“There is no better regatta in the entire world than the St. Barths Bucket,” said Mike Slade, owner of the super maxi ICAP Leopard, when he was on stage receiving “The Hard Hat Award.” And what is the Hard Hat Award? It doesn’t really matter. With the Bucket Regattas, winning is not everything. The Escargot Award for the last in fleet, and the Skullduggery Award get the same rounds of applause as First, Second and Third. Well, almost. This year there were nearly 40 entries—all stunning world-class vessels—in the fleet. Three days of racing combined with champagne and shenanigans made for a festive atmosphere. The owners of the new S/Y Marie flew four vintage WW II planes down from Texas to put on an air show for the racers every day after the finish.
St. Barths’ president, Bruno Magras, took the stage at the awards this year. He enthused about the planes and thanked the organizers and participants for returning year after year, as the most important annual event on this small French island.
St. Barths is the Saint-Tropez of the Caribbean, attracting the rich and the famous from Hollywood to Hanover. The waters are deliciously turquoise and the sun is always shining. Combine French food, fashion and constant trade winds with mega sailing yachts, and arguably, you do indeed have “the best sailing regatta in the world.” This year marks the 25th year of the Bucket Regattas (Bucket as in champagne bucket…not a tub of a boat). The very first challenge took place in Nantucket, Mass., starting a friendly wager among a handful of owners who decided to see whose boat was faster. The idea caught on. The roster of yachts this year ranged from J-Class, Ranger and Hanuman, to the giants, 75m Mirabella V and the 88m Maltese Falcon to the sweet 27m Bequia. While there are always many repeat Bucketeers, several newcomers were on hand: the brand-new Pendennis Christopher had barely finished sea trials in England before bee-lining it for the Bucket; Huisman’s Ethereal and Twizzle were also on the list of first timers. The Bucket List gets bigger every year. It’s all about fantastic sailing and fun, fun, fun! ■
LES Grande Dames/Cruising
Les Elegantes/Classic Class