April 12, 2005 - #41
St-Barth Bucket 2005
From March 31 through April 3, the island hosted the St-Barth Bucket, a three-day regatta organized every year in early April. The competition, limited primarily to sailboats over 100 feet long (34m), also includes a smaller boat or two. This year, for the 10th edition of the race, a total of 28 boats sailed into the Port of Gustavia, with the largest two anchoring out in the harbor. The 2005 St. Barth Bucket was unusual, in that the only other recent event to host such a large fleet of these mega-sailboats was the Millennium Cup Regatta in New Zealand. This year’s “Bucket” attracted over 600 guests to the island: owners, skippers, crew, and writers and photographers from specialized yachting publications.
Twenty-five boats participated in the three days of racing (although only 24 completed all three days), with two races around the island and an Olympic triangle between Bonhomme, Fourchu, and Gustavia. Among the favorites were Mariella, at 80’ (24.50m), one of the smallest in the fleet, Ranger, 135’ (41.85m), a faithful reproduction of a 1937 J Class racing boat, and Perseus, the largest boat racing, with its 165’ modern design. Several owners brought two boats, such as that of Hyperion, 155’ (47.50m), who is also the owner of Athena, which at 195’ (90m) is the largest three-masted schooner in the world to belong to a private owner. Athena was anchored at the commercial dock in Public on Saturday evening for a party reserved for the owners of the boats in the race. On Thursday evening, March 31, owners, skippers, and tacticians from each boat met aboard the Mirabella V, the largest sloop in the world at 246’ (75m), for the pre-race briefing.
On Sunday, for a tour around the island, heading toward Colombier, Pointe Milou and Toiny, the boats crossed the starting and finish lines with spinnakers unfurled. On Sunday, in contrast to the first two days of racing when the winds rarely reached 12 knots, the winds were steady at 15 to 20 knots, allowing the boats to race under very good conditions. The 147’ Visione, (45m), the only boat in the race with a German owner, did not beat its own around-the-island record of 1 hour, 32 minutes and 7 seconds, set at the 2004 New Year Eve Regatta 2004. Several of the boats in the “Bucket” also took part in this end of the year regatta held on December 31. Hyperion, for example, won the 2004 edition in the class of boats over 90 feet.
The idea for the St. Barth Bucket was born from a conversation between a few boat captains, who thought it would be interesting to take advantage of the fact that these beautiful boats spend the winter in the Caribbean. The regatta is based on the original Nantucket Bucket (now the Newport Bucket). Ten years later, the race is organized by skippers Ian Craddock, Hank Halsted and Thimothy Laughridge, in collaboration with Melanie Smith, who organizes the logistics on a local level. The race committee works closely with the Port of Gustavia, the Saint Barth Yacht Club and the municipality of Saint Barth. To support the efforts of the Saint Barth Yacht Club, the race organizers presented a check for 3000 euros to a representative of the sailing school on Sunday evening during the awards ceremony.
The race is really just for fun! The winner of this year’s three days of racing is the 125’ Freedom of Flight, took home various prizes and will have its name inscribed on the trophy— a bucket, of course!
More to come