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2011 Newport Bucket Regatta: Recaps


2011 Newport Bucket Regatta News and Recaps

2011 Newport Bucket Regatta -  Directors’ Recap

Every year since its inception, the Newport Bucket has served up something extra. Bonus great surprises and some interesting challenges have always been part of the event.  This year we got the ultimate challenge, Hurricane Irene! 

As the storm became a reality and defined her approach, the yacht crews and race committee did their due diligence and began shaping contingencies.  Alternate race options were considered along with the plans to move the yachts out of harm’s way. Wednesday evening the captains met with the race director to share their weather data and storm strategies. They were flexible regarding race options, but all expressed their absolute commitment to protecting the yachts from harm. 

The ultimate outcome was that all racing was cancelled, but not the party!

With the storm forecast then for Newport or east, a number of boats planned to head west, up Long Island Sound. The fleet disbursed a few to storm moorings in Newport and the vast majority heading to Maine. This was the right decision. Newport and its Harbor received a significant hit by the storm.

An unfortunate part of Irene’s timing is that in addition for forcing a cancellation of racing, she disrupted special plans to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Bucket Regattas. The Directors and Committee committed considerable resources (both time and money) to creating a truly memorable New England event.  The Martha’s Vineyard component planned a golf match, clam bake and then the Newport Feeder Race.  As a bonus, we hired the Newport Revolutionary Cannon Company, with their 900 pound antique cannon, to finish the race at Castle Hill with Revolutionary soldiers in uniform!  The new Welcome Party at Fort Adams with colors by the same artillery also had potential to create a new benchmark for Bucket celebrations.

The Bucket Committee focused our energy on two elegant Hurricane Parties, one with the remaining fleet in ‘Martha’s Vineyard on Thursday night and the other, under a quickly constructed marquee at Newport Shipyard on Friday.  The site at David Murphy’s home, the “Tumble Inn” on Chappaquiddick, was the most elegant setting ever for a Bucket event. While the attendance was less than planned, enthusiastic party-goers were treated to a “best ever” clam bake and music by Jerry Bennett and the Sultans of Swing.  Earlier in the day, the Royal & Ancient Chappaquiddick Gold Club was the site of a Bucket Golf Tournament led by Timothy Laughridge and Ian Craddock. 

Friday night’s “Hurricane Soiree” at the Shipyard was another memorable affair.  With the yachts properly prepared or on route to Maine, the remaining Bucket Crews brought their unquenchable Bucket attitude and spirit and enjoyed the evening. The food was the best pickings of all the planned catering and we enjoyed a fashion show and danced the night away. In short, we packed a lot of fun into a couple nights.

Once again, the Texas Legends Air Museum offered to entertain the fleet on Saturday and Sunday.  Once again, we asked for the impossible and with tremendous cooperation and support by the US Coast Guard and the FAA, obtained permission to close Narragansett Bay two afternoons in a row, for an aerobatic display that ran from Fort Adams to Castle Hill.  This would have been another Bucket first and a spectacular display!  We are grateful to the extreme, to local and federal authorities and to the Texas Legends Air Museum for their support.  Hopefully, they’ll be at a future Bucket event. 

At the end of the day, it can be said without reservation that everyone involved with the Newport Bucket, particularly the owners and crews, kept the event buoyant with their positive attitude and spirit.  We’re grateful to all. 

We look forward to the 2012 Bucket Regattas!

Sail safe and keep the Bucket Spirit always.

The Bucket Directors

Ian Craddock                   Hank Halsted                      Tim Laughridge

Newport photos

And before Irene intervened, these were the plans:

The Bucket Regatta Silver Anniversary Festivities will begin on Thursday 25 August, with the Fleet gathering at anchor off of Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard.  At 1200, the Silver Anniversary Golf Match begins at the Royal and Ancient Chappaquiddick Links Golf Club, a 9 hole Scottish Links Course created in 1887. Owners, sponsors and crew are invited to join Bucket Directors Tim Laughridge and Ian Craddock for a casual afternoon competition for links bragging rights at a truly historic site.

Thursday evening, the Skippers Meeting for Friday’s Feeder Race to Newport will be held at Edgartown Yacht Club.  We are grateful for the invitation to share the hospitality of the Club and their facilities for our meeting and welcome cocktail. 

On Thursday night, long term Bucket supporter and advocate, David Murphy, will host a Gala Lobster Dinner at his magnificent Chappaquiddick home and hide-out, The Tumble Inn.  This promises to be a memorable fete, featuring fine fare and libation accompanied by live music by the acclaimed Jerry Bennett and the Sultans of Swing.

Friday’s Newport Bucket “Feeder Race” will start at the west end of the Vineyard Sound, with the fleet racing under the successful Bucket Rule pursuit racing handicap system. Friday’s racing fleet will include the 37M DuBois design, MOONBIRD, the elegant Fontaine 29.5M Spirit of Tradition Ketch, WINDCREST, the S & S 29M Sloop, ALTAIR and two elegant sistership W-Class 23M Classic Sloops; WILD HORSES and WHITE WINGS, that will be match racing for the new “Demi-Class” honors along with the Feeder Race Awards.

The Skippers Meeting for all 19 yachts competing for the Bucket Silver Anniversary Honors will be held on Friday evening at the Newport Shipyard.  The fleet Welcome Party will follow at historic Fort Adams, with private access to the Fort’s Casements, observation tower and the Museum, followed we trust, by a spectacular sunset with Colors sounded with a 900 pound, 1771 Paul Revere cannon!   This will be a proper launching to “The Silver Bucket”, indeed.

Racing for Bucket honors will begin at noon on Saturday and Sunday, 27-28 August.  As usual, courses will be set off Newport in Rhode Island Sound with the start and finishes off Castle Hill. Ratings will be by the Bucket pursuit racing rule, which adjusts start times such that the finishing order will determine each yacht’s position in the fleet without subsequent rating adjustments.

A vintage WWII Airshow featuring the Texas Flying Legends will follow racing on Saturday and Sunday. From 4:30 to 5 p.m. on each of those days, the Coast Guard will literally stop boat traffic off Fort Adams and Castle Hill as the public enjoys the spectacle. The Newport Bucket will feature six rare WWII vintage aircrafts including Last Samurai, one of only two Japanese Zeros still flying in the world; the FG-1D Corsair Whistling Death; the P-40K Aleutian Tiger; two P-51D Mustangs Dakota Kid II and Little Horse; and the Mitchell B-25 Bomber Betty’s Dream.

For the 25th Anniversary Edition of the Bucket Regattas, the Bucket fleet has been gifted once again by the Owner of TENACIOUS, who has offered to conduct a full air show by the perfectly maintained WWII Aircraft of the Texas Flying Legends Museum.  The air show fleet includes a B-25 Bomber, the last flying Japanese Zero, a P-51 Mustang, P-40 and a Corsair, all flown by some of the top aerobatic pilots in the US.  The local authorities, Coast Guard and FAA have collaborated to allow closure of Narragansett Bay both days from 1630 until 1700 to create a navigation exclusion zone that will create the aerobatic area.  We are grateful to the extreme for this generous offering by Bucket yacht owner.  This type of generosity among the fleet is at the core of the lighthearted Spirit of the Bucket!

Saturday night, the Fleet Open House will invite the sailing crews from each competing yacht to visit the other yachts in the fleet, with a sharing of best food & libation and without a doubt, plenty of bragging rights banter.  Following the Open House, the Gala Bucket Bash will serve up a sumptuous meal, libation, single malt and cigar bar – plus dancing to Jerry Bennett and the Sultan of Swing and an elegant fashion show. This promises to be a truly memorable Saturday night!

The Bucket Awards Ceremony will be held at the elegant Ochre Court overlooking Newport’s First Beach and the Atlantic.  Trophies will be awarded for four classes; the Bucket Traditional Grandes Dames des Mers, Les Gazelles des Mers, the new Elegantes des Mers (Spirit of Tradition) and for the 25th Anniversary edition, the Demi-Class.  Overall trophies which recognize the top finishers in each class, along with the Bucket Overall Trophies, Feeder Race, combined Feeder and Overall trophy, as well as the traditional Bucket Awards the Wolter Huisman Spirit of the Bucket award, the Vitters Seamanship/Sportsmanship award, the coveted “Skullduggery Cravat” for the yacht that best promulgates non-adult behavior, and The Newport Bomb, which has become yet another iconic Bucket trophy that celebrates the yacht that simply, has the most fun!

Daily updates will be presented on the Bucket Website beginning Friday evening with a detailed report on the Bucket Feeder Race.  Tune again then, to watch the Bucket Story unfold.

Entry list, event schedule and regatta updates and photos on the event web site: BucketRegattas.com