25 September 2016

1 Apr 2014

'Marie' ticks one off the Bucket List


With winds of up to 27 knots, big swell, and boats being pushed near to their limits, St Barths Bucket 2014 has been exciting to say the least. The weather and sea state has left its mark over the last few days, as many boats and their crews have been left with a significant repair list in the wake of the racing.

The second day in particular, saw seven yachts with ripped kites and, after Hetairos' grounding in the 2012 Bucket, history was repeated when Seahawk hit the bottom during the rounding of one of the rocks.

This time, fortunately, it was the boat's centreboard that made contact with the bottom and the damage was not quite so severe so the yacht was able to continue racing.

Lady B on the downwind leg of the 'wrong way round the island course'

But the number of incidents didn't lead to any dampened spirits. I joined the teams on board Clan VIII, Twizzle and Lady B over the course of the event and the atmospheres on board were all focused on fun competition, which meant all hands on deck. Clan VIII's owner was back at the Bucket after his first regatta in 2012, when the mistakes of race crew on board led to a costly list of repairs. This had left him with a negative feeling in the wake of the Bucket but, having made the crossing from Palma just for the regatta, and equipped with a trustworthy and experienced crew, his passion for racing is back in full force, admitting that the enjoyment of regattas like this is in the competition.
"It's a lot of fun," he tells me. "We want to beat all of the other Perini Navis; Silencio and Seahawk are our two main rivals." And this competitiveness shone through during the race. It was great to see an owner so involved with the racing and mucking in with the crew wherever he could.

Mr and Mrs Hines, owners of Lady B, have been coming to the Bucket for four years and are excellent examples of owners that fully embrace the spirit of the event. "We have had a wonderful time here," they tell me. "Competing is fun and bringing a group of friends here - it really becomes a high point of their year. That is why we do it again and again - because our friends enjoy it so much. We try to bring different people on board each year."

Mr Hines at the helm with Captain Bailey.

But Mr Hines admits that there is also a business aspect to the regatta that he enjoys. "It's also great to see the new boats that have come out, find out how they are being built, interchange with all the yachting people that I have done business with and hear what they are doing; you might need to build a new boat in the future, so that is always on my mind."

The racing this year was divided into four classes of yachts based on the rating they had been given by the SYRA rating system. Altair won the victory for the Grands Dame class, Bequia took home the prize in the Mademoiselle class, Marie for the Elegantes and Nilaya  won in the Gazelle class. The overall winner of the 2014 Bucket was Marie, who sailed spectacularly throughout the three days of racing and was always a hot topic of conversation on the docks for continually managing to overtake the rest of the fleet in the pursuit-style races.

The prize giving, which took place on Sunday evening, had a buzzing atmosphere and the majority of boats were able to take home a trophy for their efforts and enthusiasm throughout the Bucket. The annual 'Skull Duggary' award was given to Parsifal III for the amusing team t-shirts that they had been sporting around the docks at Gustavia. One new award, the 'Golden Pineapple', which saw yachts compete to host the best parties parties in Friday night's yacht hop, was awarded to Seahawk who had queues of guests the whole night, due to their fantastic show of dancing and music.

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St Barths Bucket

Perini Navi


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