With a cracking breeze and blue skies, racing got underway on Friday at the annual St Barth's Bucket regatta. While the three J Class yachts had already enjoyed a taste of competition on Thursday - where Ranger pipped Velsheda and Topaz to take an early lead in the series - today proved the first taste of racing proper for the rest of the extensive fleet taking part.
The race committee set an anti-clockwise round the island course, with the yachts starting at staggered intervals according to their ratings for the breezy conditions. A challenging first beat to the south was matched by a tricky last beat to the finish, where a slight windshift offered a last-minute challenge for tacticians.
"We just had the thrill of the Antigua Superyacht Challenge regatta, which was our first competition," beamed Andrew Collins, new owner of the yacht Tenaz (below). "We're really enjoying the Bucket. We're only at the beginning so I can't wait to see what the social side has to offer - it's very exciting. We were on the boat today and looking out and thinking 'it doesn't get much better than this!'. When you get beautiful weather like this we are very fortunate and it's lovely to be able to experience it and share it."
The class winners for the first day of racing were the new Vitters 46m Unfurled in Class A, Ganesha in Class B, Axia in Class C, Freya in Class D and Rosehearty in Class E, while Velsheda (below) overturned yesterday's J Class race to take first ahead of Ranger.
All photographs by Tim Thomas / The Superyacht Group
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