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  Photograph of St BArths harbor at night, with yachts docked

2015 St Barths Bucket Blog: As the Winch Turns


2015 St Barths Bucket Blog posts: What They Said | 22 March | 21 March | 20 March | 19 March |

27 March 2015

Photo of yacht crew sailingWhat They Said:

About the 21st edition of the Bucket

St. Barths Port Director Ernest Brin: "Twenty years later (from the event's inception), the spirit is still alive. Thank you to the owners of the beautiful yachts still coming and making us dream, helping our island, in the best venue in the nautical world. The Port of Gustavia must rise to this event, but what would it be without the new Bucket stewards and event sponsors, their unquestionable support for so many years, keeping the Bucket how it has always been and enabling it to be the #1 nautical event in the Caribbean."

About the new ORCsy rule:

Crew sailing at 2015 St BArths BucketPeter Holmberg (P2): "The three of us (Visione, Inoui, P2) have been neck-and-neck at the finish, and I can say we're all sailing pretty well, so the handicap is working. There are a few outliars that need some help and fixing, but the heart of it is working very well. These boats are so complex that it does take a couple years to get them to their top performance, and so I'd say now we are pretty good at sailing our boat around the track and getting every ounce of speed out of it."

Crew member standing at the box of a sailing yachtMike Sanderson (Elfje): "Before, it was a performance-based rule, where if you do well today, tomorrow you won't do so well. Now it's a boat measurement-based rule where the boat is measured, and things like the hull shape, how big the sails are and how many you've got all goes into the equation. The only variables are how well you've prepared it, how good your sails are and how good your crew is. So if you do a nice job with the variables, you should be able to win no matter which boat you've got, and that's a really cool thing.

Robbie Doyle (Axia): For this rule to be working as well as it is, I'm blown away. I'm on the rules committee, just as a consultant, and I kept warning that there were going to be some teething issues, but right now people should be ecstatic.

About crew work:

Jens ChristiansenJens Christiansen (Visione): Paul CayardOne thing we should not forget is that without Garth Brewer (Captain) and the permanent crew, the rest of us would be in bad shape. It's always a pleasure coming to the boat, because these guys have taken such good care of it; it's always well prepared.

Joey Kaempfer (owner of Rosehearty): This was my first time racing Rosehearty and to do a race like this. It has been great fun, and I love the people we have as part of the team. We had help from Perini Navi and Captain Louis Rich to assemble the crew. These guys (including tactician Paul Cayard) come with their legends in front of them, so I was thrilled. It's clear to me we are getting a whole different level of performance out of the boat than when we normally sail it and that was fascinating to see.

Barby MacGowan
Media Pro International’s Barby MacGowan is reporting daily from St. Barths. Read her recaps here and her Bucket Blog.

2015 Golden Pineapple award winner22 March 2015

Blog Day 4: As the Winch Turns

There was no shortage of race fans at the final Bucket Award Ceremony held outside at the Hotel de la Collectivité on Sunday night. And no shortage of cheering when special Bucket series award winners took the stage. Mrs. Milena Perini presented to Rosehearty the Perini Navi Award for best Perini Navi yacht in competition, and Mr. Colin Kiley of Rybovich turned right around and presented Rosehearty with the Golden Pineapple Award for the most gracious and welcoming hospitality during the yacht hop. (Proving they are no one-trick pony, Rosehearty also provided a rib for several of the hard-working race office volunteers to watch Sunday's start and finish from the water.) Elise Huisman declared Wavelength as the yacht that competed most in the spirit of the Bucket ("having fun and looking good") and bestowed upon them the Walter Huisman Memorial Award, while Holland Jachtbouw's All-Star crew award, for peer recognition on a yacht focused on professionalism and fun, went to Elena of London.

Photograph of post regatta celebration

Charity check presentationPhoto of people watching the airshowOther high points of on-stage presentations were the handing over of a check in the amount of 18,000 Euros to benefit the St. Barths Children with Disabilities Project, an initiative of the local Lions and Rotary Clubs, and meeting all the ace pilots who put on Saturday's air show (and also circled the island on Sunday to give beach goers a heart-stopping thrill).

Of course, the highlight of the evening was having massive teams of 20-30 people storm the stage to accept prizes for first through third in each class, with the climax being the announcement of the overall "Bucket" winner Visione.

Photograph of post regatta celebration

And with that came the conclusion of the 2015 St. Barths Bucket Regatta, another phenomenal mix of spectacular yachts and fabulous people. Or is that fabulous yachts and spectacular people? Either way, we'll look for you again next year!

Barby MacGowan
Media Pro International’s Barby MacGowan is reporting daily from St. Barths. Read her recaps here and her Bucket Blog.

People onboard a yacht celebrating21 March 2015

Day 3: As the Winch Turns

The number of people attending was insane, and the entertainment was utterly out of this world at Friday night's yacht hop held at the Quay in Port Gustavia. You knew without being told what yacht "the King" was aboard when he sang "dancin' to the Seahawk Rock," and if you didn't feel like shaking your pelvis with Elvis, there was the choice, just two passarelles down, of moving your feet to lively salsa music on Parsifal III. Each Bucket yacht that was berthed stern-to graciously hosted dozens upon dozens of visitors, granting tours of interiors, serving hors d'oeuvres, rosé and special cocktails, and bringing further life to the party with special decorative touches. (Thalia's were a birthday cake and balloons to celebrate the yacht's 21st birthday.) The seaside soiree continued well beyond its scheduled ending time, but...well...that's how Bucketeers seem to roll when they are having a crazy good time.

WWII airshow at St Barths BucketPLane flying at St Barths BucketThe Bucket Airshow delivered as promised after racing today, and most of the Bucket fleet held back from heading home to enjoy the 40-minute spectacle from the water. The show had been advertised heavily in town, so those without boats knew to head to Shell Beach or other locations nearby to watch. If they had picked up a program they learned that the "Texas Flying Legends" has one of only a few flying Japanese Zeros planes left in the world. No Allied plane could match the effectiveness of these planes in World War II, and if it had not been developed Japan would not have decided to start the war. The FG-1D Corsair "Whistling Death", the TBM-3E Avenger, the B-25 bomber Betty's Dream, and P-40K Aleutian Tiger also were among the planes that made aviation enthusiasts blush with their fly-bys and acrobatics.

If you were a Bucket insider you knew that five of the eight planes, the ones from the Texas Flying Legend Museum, were owned by Marie's owner Ed Bosarge. The remaining three were "Lewis Air Legends" owned by Bosarge's friend Rod Lewis (who actually was flying one of them). It took the planes three days to get to St. Barths, since some can only carry three hours of fuel. "These planes take a huge amount of work to keep going," said Wes Cooper, Marie's captain. "The owners do it for everyone else's enjoyment."

Barby MacGowan
Media Pro International’s Barby MacGowan is reporting daily from St. Barths. Read her recaps here and her Bucket Blog.

20 March 2015

Day 2: As the Winch Turns

Photo of two yachtsmen at the 2015 St Barths RegattaOwners and their guests got the red carpet treatment last night at a special "Eden Rock" gathering. Yes, an actual red carpet led directly to the beach where all that was glittering included the sand and palm trees, illuminated in a rainbow of colors. One owner declared the event, set on a rocky point overlooking St. Jean Bay, perfect in flow and excellent in ambience, as it was easy to find friends and communicate while enjoying a phenomenal sushi bar, stone-oven pizza, sliders, and of course fine champagne and Prosecco. "The hosts went to the top; it was five-star elegant but understated," he said. Representatives from each of the four Bucket stewards – Perini  Navi, Royal Huisman, Vitters Shipyard and Rybovich – greeted guests as they entered, and Russell Coutts made an intriguing presentation on why everyone attending should make it to Bermuda for the next America's Cup. On a jumbo screen, his points were made to sink in with a complete history of the America's Cup, starting with black and white footage of the first J boats and moving through the timeline right up to the colorful sights and sounds of catamarans last seen Cup sailing off San Francisco.  (And just in case you are wondering, Coutts wanted badly to sail today in the Bucket, but duty called and he took off today as quickly as he appeared yesterday.

Heather RuhsamWatching the race today was Heather Ruhsam, stewardship director at Sailors for the Sea. She is here to help guide Bucket organizers in their quest for a cleaner regatta, and she says there are five rungs on her organization's sustainability ladder: Participant (the Bucket's current status), Bronze, Silver, Gold and finally Platinum, which requires a full-time "green team" on site. "Overall, Sailors for the Sea is educating, engaging and motivating sailors to help restore ocean health. We do that through a number of programs , but specifically here, it is through the clean regattas self-certification program. We're identifying ways to lower the impact of this regatta in St. Barths and Newport."  In the Caribbean, Sailors for the Sea is trying to be a catalyst for conversation between islands and regatta organizers, so coming soon will be a section on the Caribbean Sailing Association website for sharing stories and case studies. 

Heard on the docks

Marie's crew talked about bringing aboard dozens of guests today, but Lady B had them beat with 36 crew plus 36 guests planned for every day. "You can't see the deck for all the people, and there are miles and miles of life jackets," said Lady B's chief steward Lisa Bailey, heaving a large sigh for dramatic effect and then laughing, "but it's the sixth year we've done it like this."

Uma Thurman sat the next table over from a Bucket sailor who knew who she was, and David Letterman was seen walking the docks to have a look-see at the yachts. With a villa built on the high cliffs that separate the bays of St. Jean and Lorient, Letterman is "just another guy" when he's on-island. (It may help that in terms of French culture, his name is not famous.)

By the way, the villa that Letterman built is in a spot famous among locals, because once upon a time it sheltered the island's first disco, called Autour du Rocher (Around the Rock). The club was so known for its epic partying, Jimmy Buffet wrote a song about it by the same name, and he often sings it when he picks up his guitar and jumps onstage with the Evan Goodrow Band at the Baz Bar during Bucket time.  (When will he activate this year?  He has been seen hanging around, so guess you'll have to keep stopping by the Baz Bar to see.)

Barby MacGowan
Media Pro International’s Barby MacGowan is reporting daily from St. Barths. Read her recaps here and her Bucket Blog.

19 March 2015

Photo of Gustavia Harbor at nightDay 1: As the Winch Turns

From any angle of sight around Gustavia Harbor during the day, there is a forest of white and black masts rising tall against what is more often than not a striking blue sky. It's Bucket Regatta time on St. Barths, and really no matter where one might be for the next three days on this small overseas collectivity of France, he or she is apt to see some reminder that St. Barths has given itself over to the Bucket invasion.

It's a friendly invasion, of course, where the island welcomes armies of the world's most passionate sailors, with families and friends in tow, to compete in pursuit-style racing aboard uber-sophisticated superyachts. And there is a natural blending of two cultures during the occupation. Dark skinned men dressed in baggies and flip flops? They could be locals or they could be competitors enjoying free time between races, while women in bright, breezy cover-ups are just as likely to be Bucketeers on holiday as islanders on their way to the beach for a quick swim.

Photo of kids learning about yachtingFurther illustrating the kindly crossing over of two worlds, two groups of youth sailors from the St. Barths Yacht Club sailing program were invited to Bucket Central yesterday for personal tours of Royal Huisman's 45.7 metre schooner Meteor and Perini Navi's 55.9 metre ketch Rosehearty. The wide-eyed youngsters, ages 9-13, could barely fathom the 100,000 nautical miles (including nine transatlantics) that Meteor has sailed since she was completed in 2007. It would be a long way to go in an Opti, and certainly it would be a wild ride if they souped up their dinghies with Meteor's 1200 square meters of sail area.

Photograpoh of Jim CapronBucket Director Peter Craig ran an ORCsy Presentation at le Brigantin today for owners, captains, safety officers and such to explain the background on thinking behind the new ORCsy rule that will be utilized here for the first time. "Fair sailing has become a more prominent issue for owners over the last two years, as it seems the safe racing aspect of superyacht racing has gotten itself in order," he said. To that point, Jim Capron, the man responsible for initially creating the key safety rule that keeps superyachts at least 40 metres apart while racing, was honored at the SuperYacht Racing Association Annual General Meeting. Holding a beautiful Chelsea Clock inscribed "with great appreciation for your contribution to safe racing," Capron said with a chuckle: "It's about 10 pounds. Now I've got to get it back home!"

Activities on the Quay today included lots of boat preparation (of course!), registration and a rousing Fleet Welcoming Party. Let the invasion begin!

Barby MacGowan
Media Pro International’s Barby MacGowan is reporting daily from St. Barths. Read her recaps here and her Bucket Blog.