The View
from Here:
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux lives in Petite Saline and is the new editor in chief of Harbor magazine, and when she's not organizing the St. Barts film festival, or writing for various magazines, she turns her all-seeing eye upon local happenings.
    April '05
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    Blue Bracelet Brigade
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     The first weekend in April a lot of people in Saint Barth spent a lot of time looking out at sea. They weren’t worrying about the possibility of tidal waves, or keeping on eye on migrating whales, but were in fact watching some very magnificent sailboats parade around the island as part of the 10th annual St. Barth Bucket. This is an invitational race for boats over 100’ in length, and those are indeed pretty big “buckets.” The race started many years ago in Nantucket which rhymes with Bucket.... you get the picture.... From its humble beginnings in Saint Barth with just a half dozen boats to a fleet of 25 racing this year (plus three even bigger boats on hand to host various parties), the event has become a Herculean feat of organization, with walkie-talkies chattering back and forth, and the race committee under siege for starting times and race results. One of the nights there was a boat hop, or the chance for all the people involved in the race and some of the luckier locals, to visit all the boats lined up at the main docks in Gustavia. The chosen few were issued blue metallic bracelets, which some of the hip young women fastened around their ankles rather than their wrists. The idea was that those with bracelets could visit the boats, while those without could only watch wistfully from the dock as the members of the blue bracelet brigade shed their shoes and teetered up some narrow little gangplanks (one of which was very narrow and had a rope handrail on just one side, with the briny drink on the other. I skipped the chance to visit that boat!). Adorned with our blue bracelets, we hopped from boat to boat, marveling at the incredible architecture and interior design of vessels that could easily double as luxury apartments! Once aboard we were served cocktails and snacks, with some of the boats dishing up such delicacies as oysters and lobster claws. There were even prizes awarded for the boats with the best party food! This is the kind of event that brings media attention to the island, with writers and photographers from the international yachting world to the island. Race organizers estimate that 400 to 500 people came to sail, including owners, skippers, crew, and guests (many of whom wondered why the local tourist office wasn’t ever open!). By the time the race comes around next year, Saint Barth’s new Harbor Master’s office will be completed and the renovation of the docks completed. Its upstairs clubhouse would make a perfect place for race-related events and cocktail parties. But as rumor has it, the harbor staff wasn’t even invited to this year’s pre-race briefing aboard the luxurious Mirabella V anchored in the harbor, or owner’s party aboard the Athena, the world’s largest three-masted schooner parked at the commercial dock, so it will be interesting to see what happens next year. In my humble opinion, if a race like the Bucket wants special treatment from the Port, maybe the Port should get some special treatment in return! But mine is not to reason why...
    More to come,
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux
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