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Apr 7, 2009

St. Barth Bucket


The Caribbean version of the Newport Bucket (originally the Nantucket Bucket), which takes place every summer in Newport, RI, the St Barth Bucket brings some of the world ’s most spectacular sailboats to the island the last weekend of March for three days of regattas around the island.

The 14th edition of the Bucket took place on March 26-29, 2009 with the largest fleet to date, with 35 on the starting line and 34 that finished. Most of these yachts measure over 100’ long, and had their owners at the helm for this unusual invitational regatta. The Bucket concept was first imagined by Tom Taylor (owner of Gleam) and Nelson Doubleday (owner of Mandalay), and organized by Tim Laughridge (Sariyah), John Clyde-Smith & Ian Craddock (Mandalay) and Mike Frierbend (Gleam). 

Today a team of at least 30 people led by Hank Halsted organized the event, in conjunction with the Collectivity of Saint Barth, the Port of Gustavia, the Saint Barth Yacht Club, and the St Barth SNSM rescue at sea station. According to many of the participants, this year was the most successful regatta in the history of the race.

Among the entries were nine boats from the Penini Navi shipyards, one of the sponsors of the Bucket, including the legendary Maltese Falcon. This 289’ high-tech yacht belongs to businessman Tom Perkins, and cruises at an average of 17 knots, with a unique rig whose three rotating masts contain the 15 sails that are completely computer controlled.

The weather conditions were ideal this year for these giant yachts: sunny skies and winds between 15 and 20 knots allowed each boat to put its best foot forward staggered starts to equal the playing field and spectacular finishes. The overall winner after three days of racing was Meteor, a contemporary 170’ schooner built by Royal Huisman.

Every year, monies are donated to a worthy cause on the island. After the sailing school and the Femur last year (St Barth Foundation for Emergency Medical Equipment), this year it was the Mireille Choisy junior high school that benefitted. 10% of the entry fees were donated to the school to finance the purchase of new computers.

Cécile Lucot


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