The highlight of the nautical calendar on the French Caribbean island of St. Barthélemy is the annual St. Barth Bucket, an invitational regatta for sailboats over 100’ in length. The 14th edition of the Bucket takes place March 27-29, 2009 with a captains’ briefing the night before the racing begins. An incredible fleet of sailboats—including the 289’ Maltese Falcon—has signed up for this unusual regatta.
Organized by a committee chaired by Hank Halsted, the Bucket is the sister race to the Newport Bucket, which takes place in Rhode Island every summer in July. The fleet for the Bucket will be the largest this year, with the Port of Gustavia allowing a total of 33 boats, an increase of three boats over past years.
“We have room at the docks for 33 boats, including the dock by the Wall House,” says Bruno Gréaux, director of the Port of Gustavia. “But some of the biggest ones with large draughts must remain at anchor in the harbor.” Bruno clears the docks for the Bucket fleet, allowing for the Friday night yacht hop, in which crewmembers and guests get the chance to visit many of the participating sailboats.
According to Halsted, the Bucket really came into its own last year, with a series of partners from within the yachting world, such as Holland Jachtbouw, Perini Navi, Royal Husiman, Vitters Shipyards, and Alloy Yachts among the principal partners. Their representatives add to the mix of 600+ people who attend the Bucket, making it a great social event as well as a stellar race for these big sailboats.
But Halsted takes safety on the water very seriously: “This is an opportunity to sail your yacht to peak potential in a fleet of the most magnificent sailing yachts on the planet, with full focus on performance as well as safe seamanship,” he advises the skippers and owners. The goal is to avoid collisions at all costs!
The three-day race includes two around-the-island courses (one clockwise) and what is known as the “wiggly course,” which leaves Gustavia and goes around the small outlying islands around Saint Barth. Activities on the main dock help give the population of the island a chance to join in the fun, including such events as a Jimmy Buffet concert on the dock!
Fleet for the 2009 St Barth Bucket
March 27 – 29
Andromeda La Dea, 154’, Perini Navi
Antara, 154’, Perini Navi
Avalon, 108’, Southern Pacific Yachts
Axia, 124’, Palmer Johnson
Barracuda, 186’, Perini Navi
Destination Fox Harb’r, 134′, Alloy Yachts
Ganesha, 128′, Fitzroy Yachts
Freedom, 124’, Picciotti
Kalikobass II, 104′, Trehard
Leopard 3, 100’, Farr Design
Maltese Falcon, 289′, Perini Navi
Moonbird, 126′, Fitzroy
P2, 125′, Perini Navi
Paraiso, 108’, Alloy Yachts
Parsifal III, 177′, Perini Navi
Perseus, 163’, Perini Navi
Ranger, 137’, J Boat
Rebecca, 141’, Pendennis
Salute, 184′, Perini Navi
Sapphire, 100′, Holland Jachtbouw
Saudade, 148′, Wally
Sea Quell, 112’, Alloy Yachts
Shamoun, 108′, Klaasen
Sojana, 115’, Custom Farr Ketch
Symmetry, 96’, Yachting Development
Timoneer, 147′, Vitters
Unfurled, 112′, Royal Huisman
Varsovie, 100′, Swan
Virago, 100′, Swan
Whisper, 116′, Holland Jachtbouw
Windcrest, 98’, Hodgdon Yachts
Windrose, 152′, Holland Jachtbouw