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17 – 20 March 2016

16 – 19 March 2017

15 – 18 March 2018

21 - 24 March 2019

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  Photograph of St BArths harbor at night, with yachts docked

2016 St Barths Bucket Blog: As the Winch Turns


2016 St Barths Bucket Blog posts: Extra | 20 March | 19 March | 18 March | 17 March

20 March 2016

As The Winch Turns: Bucket Extra

The crew of Unfurled celebrates winning the 2016 Bucket Trophy.

Of all the things to do and see at the Bucket Regatta, the most important occasion is the Awards Ceremony, which was held in great style Sunday evening, across the harbor at the Hotel de la Collectivité, with hundreds of Bucketeers attending.  The grand outdoor stage hosted third- through first-place teams in five pursuit classes and a sixth for J-Class yachts, with Unfurled taking the stage twice, once to receive a Chelsea Clock Award for its victory in Les Gazelles des Mers and a second time to hold high the Bucket Trophy for best overall performance.

The crew of Seahawk celebrates!When Unfurled’s owner elaborated on the community that is superyacht sailing and how privileged all involved should feel to be part of it, it drove home the message that has always been at the heart of this event and earlier this week was summarized by Perini Navi’s Bruce Brakenhoff:  “It’s a gathering, a rendezvous: a celebration of these great yachts, the owners , the crew and friends, with a regatta in the middle.”

Seahawk also took the stage twice for finishing third in Grandes Dames and winning the All-Star Crew Award, a plastic bucket  filled with goodies that one crew member said he wouldn’t trade for all the tea in China. Other winners of special trophies were Rebecca (Wolter Huisman Memorial Spirit of the Bucket Trophy); Alexa of London (Vitters Seamanship Trophy); and P2 (Perini Navi Cup).

As it loves to do each year, the Bucket Regatta loves to give back to the famously French and friendly island of Saint-Barthélemy that is its gracious host. This year, a check for 20,000 euros was awarded to the St. Barths Yacht Club to underwrite the purchase of replacement boats for the children's fleet. Among the official charities helped in previous years are the Special Needs Children Project, St. Joseph’s School, Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres House in Lorient, and Foundation for Emergency Medical Equipment.

What They Said…

About teamwork:
“We try hard to keep the same crew, because continuity is important to everything,” said Seahawk’s captain Gerhard Veldsman. “The more you can keep the same people, the better you end up sailing the boat, because everyone ends up knowing its limitations.”

About evolution:
“The Superyacht game is heating up at a pretty rapid pace, and all in a good way,” said Peter Holmberg, helmsman of Rosehearty . “The owners are wanting to play harder and  faster, so the competitive side of it is going up and up and up. But like any segment of a sport that grows at this rate, you always have parts that are not up to speed.  A while back, safety was our first concern: we didn’t have clear rules to keep us all safe, so we realized that was a weakness in the game. (Ed: ISAF’s Appendix SY and heightened overall awareness has helped). Then the rating became the challenged portion of this game and the ORCsy Rule was developed and brought in here last year to fix that.”

About the ORCsy Rule
“We’re happy with the system and how it rates the boats, because it’s creating exactly what we want out of pursuit superyacht racing, where it’s all about the tactics and good sailing coming into the finish,” said P2’s tactician Tony Rey. “Considering how different these boats are from each other, it’s quite an achievement for the ORCsy to have done this in one year, to be able to step back and just let us race each other and have it be this close on the score sheet and on the water. The basic concept is that they’ve used much more of a database analysis of the performance of the boats; there has been great transparency in terms of how they are coming up with the ratings; and they are listening to the owners and sailors.”

About the experience:
“It’s almost heart stopping when you duck another J, because the helmsman turns the wheel and it’s 10-20 seconds before anything happens other than working out his arms,” said Ranger’s navigator Peter Isler, “The delays in ducking, close tacking or making any quick maneuver are just wild; it’s not like driving your sports car. It’s all judgement.”

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

20 March 2016

Day 4: As The Winch Turns

With the surge still strong in Gustavia Harbor, there were fewer yachts than usual on which to hop Saturday night, but Bucketeers in their casually cool clothing (to match the casually cool night) still enjoyed cocktails aboard Zenji, Rosehearty, Meteor, Seahawk and the Gatsby-themed Perseus^3 where the crew, decked out in appropriate period attire, and the popular sax player from Nikki Beach kept things properly flapping on the upper-deck dance floor. For the first time, the Bucket Bash was scheduled for the same night, so when the yachts shut down at ninish, there was more fun on tap across the harbor at the Hotel de la Collectivite, where live music by Soley, a popular local band, cranked until midnight.

Bruno FinziHave you seen this man on your superyacht? He is Bruno Finzi of Milan, and as president of the ORC Congress, he is making the rounds here to observe the ORCsy rule in action. The rule was established in 2015 and its algorithm is constantly being tweaked to make it ever more fair. Okay, so we know this is not the first time you’ve heard this justification for coming to the Bucket, but Finzi really means it when he says, “There are things we can’t possibly know by sitting at our desks. The variety of yachts is so wide; they are so beautiful but so different. This is our challenge.”

A bucket is a sailor’s best friend, especially when it’s THE Bucket won as the overall trophy here. But there’s another bucket that is perhaps as coveted: the “fun” bucket full of favors that is the All-star Crew Award presented by Rybovich. Here’s how it works: each year, every yacht casts a ballot for the single crew among the fleet that best demonstrates the pinnacle of the professsion and has the most fun doing its job. Because it is earned by peer recognition, this bucket carries some serious weight within the marine industry.

Photograph of Bucket awardsAnd speaking of buckets, Hermès, which hosted a glamorous party at the Taiwana restaurant for owners and their friends on Friday night, has flown in an artisan from Paris to hand craft a first-ever take-home prize for the overall winner of the Bucket Trophy, which is a perpetual. The keeper is an engraved Puiforcot champagne bucket that can travel in a leather bag stiched with the name of the winning yacht.

Other special trophies are the Wolter Huisman Memorial Spirit of the Bucket Trophy; the Vitters Seamanship Trophy; and the Perini Navi Cup. Class winners each receive a ship’s bell clock  by Chelsea Clock, “America’s authentic Nautical timepiece” with hand-silvered dial, 364 precision brass parts (many plated with gold), and 11-jewel movements, all made in Chelsea, Massachusetts, since 1900.

There’s a new type of superyacht engineer in demand: one who comes with his own drone. Actually, we’re kidding about the demand thing, but it sure is fun for the Rosehearty crew to watch engineer Richard Smith’s bird’s eye footage after racing each day. Because his personally-owned drone has never been lost at sea, Smith fancies himself somewhat of an expert…or perhaps he’s just overly careful. “Other teams have tried drones, for sure,” said Smith, “but whether they still have them, that’s another question!”

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

2016 St BArths Bucket logo19 March 2016

Day 3: As The Winch Turns

The Bucket logo has a pineapple in it for a good reason. It’s a symbol of hospitality and that’s what the team at Bucket Headquarters specializes in. Oh, and of course they’re keen organizers and know how to run a regatta like nobody’s business.

Hundreds of sailors checked in for Friday’s first day of pursuit class racing, which started with a skippers’ briefing that further swarmed the docks with activity. There’s plenty of talent here, including America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race veterans as well as world champions and national titlists from many, many nations. And not just all men – plenty of women, too. Six crew members aboard Silencio are women. The brains in the back of the boat are navigator Suzy Leech (a two-time World Champion), tactician Dawn Riley (America’s Cup and Whitbread veteran), and helmswoman Sam Davies (skipper of the all-women’s team in the last Volvo Ocean Race).

Darn the large swells that have kept many of the Bucket yachts from berthing Med-style at the Capitainerie while not racing. Nevertheless, the half dozen or so lurching at the dock – with their towering rigs, polished steel, and shining mahogany – are an eyeful for anyone walking by. So far, none of the crews has complained about taking launches to the outer harbor to catch their superyacht rides every morning; it’s all well-orchestrated plus it’s not bad scenery to take in. And besides, for those boarding at the dock, sometimes daring leaps to the passerelle must be made. The notable trade out, however, is the short commute to the Bucket Bar after racing each afternoon.

Yesterday’s Around the Island race was designed to give everyone on the island of St. Barths a chance to see in action the yachts they are used to viewing at rest on the docks. From the La Plage restaurant in St. Jean, watching the pageantry of sail just offshore, beyond the beach break, paired exquisitely with a salad nicoise, a dip in the ocean and a glass (or perhaps two?) of rosé.

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

18 March 2016

Day 2: As The Winch Turns

Photograph of the yacht "Ranger" receiving the J-Class’s coveted Kings Hundred Guinea Trophy.Ranger won the first prize of the Bucket Regatta when the team nailed the kick-off race for the J-Class series, which started Thursday. Turns out it was the boss’s birthday, so receiving the J-Class’s coveted Kings Hundred Guinea Trophy was “the best present ever!”

Photograph of fireworks and people celebrating at St BarthsThe Owner’s Party at Eden Rock was a red-carpet affair, with plenty of delectable foods – including sushi and gourmet pizza – and a fireworks display that wowed the guests and most likely surprised (pleasantly) anyone enjoying dinner at a nearby beachside restaurant. As its name implies, the Owner’s Party celebrates those who truly make possible this unique experience of sailing magnificent superyachts in the equally magnificent setting of St. Barths.

There has been plenty of preparation on the docks and on the water over the past few days, but sometimes you have to take a break, and the crew of Perseus^3 decided there was no better day than St. Patrick’s Day (Thursday) to stay ashore for some Beach Olympics. It made sense, considering the owner and nearly half the crew are Irish and Perseus^3 flies the burgee of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, the oldest yacht club in the world. Said Perseus^3’s Niall Rafferty: “We prepped the boat this morning, and now it’s beach time this afternoon with the boss and his family to do a bit of team bonding.” The Games included a hilarious “pass the drink without spilling” contest and a seriously funny tug-of-war. All props and costumes were arranged by the Perseus^3 crew well in advance of coming. Rafferty promised that absolutely no iguanas were hurt in the making of the Perseus^3 crew’s frolicking fun.

Photograph of people playing tug of war on a beach in St Barths.

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

17 March 2013

Day 1: As The Winch Turns

Gettting here was half the battle for some on Monday when, due to a low cloud ceiling, planes were kept from landing in St. Martin. One group reported getting diverted to Guadeloupe while another made seemingly endless circles in the sky before getting clearance to touch down. When the local weather we know and love returned, WinAir and St. Barts Ferry resumed their delivery of happy Bucketeers to the island…and the self-proclaimed ambassadors of superyacht sailing proclaimed, “Let the stories begin!”

Photographs of people arriving at St Barths and peparing their yacht for racing.

Seahawk tactician Brad Read said his team used Tuesday to complete some spot sounding in the areas where the new course options might take the fleet. Seahawk’s draft, at 13 metres, is one of the deepest here, so knowing the exact contour of the ocean floor and location of rocks is paramount. “You’re always nervous with these boats, especially in the beginning,” said Read, adding with a chuckle: “Then, after a couple of days when everything here starts becoming normal, that’s when you should really be getting nervous again!”

Photograph of Executive Committee SYRA Co-Chair Kate Branagh awarded SYRA’s annual recognition trophy to Captain Jonathan Kline.At the SuperYacht Racing Association’s Annual General Meeting, now traditionally scheduled to coincide with the Bucket each year, movers and shakers in the superyacht world participated in the discussions and updates. But first things first…Executive Committee Co-Chair Kate Branagh awarded SYRA’s annual recognition trophy to Captain Jonathan Kline (a member of the SYRA Executive Committee and the Communications Officer on P2, which is competing here). He was presented with a beautiful, handcrafted Ship’s Bell Clock from Chelsea Clock for his many contributions to the advancement of safe racing. “Because of him, we are in a far better place than we were 18 months ago,” said Executive Director Peter Craig.

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

Click here for the 2015 St Barts Bucket Blog.