The View
from Here:
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux lives in Petite Saline, and when she's not organizing the St. Barts film festival, or supervising the local volleyball league, or writing for various magazines, she turns her all-seeing eye upon local happenings.
    June '03
    St. Barth Size
    Ah, the lazy, crazy days of summer are here! How can I tell? One way is by looking at the docks in Gustavia. If they are empty if must be summer. Our popular little port that sizzles with activity all winter is as quiet as a mouse. Most of the boats, from the mega-motor-yachts to the classic wooden sailboats, have gone to safer shores where the gale force winds of the hurricane season can't reach them (hopefully they won't reach us either!) But the boats are definitely gone. Gone north to Newport for the July "Bucket" regatta. Gone to Nantucket, Maine, or maybe even to the Mediterranean. But they'll be back by next Christmas jostling for spaces at the dock where the size of the harbor means there is a size limit for the behemoths that line up ìstern to.î And that limit is 60 meters (198 feet). Not an inch bigger, please. Oh sure, 61 meters might fit, but if the port staff says yes to 61 then what do they say to 62. Or 63. This is a case when size really does matter. Big, but not too big. This limit is now known in the yachting community as St Barth Size. Don't build it any bigger than that magical 60 meters and you'll be just the right size to nuzzle up to the dock, and spend the winter holiday season in one of those coveted berths. Yet, this spring a very big boat by the name of Reverie appeared measuring 70 meters, but it was lucky enough to beat the system. This massive vessel looked like a small cruise ship but it was in fact a private yacht. It arrived in late April when most of the occupants of the main dock had already lifted their anchors and set off on their summer travels. That meant that Reverie could pull up parrallel the dock, leaving room for a few late-season sailboats at the far end. And Reverie was a boat you couldn't miss. Bigger than St Barth Size by a mile, its appearance gave the port the chance to take snapshots of a really big one, right at the dock, promoting late season arrivals. After the excitement of Reverie, it is now one of the quietest moments of the year in the port. Around Bastille Day, the French national holiday on July 14) things get busy for a few days with the annual St Barth Open deep sea fishing tournament. Fishing boats from all over the Caribbean, and as far away as Miami, line up at the dock. Since the tournament is of the "tag and release" variety, not too many blue marlin are brought to shore these days. We are waiting to see if anyone reels one in that weighs over the current 669 pound record. Talk about St Barth size....
    More to come,
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux
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