January 5, 2005 - #35
350 boats in the harbor on December 31
Every year, the busiest time for the Port of Gustavia is between December 26 and January 2. The largest number of boats came to celebrate the New Year in Saint Barth, anchoring here between December 28-31, four days when the harbor office staff handled an average of 55 boats per day. A total of 350 boats, including mega-yachts and sailboats, were in the harbor for the fireworks display on the evening of December 31. On December 25, 200 boats were already anchored at the various docks and in the harbor, just about the same number of boats that celebrated Christmas here in 2003. Differences this year included a larger number of motor yachts than sailboats and many of the boats themselves were larger than those of past years. An example is Sunrise, at 138 meters (452 feet), the longest motor yacht here for the holidays, which remained anchored near Shell Beach. The triple-masted Athena at 91 meters (298 feet) was able to anchor at the dock in Public for New Year’s Eve. Many of those who come back year after year were already in place for the opening of the Quai Général de Gaulle on December 15, including Ultima III, Jamaïca Bay, Mystique and the ketch Ticonderonga. As of December 20, all of the docks were full. For last minute arrivals, the only option was to anchor in the harbor, although 10 of the largest boats pulled up to the dock in Public just for New Year’s Eve. Those over 55 meters (180 feet) were too large to enter the inner port and remained at anchor in the outer harbor. Many of the boats hoisted their sails on January 1 or 2, and new boats quickly filled the berths along the Quai Général de Gaulle and the Quai de la République.
New Year Eve Parade 2004
Almost 40 sailboats participated in the New Year’s Eve Parade, the last regatta of the year, organized by Marc del Giudice, skipper of Mischievous, in collaboration with the Saint-Barth Yacht Club and the Port of Gustavia. The boats sailed around the island, with the Christmas winds of 25-30 knots occasionally gusting to 35 knots, providing good conditions for the larger boats. The staggered start times, between 10am and 12 noon, created quite a parade of boats in the harbor as they set sail and as the flotilla returned with the boats arriving rapidly one after the other. In the class for boats over 100 feet, nine sailboats from 105’ to 155’ took part in the race. Hyperion, the largest at 155’ was the first boat to cross the finish line in Class 1, sailing around the island in 1h 50 min 08 sec, ahead of Titan 14 (112 feet) in second place and Sariyah (132 feet) in fourth place. In Class 2 for boats of 50 to 90 feet, Lone Fox, a 64’ ketch, was first across the finish line, with a time 2h 39 min 22 sec. Yet the overall winner with the fastest time around the island was Visione, a 147’ white sloop who came in third in Class 1 and who clocked a record time of 1h 32min 07sec, beating the former around-the-island record of 1h 53min, set in 1999 by Extra Beat. The awards ceremony took place in the late afternoon on the Quai Général de Gaulle, with champagne flowing as the festive atmosphere of New Year’s Eve got underway.
More to come