The last nautical event of the season in Saint Barth is the annual New Year's Eve Regatta, which sets sail on the morning of December 31, as a kick-off to the island's holiday festivities. This year, the 2010 New Year's Eve Regatta will mark the 16th anniversary of this event, which is organized by Mark del Guidice, along with the staff from the Saint Barth Yacht Club and the Port of Gustavia.
Last year's event was smaller than usual, a result of the global financial crisis no doubt. But for del Guidice, this year is shaping up nicely: "The economy seems to be on the rebound," he says, at least for the boat owners. "We are anticipating a very busy holiday season in St Barth. This could be the biggest turn out for the regatta – weather permitting!"
Last year's winner, the 137-foot (41.5m) J boat Hanuman, a replica of Endeavour II built in 1937 (and named after the Hindu monkey god), will be back to defend its title. Designed by naval architects Dykstra and Partners, Hanuman was built at the Royal Huisman shipyard, and launched in March 2009. With a time of one hour and 55 minutes, even the mighty Hanuman did not beat the record set for mono-hulls in 2004 by the 147-foot (44.5m) Baltic yacht, Visione, which completed the course in one hour, 32 minutes, 7 seconds.
Perhaps this year one of the big boats will finally beat that record. In addition to Hanuman, other entries include Twizzle, a 190-foot (57.5m) Dubois Design yacht and Saline, an 80-foot (24m) Swan. Local boats of all sizes also take part, starting with some little guys as small as 21 feet (6.3m) who love the chance to race around the island in the company of world-class yachts, making the last event of 2010 is the perfect way to sail into 2011.
Ellen Lampert-Gréaux lives in Saint Barthélemy where she is editor-in-chief of Harbour Magazine, and has been a regular contributor to All At Sea since 2000. She also writes regularly about entertainment design and technology for Live Design magazine, and about Caribbean architecture for MACO, a Trinidad-based lifestyle magazine.