Taking place this weekend, the 30th edition of the St Barths Bucket has debuted the ‘Corinthian Spirit Class’ – the SuperYacht Racing Association (SYRA)’s latest initiative to encourage more yachts to get involved in superyacht racing – which intends to create a more relaxed approach to regattas for owners and captains.
The new class emphasises close, fun racing, featuring reduced regatta expenses, streamlined access to a superyacht handicap, and minimal impact on the yacht captain's resources in the lead up to regattas.
Four yachts, consisting of Bayesian, Escapade, Koo and Q, are participating in the new class in St Barths this weekend, which involves modified eligibility criteria. With no spinnakers and simplified courses, the need for a big race crew has lessened, and the handicapping philosophy for the new class also eliminates the need to optimise the yacht for racing.
Sailing on board Escapade on day two of the Bucket, SuperyachtNews was able to speak to the owner, Mr E, about his thoughts on the new initiative. “The Corinthian Spirit Class allows owners to try regattas for the first time without having to do a lot of preparation and hire lots of extra crew,” he explains.
“It has been perfect for us as the regatta happened to be taking place just as we were coming back from our circumnavigation, so we wouldn’t have had time to prepare for entering the regatta properly. This way I can try it out and then next year maybe the boat will participate with the main fleet.”
From a logistical and cost perspective, Guy Waddilove of 8 Yachts, Escapade’s management company, adds that the Corinthian class is more simple. “It makes a big difference having to book accommodation and flights for two race crew as opposed to 10,” he says.
As for his first regatta, Mr E is enjoying the special atmosphere and location that St Barths has to offer. “It is also important as a gathering of the different sectors of the industry,” he explains. “This is the first time I have come into contact with so many other owners and it allows us to discuss issues and exchange ideas.”
The sailing yacht sector welcomes new yachts on the water every year, yet stakeholders agree that there is a need to broaden the appeal of superyacht regattas in order to stimulate further growth. Recognising this need, the new Corinthian class has the primary goal of attracting new yacht owners to the circuit and growing participation. From what we have seen so far, it offers an appealing alternative to what is viewed by some as increasingly competitive and resource intensive racing.
A full interview with the owner of Escapade will appear in an upcoming issue of The Superyacht Report. Click here to subscribe.
Image courtesy of Jeff Brown | Breed Media
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