Largest St. Barth fleet ever at the St. Barth Bucket
The 2012 St Barth Bucket got off to a soggy start with a day of pouring rain on Friday, March 23rd, but skies were sunny for the rest of the weekend, with great racing conditions for the fleet.
Peter Craig, of Premiere Racing, served as race director with Bucket committee members Ian Craddock and Tim Laughridge lending a hand along with Jim Teeters, who supervised the yacht rating system. A crew of volunteers and the staff of the Port of Gustavia also made sure things ran smoothly for the hundreds of people who came to Saint Barth for the Bucket.
With 47 sailboats over 100ft in length – the largest Bucket fleet to date – organizers decided at the last minute to add a fourth category: Les Mademoiselles des Mers, in addition to Les Grandes Dames des Mers; Les Elegantes des Mers and Les Gazelles des Mers. As a result, the ten yachts designed by Ed Dubois almost had their own class, with just one Frers yacht joining in. This allowed four boats to win the individual classes: Parsifal III for Les Grandes Dames; Lady B for Les Mademoiselles (also second overall) and Mari-Cha III for Les Gazelles. The 42m Holland Jachtbouw-built, This Is Us, topped Les Elegantes.
Endeavour, one of the four magnificent J-boats in the regatta took top honors in a J-boat prologue on Thursday March 22nd, edging out Ranger, Hanuman, and Velsheda.
The 45m Dubois yacht Lady B won the first day’s around-the-island race, while Dirk Cavens’ This Is Us dominated on day two and day three, to clench the overall victory.
Cavens, who spoke in both French and English at the awards ceremony (he hails from Belgium) joked that he and his wife had discussed buying a boat or a house in St Tropez, and he was glad they bought the boat. “I would like to thank the other 46 boats in the Bucket for their incredible sportsmanship,” he said.
Captain Robin Winn, who has been with This Is Us for 18 months, added: “Every day was fantastic, the Bucket has an amazing setup and gets better every year, they work so hard and there is an amazing ambiance.”
In addition to the racing awards, the Bucket has a slew of other awards including the ‘Escargot Cup’ for the slowest boat, which this year went to the 50m Perini Navi, Barracuda. (The actual can of snails was not returned by last year’s winner.)
As part of their commitment to the community of Saint Barth, the Bucket traditionally makes a contribution to a worthy island project. This year, they donated 23,500 Euros toward the renovation of a traditional Caribbean house where the island’s nuns have lived. This money will help complete the work so they can move back to their home.
‘The Bucket Book: A Celebration of Megayacht Racing’ was on sale during the regatta. Commissioned by Tim Laughridge and produced by Concepts Publishing, Inc., the book celebrates 25 years of unique mega-yacht competition and features superb images of boats racing in the Bucket Regattas. The book brings the event to life with quotes and reminiscences from yacht owners, crew, sponsors, and Bucket fans. Copies can be ordered on line at the Bucket website.
In spite of the rainy start, and a few accidents (one sailor was hospitalized and the largest boat in the fleet, the 67m Baltic Yacht, Hetairos, hit some rocks and had to withdraw), the 2012 Bucket was a fabulous event, especially in terms of safety for such a large fleet of big boats.
For a list of winners and awards, visit: www.bucketregattas.com
Ellen Lampert-Gréaux lives in Saint Barthélemy where she is editor-in-chief of Harbour Magazine. She writes about entertainment design and technology for Live Design magazine, and about Caribbean architecture for MACO, a Trinidad-based lifestyle magazine.