign launched by Brunel in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, brought along four of his fellow countrymen and Volvo teammates to sail the 34m/111.5ft. Nilaya to victory in the Gazelles class (there were also classes for Grande Dames, Mademoiselles and Elegantes). Bekking has been racing ten years with the owner and 15 years with many of Nilaya's crew; however, this is only Bekking's second Bucket.

"The racing is completely different," he said. "It's wonderful because you see so many friends and other beautiful yachts on the water, but of course you still try to do well. You always want to look back and say you did your best job or 'what can we do better?,' but the priorities here are (in this order) to sail safely, have fun and then do a good job on the water."

Harold Cudmore, the internationally famous Irishman known for, as he says jokingly, "surviving match racing and America's Cup racing back in the '70s, '80s and 90s," has been on the Bucket circuit eight years as tactician aboard Royal Huisman's 47m/154 ft.) Hyperion.

Photograph of Jimmy Buffett singing"The young crew is who hauls things around, but these teams need people in the afterguard to keep them safe, so those people tend to be older and very experienced, with lots of sailing miles," said Cudmore. "Because we know each other, we look after each other. It's different from when you race a little boat and you tend to push it and there can be crashes. You simply can't crash a Superyacht, so behind all the fun and frivolity there is a seriousness."

Nevertheless, "Who Wins the Party?" has become a catch phrase for the event, which allows "Bucketeers" to continue marching to the Bucket beat each evening, well after the sails are put away. This year they participated in Friday's positively head-spinning "yacht hop," which became a contest of who could outdo whom with onboard theme parties; Saturday's "Bucket Bash," where part-time St. Barth resident Jimmy Buffet took the Harbor Stage to jam with the band; and Sunday's glamorously giddy awards presentation at a refreshing new venue (Hôtel de la Collectivité) with plenty of outdoor space for further fun making.

Just like the superyachts here, the 2014 St. Barths Bucket managed to exude, with style, an other-worldliness all its own.

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.


Photograph of the yacht Seahawk racing at 2014 St Barths Bucket Regatta30 March 2014

A Nailbiter Finish

Finishes at The Bucket were extra close today and decided some class wins by mere seconds. The third and final day of racing of the three-day series presented winds that again enabled a quick pace around the race course, this time in a "wrong way" (clockwise direction) around the island that measured 24.5 nautical miles for the Gazelle and Elegante classes and 21 for the Grande Dames and Mademoiselles.

Perhaps most dramatically, the Perini Navi Clan VIII finished a mere five seconds ahead of Seahawk in Grande Dames class, preventing another Perini Navi Seahawk from snatching victory overall and allowing Altair to slip in and take the top spot on the scoreboard. "If it had been the other way around and we had finished ahead of Clan VIII by five seconds, we would've won the class," said Seahawk's captain Robert "Johnno" Jonstone, who called it a roller coaster day, "so exciting, but so draining."

Right at the start, his team's giant spinnaker, with over 1000 square metres of sail cloth, filled before it got to the lock at the top of the mast, and the halyard broke. "We crossed the line dragging it in the water," said Jonstone, "but we pulled it out and wooled it up; then while sailing on the backside of the island, we sent someone up the rig to sort things and change the lock over — it was an amazing effort." The Seahawk team then mustered the confidence to hoist the spinnaker again on the relatively short downwind stretch to the finish line, but bad luck was still riding with them. "We had 500 metres to go to the finish, and when the halyard went up it wouldn't jam in the lock."

Photograph of the ycht Clan III racingClan VIII and Seahawk crossed the finish line in third and fourth, with the Perini Navi Silencio and Altair taking first and second, respectively. In final cumulative scoring, Altair was one point ahead of Seahawk, with Silencio falling into third and Clan VIII finishing sixth.

The Vitters-built Marie also had a tantalizingly close finish with Royal Huisman's Unfurled and Varsovie to win the Elegantes class and, in addition, overall honors, based on turning in the best cumulative score (6 points on the merit of a 1-3-2 scoreline) from among all classes.

"We had to win today, or if Varsovie won (which she did), we had to at least beat Unfurled," said Peter Wilson, who managed Marie's build and served as her safety officer here. Marie finished second to Varsovie, and Unfurled finish third, close enough to Marie that when Wilson was asked how far she was behind, he laughed and said, "40.1 meters!" It is 40 meters that must be left between these superyachts at all times while racing in order to insure that no collisions occur, and it is because of this international superyacht rule that safety officers have great say in all decisions made by their afterguards.

Photograph of the yacht Marie racing at St Barths Bucket RegattaWilson said decisions had to be made quickly, especially on the backside of the island where the wind got very shifty. "We got in the traffic of the Perinis and that was an enormous part of our strategic plan for what happened next," said Wilson, explaining that his team helped force Unfurled into the bad air of the Perini Navi Parsifal III, which caused Unfurled to have to jibe away and lose precious time.

Nilaya finished fourth today in the Gazelles class, and that performance, combined with two second-place finishes from Friday's and Saturday's racing, was strong enough to give her class victory. The largest yacht here at 66.7m/216', Hetairos, won today's race, with Visione taking second, landing the latter yacht in runner-up position overall.

For Mademoiselles, it was Bequia that made the power play to knock Moonbird from her first-place perch secured yesterday. Again, it was down to the wire at the finish, with the Alloy Yacht Blue Too, Bequia, Moonbird and Sarafin, in that order, finishing within five minutes of each other.

"The take-away is that I don't know if there has ever been a better-weather Bucket than this," said Event Director and Race Chairman Peter Craig. "It was 15-20 knots, moderate-to-upper-end for three days, which was challenging for sailors and fabulous for spectators. Sailing to the superyacht rule can be a burden to get used to, but the level to which everyone sailed… you'd think you were at a conventional regatta."

Photograph of yachts racing at 2014 St Barths 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.


29 March 2014

Nothing "La-Dee-Dah" About This

Photograph of a yacht racing in St BarthsThis morning, dockside at The Bucket, it sounded rather funny for sailors to be talking about a "Not So Wiggley Course" with such reverence, but when the day was done and a second of three races had entered the 2014 regatta history books, it was quite clear why.

Mademoiselle, Elegante and Gazelle classes took on the long version (27.1 nm) of the course, which started on the west side of St. Barths and wound its way around smaller islands and rocks to the north, while the Grande Dames sailed the shorter version (22 nm) in winds that were a few knots less than yesterday's yet just as feisty. The "not so" in the course description was obviously tongue-in-cheek, as the 38 superyachts — ranging in size from 27.5m/88' to 66.7m/216' — zigged and zagged more than the usual number of times while crews executed numerous sail changes as well as spinnaker hoists and takedowns, alternately winding their charges up to gain advantage, then dialing them down to safely share close quarters at rounding marks with their magnificently sized competitors.

Leading in Elegantes class after finishing third today and combining that with a first from yesterday is the 54 m/180' Vitters Ketch Marie, whose tactician Tony Rey, in describing his day, was beaming like a little kid who had just gotten away with something bigger than he expected.

"Anybody who says superyacht racing is champagne and cocktails and taking it easy hasn't been to The Bucket," he said. "It's an absolutely spectacular exercise in teamwork to get these things around the track."

Rey said he was pleased with Marie's start and the first third of the leg but then encountered the classic situation of gaining so much that suddenly the team was in the mix with way more boats than he was comfortable with. "It was just mildly terrifying, which is a typical feeling in the afterguards at Bucket Regattas," said Rey, who counts this as his fifth Bucket Regatta aboard Marie. "This means we're having a good day."

Marie's crew had a few missteps with its maneuvers (including "breaking a spinnaker and putting it in the water"), but others in the class did, as well, and six boats were abreast coming around Roche Table.

"It was absolutely spectacular; there were 40 meters on each side," Rey said, alluding to the International Superyacht Rule that requires boats to leave 40 meters in all directions between themselves and their competitors. "I didn't need sun screen because there was shade from all the sails."

Seahawk, in Grande Dames class, hit the rocks off Roche Table but was able to clear itself and sail to fifth, nevertheless, claiming the top spot on the leaderboard for a second day.

Photograph of the crew of the yacht NilayaWhen Clan VIII briefly lost its steering at the same spot, it infringed on the rights of Zenji, causing Zenji to miss a turning mark, but, as is the case in most such Bucket instances, the Clan crew gracefully accepted its penalty and no doubt plans to supply some drinks to the Zenji crew at the Bucket Bash later this evening.

"This was the kind of day that taxes bow and mast teams first because of the physical hoists and drops," said Jonathan Kline, the safety officer aboard Clan VIII, "then safety officers and tacticians second because of the close quarters of the 'wiggly' course, with the fleets converging and crossing."

Cape Arrow won the Gazelle class today with less than six minutes separating her from second-place finisher Nilaya, but the two are inverted on the overall scoreboard for Nilaya's advantage going into tomorrow's final race.

Moonbird has the most consistent finishes (2-2) in Mademoiselle class to lead overall, with Bequia having fallen to second from first yesterday.

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

Raring to Go: After all, a Good show

Tied up Med style at the docks in Gustavia Harbor this morning, 17 of 38 Bucket superyachts lurched and listed in the northern swell, straining their aft dock lines and looking not unlike wild horses wanting to be freed from their restraints. It took well more than an hour for the lot to leave, one by one and in planned order but only after divers had cleared their bow anchors, allowing them to join the balance of the fleet (freed from moorings in the outer harbor) on the Caribbean Sea for a 20-some-odd-mile race around the island of St. Barths.

Photograph of a yacht racingYesterday's forecast of heavy winds, which could have possibly posed a threat to racing, thankfully did not come to fruition, and a more accommodating 20-knot breeze allowed the four classes (Gazelles, Elegantes, Mademoiselles and Grandes Dames) to strut their extraordinarily beautiful stuff in front of a large spectator fleet and curious eyes that peered from various vantage points along the shore and on the cliffs and peaks of the island's mere 21 sq. kilometers (8 sq. miles) of volcanic land.

"Everyone was a little nervous, but it ended up being a really nice day," said John Barrett, navigator aboard the 27.5m/90' yawl Bequia, which won the Mademoiselle class and was the very first yacht to cross the line after approximately two and ½ hours of racing, with the 37m/122' Moonbird tantalizingly close behind. "With pursuit racing that's how it should be," said Barrett, estimating a 10 second delta between the two yachts. "It means they got the ratings (based on the international superyacht rule) right."

Barrett described seeing the Grandes Dames, in the class starting before his, taking long tacks upwind to Roches Rouges before cracking off to Les Grenadiers and subsequent way points of Ile Toc Vers and Ile Fourchue (located between St. Barths and St. Martin), while Bequia chose to short-tack closer to shore to minimize the effects of a lumpy sea state. After the rounding of Ile Fourchue, it was then a "drag race" back to the finish. (The Grande Dames sailed an additional 3.5nm on a course that took them around Roche Table, Groupers and Petite Groupers before heading back.) "It was especially challenging near Shell Beach where the wind coming across the island got patchy. One minute we were standing up straight and another minute we were on our ear."

Seahawk, Marie and Visione won the Grande Dames, Elegantes and Gazelles classes, respectively.

"We are 550 tons, which is pretty heavy," said David Powys, the Australian tactician aboard the newly launched Seahawk, adding that gusts of 25-26 knots were quite handy for moving the boat along. "To be honest, today was our day (as opposed to tomorrow, which promises to be lighter), and if we hadn't have won, we would've been disappointed. As for our rating, we couldn't have been more happy, as there were six of us who finished within a minute or two."

Powys likened the Bucket to a traditional car rally where very good friends meet, enjoy some social events and then race in ernesty yet with great reverence to the spirit of tradition. "This race gets more and more competitive each year, but we have to remember its original essence."

Organizers stress that the success of the Bucket Regattas (there is one each summer in Newport, R.I., as well) rests on an emphasis that is more upon wholesome fun and safe racing than winning. To that point, tonight, after daily awards are presented, the race will be for best of show at the much-anticipated dock party and fleet open house.

Major sponsors for the St. Barths Bucket are Alloy Yachts, Holland Jachtbouw, Perini Navi, Royal Huisman and Vitters Shipyard.

Supporting sponsors are Burgess, Camper & Nicholson, Doehle Yachts, Doyle, Future Fibres, Newport Shipyard, North Sails, Pantaenius, Pendennis, Rybovich, Skuld Yacht, the Superyacht Report, Tradewind Aviation, US Trust, and ZIS Insurance.

Taittinger Champagne and Barbeyrolles Rose are official suppliers.

For more information, and the full list of entries, visit bucketregattas.com/stbarths/

Racing continues on Saturday March 29 and for the first time; live race tracking will enhance the Bucket experience for friends, families and fans of the Bucket. Access that link at bucketregattas.com/stbarths/dailyupdate.html

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

Two Words: THE BUCKET
An Extraordinary Celebration of Superyachts Under Sail

No two words in the superyacht racing world evoke more awe and power than THE BUCKET, the colloquial abbreviation for St. Barth's Bucket, which begins Friday and continues through Sunday on the tiny French Island of St. Barths. The words are most familiar to those in the business of designing, building, owning and sailing the world's most extraordinary yachts, and it is they who come in droves each year to participate in the famously fabulous four-day pursuit regatta.

This year, a staggering 38 entries have signed up, from the smallest at 27 meters/88 feet (both the Oyster Yacht Lush, designed by Rob Humphries, and the Pendennis built Wavelength, designed by Ron Holland) to the largest at 66 meters/216.5 feet (the Baltic Hetairos, designed by Dykstra Naval Architects). Indeed, these and every yacht in the spectrum are nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Photograph of St. BarthsEight "new launches" from 2012 and 2013 are new to racing here at St. Barth's Bucket and epitomize what this event is all about: the evolution of superyacht sailing. They include Lush; two brand-new Perinis State of Grace (40m/131' Holland) and Seahawk (58m/190' Holland); two 2012 Vitters Shipyard builds Ganesha (46m/150' Dubois) and Inoui (33m/108' Briand); two 2012 launches from Royal Huisman Shipyard Pumula (38m/121' Dubois) and Kamaxitha (49m/180' Dykstra); and the Fitzroy-built Ohana (50 m/164' Dubois).

"When the St. Barth's Bucket first started in 1995, owners primarily built yachts to get around the world safely and comfortably," said Perini Sales Director Fabrizio Sgariglia, who represents the builder with the most yachts (7) represented here. "The third factor now is to build a yacht that can stop and do a regatta like The Bucket." Sgariglia explained that this means pushing the envelope on technological improvements and performance, and he added that the fun thing about the Bucket Rule is that old and new boats can still compete against each other fairly.

Tactician/navigator Dirk Johnson, who has indulged in the traditions of the St. Barth's Bucket a dozen times, is excited about sailing on one of the "original St. Barths Bucket yachts," Andromeda (46m/150' Perini), which was built in 1990. "It used to be the biggest yacht imaginable when it was launched."

It is Whitehawk (28m/91' Bruce King), however, that Hank Halsted, co-director of the event, says has as great, if not greater, of a historic significance in being here. "It was built in 1978 and won the very last Nantucket Bucket (where the St. Barth's Bucket traces its origins) held in 2001. It is good to see her here."

Major sponsors for the St. Barths Bucket are Alloy Yachts, Holland Jachtbouw, Perini Navi, Royal Huisman and Vitters Shipyard.

Supporting sponsors are Burgess, Camper & Nicholson, Doehle Yachts, Doyle, Future Fibres, Newport Shipyard, North Sails, Pantaenius, Pendennis, Rybovich, Skuld Yacht, the Superyacht Report, Tradewind Aviation, US Trust, and ZIS Insurance.

Taittinger Champagne and Barbeyrolles Rose are official suppliers.

For more information, and the full list of entries, visit bucketregattas.com/stbarths/

Racing begins on Friday March 28 and for the first time; live race tracking will enhance the Bucket experience for friends, families and fans of the Bucket. Access that link at bucketregattas.com/stbarths/dailyupdate.html

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.


Hank's Blog: 21 March 2014

Breaking News Flash!!!

The Bucket Directors are pleased to announce The Golden Pineapple Award

Since the very beginning, the Bucket Regattas have been focused on great sailing competition, seamanship, sportsmanship, a large dose of creative left-field fun and most of all, hospitality and sharing the joy of this magnificent sport among the fleet.

This year our good friends aboard Yacht AXIA; the yacht that has shown up at past events as everything from fully clad Spartans in uniform, to the complete line-up of Greek Gods including Poseidon, Thor, a thunderbolt and live goat, pirates, spreader dancing sea horses and all manner of creative fun and frolic, have raised the bar once again. This year it seems that 007 will be lurking in the shadows of Gustavia and, who knows what havoc that may wreak!! Be forewarned, AXIA is locked and loaded to put yet another full spin on the Party concept! As you will see from the attached invitations to Friday's "Yacht Hop", they're not going half-way!!

Without a doubt, the challenge is on for quite simply, the best hospitality for the St. Barths Bucket Yacht Hop on Friday, 28 March. Aboard many yachts in the past the parties have been theme based on the full spectrum of fun but the simple question to be resolved is this: Who can throw the best party?? The Bucket Directors are somewhat abashed to admit that in many years of managing this event, we've failed to reward the most essential element of the Bucket. The last line in our sailing instructions says it clearly. . . WIN THE PARTY!!!

Consider that problem solved. Since the very beginning, the Bucket Regattas have been fully focused on sharing the boundless fun of this magnificent sport, with hospitality among the fleet a core value. Hence, the Pineapple Logo, the symbol of hospitality. Therefore, this year in St. Barths, the yacht that puts forward the best "Open Boat" party spirit will be the recipient of the GOLDEN PINEAPPLE AWARD! Given the fact that we are a little short on time to grow a golden pineapple. . . Let's say that the winner of this award will be "wined and dined" with eight guests at the Bucket's expense, at the finest restaurant in St. Barthelemy. The judging in Bucket Tradition, will be ad-hoc but fair.

Do note that as usual, the Open Boat Party is limited to race participants wearing event wristbands. Invitees are absolutely at the Owner's discretion, as directed by those tending the boarding gate.


 

Hank's Blog: 5 March 2014

The entries are in for the 2014 edition of the St Barths Bucket Regatta and we have a great fleet heading to the beautiful island of St Barthélemy. Thirty eight of the world's largest sailing superyachts will gather in Gustavia for three days of great trade wind sailing, wholesome competition, shore side camaraderie and shenanigans St Barths style.

New Launches to Compete

The fleet will include a number of the latest launches from the world's premier superyacht builders.

Two recently launched Perini Navi yachts designed by Ron Holland will join the fleet: the newly designed 40m Sloop, STATE OF GRACE and a new 60m Ketch. SEAHAWK will be easily distinguished not only by her magnificent profile, but also by her crimson Aramid standing rigging by Future Fibers, supporting her towering spars.

Making their Bucket debut are competing 2012 launches from the Royal Huisman Shipyard. The classic Spirit of Tradition 38m sloop, PUMULA and the 49m Ketch KAMAXITHA are both Dykstra Naval Architects designs.

INOUI, the brilliant green 36m carbon fiber sloop by Vitters Shipyard will pace the fleet around the various courses. Also from Vitters, the 46m Sloop GANESHA will join us for her racing debut.

These six new launches will join their thirty two competitors, most of which have sailed in numerous Bucket Regattas, to comprise yet another Bucket superyacht fleet of historic proportions.

Schedule Updates

Registration will open at 0900 on 27 March, with a "Rules Review" seminar beginning concurrently. After a day of practice sailing, learning and taming the ropes (lines), the Skippers Meeting, Welcome Party and Owner's reception will follow.

After Friday's racing, at 1700 the Bucket will host 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 symposium will be followed by the Fleet Open House, a traditional highlight of all Bucket events.

Saturday night will host the annual Bucket Bash on the Quay in Gustavia. With a tropical theme, there will be dining, dancing and music by the very popular Soley into the night!

This year for the Sunday evening awards, the Government of St Barths has extended an invitation for the Awards Ceremony to be held on the grounds of the Hôtel de la Collectivité, the Government offices across the harbor from the Capitainerie. We have gratefully accepted the invitation and look forward to sharing Bucket Hospitality with the entire racing fleet and our friends in St Barths.

Racing and Awards

In the Bucket Tradition, racing will be pursuit style with the slowest rated yachts starting first and finishes determined by the order of finish. The fleet is divided into four classesLes Grandes Dames, Les Mademoiselles, Les Elegantesand Les Gazelles des Mers and we will continue the successful focus on competition within the classes. All yachts share the same starting and finishing line and sail the assigned course for their specific class. The starting times are structured, such that the classes finish at different times - in the interest of safety, the gap between class finishes will likely be approximately 10 minutes as it was last year.

Live Race Tracking is an exciting addition to the race coverage. Details on how to connect and view the races will be provided in our next update and will be posted on the web site.

Daily awards will be presented to the top finishers in each class. Handcrafted, limited edition Chelsea Clocks will be awarded to the four class winners, with second and third place in each class also receiving elegant trophies. The overall winner will be recognized as well. The yacht's name will be added to the perpetual St Barths Bucket trophy and they will receive a beautiful crystal Bucket keepsake trophy.

As usual, we will pay particular attention to the traditional Bucket discretionary awards for meritorious acts and the occasional eyebrow raising behavior that perpetuates the "je ne sais quoi" spirit of the event. These include the Wolter Huisman "Spirit of the Bucket Award", the Vitters Seamanship and Sportsmanship Trophy, the Holland Jachtbouw Cool Crew Award and the coveted Skulduggery Cravat, for the yacht or crew that demonstrates the best and most fun, 'left field non-adult behavior".

St. Barths Charity Donation

Each year, the Bucket Regatta designates a portion of the entry fees for donation to a meaningful non-profit program in St Barths. This year the St Joseph School and their grounds improvement project will be the recipient of our donation.

One of the oldest educational institutions on the island, The St Joseph School is a private Catholic institution that welcomes more than 200 students ages 3-11, from kindergarten through primary school. The school is in need of funds to improve the schoolyard/playground, where the clay coated sand is a health risk to the children and must be upgraded.

The 2014 St Barths Bucket is pleased to be able to help the St Joseph School and allow the children to continue to learn and grow in a healthy environment.

Welcome, and Thank You, New Bucket Sponsors!

We are grateful to be joined by several new supporting sponsors. They will help us to continue the Bucket tradition that celebrates the superyacht industry and recognizes the yachts and their owners as they perpetuate this marvelous sport. 

Skuld Yacht brings a major marine underwriting firm to the superyacht arena with tremendous capabilities for innovation and tailoring coverage to our owner's specific needs. 

Tradewind Aviation has also joined the Bucket fleet with generous support, while providing by far a most efficient way to get to our favorite Caribbean destination.

Thank you to all Bucket Sponsors

It is with great pleasure and thanks that we acknowledge all of our Bucket sponsors.

Major sponsors are Alloy Yachts, Holland Jachtbouw, Perini Navi, Royal Huisman and Vitters Shipyard. 

Returning supporting sponsors are Burgess, Camper & Nicholson, Doehle Yachts, Doyle, Future Fibres, Newport Shipyard, North Sails, Pantaenius, Pendennis, Rybovich, the Superyacht Report, US Trust, and ZIS Insurance.

Taittinger Champagne and Barbeyrolles Rose are official suppliers.

 
 

28 February, 2014

RACING FORMAT FOR THE 2014 ST BARTHS BUCKET

OVERVIEW
There are lessons learned at every superyacht regatta. The St Barths Bucket organizers strive to make the regatta a better experience for the yacht owners and participants each and every year. 

With St Barths averaging 40 yachts over the past five years, it has created challenges both on the water and ashore. This year’s event will again showcase some of the most impressive superyachts in the world (entries page) and a fleet size that is again nearly double that of any other superyacht regatta on the racing calendar.

Much was learned from the 2012 record fleet. While there were no collisions, there were too many close calls – even with the moderate conditions experienced on all three race days. Congestion on the racecourse led to safety and fair sailing issues with the amount of ‘passing’ required for some yachts negatively impacting fair sailing and the ISYR’s task of handicapping yachts fairly.

The Event Director produced a detailed post-event assessment for the Bucket Directors and sponsors. The report highlighted areas of concern and provided recommendations to address these issues. The changes, which debuted last year, successfully addressed the problem areas and ultimately made the Bucket experience even more enjoyable for yacht owners, their guests and crews.

FLEET PURSUIT RACING
Over the past nine years the Bucket Rating Rule, now the International Super Yacht Rule (ISYR) has achieved a commendable level of success at leveling the playing field and providing fair handicaps for the most divergent yacht designs racing today.  For more information on the ISYR go to the ISYR website.  Under the Bucket Regatta’s fleet pursuit racing format in 2012 and prior years, finishes at the Bucket were dramatic with results of some races being determined by the narrowest of margins. It was not uncommon to see as many as 10 yachts finishing within 2 minutes. 

To some extent we became a victim of the handicapper’s success. As the handicapping and improved level of racing created close and exciting finishes, all too frequently it was getting dangerously crowded at the last few turning marks and the finishing line with our large Bucket fleets. 

CLASS PURSUIT RACING
Last year in St. Barths, the Bucket Regatta featured the same popular pursuit racing format with a new focus on class racing. The same controls used by the ISYR to bring the finishes together, were used to separate classes.  We did not want to lose any of the excitement of our traditional pursuit racing format, and thus structured the racing to have each class finish together (as opposed to the entire fleet).  The result was having a manageable number of yachts approaching the finish at a time…. instead of a far larger group at widely disparate speeds!  This was a very important step forward with regard to improving safe racing and also helped the fair racing challenge by addressing the “passing issue”. 

Functionally this is a fairly simple concept.  All yachts share the same starting and finishing line and sail the assigned course for their specific class.  The rating authority structures the starting times, such that the four classes finish at different times – the gap between class finishes will likely be approximately 10 minutes as it was last year. We will again run test scenarios to evaluate starting sequence lengths with different courses for classes, and other relevant factors.  Within each of the four classes the racing will be as exciting as ever, featuring the routine close finishes, but there will be less congestion at the last few turning marks and the finishing line. 

Last year’s competitors were very pleased with this new feature, which enabled us to retain the exciting and popular pursuit racing concept of first boat in class home wins the race.

OVERALL BUCKET WINNER
As in the past, we will celebrate an overall Bucket winner at the conclusion of the regatta. That yacht will be one of the four class winners determined by additional criteria to be established prior to racing. Additional details on the Overall Winner criteria will be available later this month.

CLASS BREAKS
The four classes for the 2014 Bucket Regatta will be Les Gazelles des Mers, Les Elegantes des Mers, Les Mademoiselles des Mers and Les Grandes Dames des Mers. For additional information on class breaks, refer to the Race Chairman’s letter and preliminary class breaks (entries page).

SUMMARY
As you can see, we are always looking at how to improve on fair racing and safe sailing. The organizers are confident that the changes put in place last year made for safer racing and provided for better class racing, enabling the rating rule authority to be more successful with the handicapping.

We have listened closely to the yacht owners, sailors, sponsors and our race management team to make adjustments that deal with the realities of a 40-yacht superyacht fleet.

Peter Craig
Race Chairman