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Freedom of Flight Wins the 10th Annual St. Barth Bucket

Freedom
of Flight, a 125′ Perini Navi ketch, took top honors in the 10th
annual St. Barth Bucket, an invitational regatta for cruising sailboats over
100′ long, held this year on April 1, 2, and 3. Finishing in 11th,
10th, and third place over three days of racing, Freedom of Flight
proved its mettle in its first entry in the Bucket (the winning time was an
average of the three days).

With
its blue and white star-spangled spinnakers unfurled to winds of 15 to 20 knots
on Sunday, April 3, Freedom of Flight’s six-man crew (and their 24 guests) took
advantage of almost perfect conditions on as they sailed around the island of
St. Barth. "The winds really suited the boat on day three," said
Chris Gamlin, the boat’s engineer. This is only the second race that
Boston-based owner Samuel T. Byrne and skipper Nick Cutler have entered with
Freedom of Flight: the first was the Shipyard Cup in Boothbay, Maine, where
they placed third.

This
gala 10th anniversary of the "Bucket" was certainly
celebrated in style, with 28 magnificent sailboats lined up at the dock and in
the harbor of the Port of Gustavia. The 25 boats that participated in the race
ranged from the smallest, Wild Horses at 76′, to the largest, Perseus at 164′.
Three larger yachts, Athena, the largest privately owned three-masted schooner
in the world (295′), Mirabella V, the largest sloop in the world (247′) and
Atmosphere (175′) where part of the celebration, hosting various
"Bucket" events, but not racing.

"We
divided the boats into two classes, one mast and two masts," said Ian
Craddock, a member of the organizing committee, who hosted the awards ceremony
on the main dock in Gustavia after the final day of racing. In Class A for the
single masts the winners were Wild Horses in third place, Destination Fox
Harb’r in second place, and Metolius in first place. The winners in Class B for
the two-masted boats were Gitana S&S in third place, Sariyah in second
place, and Freedom of Flight as the winner of both Class B and the overall
regatta. All of the boats received trophies as well as special gift bags from
Hennessey, with magnums of their whiskey for the winners.

There
were many other prizes and trophies awarded as well, including the Walter
Huisman Trophy presented to a boat that exhibits the best spirit of the race.
"We wanted to honor someone who has been with the Bucket since the
beginning of this owner-driven fun regatta," noted Craddock. The award was
presented to Tom Taylor, owner of the 109′ Avalon (formerly known as Gleam) and
accepted by boat designer Ron Holland, who did a total retrofit of this yacht
in 1999. Other boats in the race designed by Holland include Boo Too (a 90′
ketch) and Mirabella V.

Another
noted naval architect on hand for the race was Englishman Ed Dubois, sailing on
a boat he designed, Destination Fox Harb’r, a 135′ sloop also making its first
appearance in the "Bucket." The line up of boats along the dock in
St. Barth was breathtaking and local dignitaries and guests were invited to a
boat-hopping party on Friday night, giving a chance for the owners and skippers
to show off some of the most beautiful sailing vessels in the world. "We
closed the list at 28 boats, but could have had more," says Melanie Smith,
the local organizer of the race. It remains to be seen whether more of these
big, beautiful "buckets" will take part in the 11th annual
regatta next year. But even if the race stays the same size, it’s a nautical
event that’s hard to beat!

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