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Review of St Barths Bucket 2018

March 21, 2018

This year’s St Barths Bucket Regatta may’ve seen a decrease in numbers but there was no change to the warm welcome, bustling atmosphere and congeniality of both the island and the event.

The reduction in numbers is owed, in part, to the devastating hurricanes of September 2017, which tore through the islands causing significant damage to residences, businesses and infrastructure, prompting many yacht owners to alter their Caribbean cruising plans. 

The 26 yachts in the fleet, ranging in length from 28 to 56 metres, were divided between the Pursuit Racing Classes, Corinthian Class and J Class.  Events got underway on the Thursday with two windward/leeward races specifically for the three attending J’s; Svea, Topaz and Velsheda.  

Wolf Dietz of the Pantaenius Barcelona office joined 32m Child of Lir for the regatta whilst Michael Kurtz of the Monaco office, who is also a talented photographer, followed the fleet from the chase tender with his camera.

As is usual of the Bucket social schedule, guests were officially welcomed at the Owner’s Reception on Thursday evening.  Hosted at a villa with impressive vistas over Gustavia Harbour and the anchored sailing yachts, and exquisite food and flowing Champagne made for sparkling atmosphere.

The superyacht fleet began their racing efforts on the Friday with a course that took them counter-clockwise round the island with 13 to 15 Knots of breeze. 

Notable this year is the growth of the Corinthian Class, which had six yachts competing (without spinnakers) and it was a close-to-call finish with 43m Koo edging out 52m Q by only two seconds and 33m Missy finishing just 30 seconds behind.

34m Spiip, overall winner of the Bucket last year, made a confident start finishing first amongst the Les Mademoiselles des Mers on day one.  Other class winners were 35m Sojana (Les Elegantes des Mers), 34m Nilaya (Les Gazelles des Mers) and 36m Whisper. 

Following two wins in the first J Class race, Svea added another to her scorecard gaining her a clear lead.

Friday night’s ‘Yacht Hop’ had Q and Visione battling for attention.  Q got the party going with a DJ and saxophonist, whilst Visione indulged guests with Champagne and Beluga Caviar – possibly going someway to helping them win the prize for the best crew at the end of the week.

Saturday’s course was the ‘Not-So-Wiggley’, taking the sailing to the west side of the island around some of the smaller islands and rocky outcrops. 

Initially solid breezes weakened to seven Knots in the afternoon and the challenging courses made for some exciting sailing, with yachts vying to maintain their early leads.  The closest finish of the day was between Rebecca and Sojana (Les Elegantes des Mers) with 42 seconds between them and 43m Rebecca over the line first.

Nilaya and Whisper again finished first place in their respective classes, but Spiip lost out to Farfalla.  In the Corinthian Class, Missy was able to take advantage of the lighter airs and finished in first place.

Following the Saturday night ‘Bucket Bash’, with dockside barbecue and live music, yachts were sent off on the Wrong-Way-Around course for Sunday’s sailing.

Sojana’s battle with Rebecca continued in the Les Elegantes des Mers class, but Sojana made it over the line to win the class at the end of the week.

Going into the last day’s race in tied position, Farfalla pipped Spiip to the post and concluded her class win.

Whisper could boast a winning streak in her class and her consistent performance placed her a final three points ahead of runner-up, Blue Too. 

Another win for Missy on Sunday’s final race gave her the class title, to the delight of the owner and his team for whom this was their first regatta entry.

For the J Class, who completed five races over the regatta’s four days, it was Svea who collected the silverware.

Taking the overall Bucket title was Nilaya, who not only won three out of three races but who the organizers determined, with a quantitative formula that uses race data, finish times and series points, was the class winner who prevailed in the most competitive, closely contested class.

Pantaenius continue as proud supporters of the Bucket Regatta, recognising the valuable addition it makes to the sailing sector of the superyacht industry.  Our thanks to the organisers and all the attending yachts – we’ll see you again next year!