In spite of the many challenges posed by hurricane Irma, there was never a doubt that the 24th edition of the St Barth Bucket Regatta would set sail on March 14-18.
“In the immediate aftermath of two epic storms, the Bucket stewards made a commitment to the 2018 Bucket, despite many unknowns in those early days,” said event manager Jeanne Kleene. “A number of captains contacted us, expressing their owner’s concerns for the island and promising to participate this year. The stewards and yacht owners understood that a robust Bucket was the best way to support our friends in St Barth.”
The 26 yachts in this year’s regatta raced in six classes: Les Gazelles de la Mer, Les Elegantes de la Mer; Les Mademoiselles de la Mer; Les Grandes Dames de la Mer; Les Voiles Blanche, and J Class. The overall winner was Nilaya, a 34-meter Baltic Yacht designed by Reichel Pugh, which was also the winner in the Gazelles class.
“It’s never easy when you have sailors like those on Unfurled constantly breathing down your neck; we were constantly looking over our shoulder. All week a convergence line existed over the top of the island and out to the lee, and our tactician Stu Bannatyne did a great job at recognizing this. It helped our performance for sure,” said Will Oxley, Nilaya’s navigator. “The owner, Filiep Balcaen, steered and did a great job, with his son Louis steering sometimes, too. It was this boat’s best regatta performance against the others here. We were all very close all the time. We had nine miles to go in today’s (Sunday) race, and Unfurled was only two and a half minutes behind us. It was great weather, and this is a wonderful place. It’s a credit to the island that they came back from the hurricane in the way they did. The camaraderie and hospitality have been wonderful.”
Local artist Kay Quattrocchi created a new trophy, presented by president Bruno Magras to the first-time-ever local St. Barths entry, the 32-meter Child of LIR. The All Star Crew Award, for the peer-recognized yacht that most focuses on professionalism and fun, was presented by Rybovich’s Carlos Vidueira to the yacht Rebecca, while the Wolter Huisman Memorial Award, given to the yacht that stands out as competing in the true spirit of the event, was presented by Royal Huisman’s Jaap Gelling to Visione. Perini Navi’s Edoardo Tabacchi presented the Perini Navi Cup to Rosehearty. Of the three exceptional J Boats, the winner was Svea, followed by Velsheda and Topaz.
Every year the Bucket makes a $20,000 donation to a worthy charity on the island. This year, that donation was made in September 2017, immediately following hurricane Irma to help with the overall recovery of the island. An additional 11,200 euros was added to that effort, with 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the official Bucket poster via Space SBH Gallery.
For information on all winners and Bucket news, visit: bucket regatta.com