Race Day Two offered another fantastic day at the Saint Barths Bucket. In a sharp contrast to yesterdays’ wash out, Saturday dawned hot as well as sunny, with but a few dark clouds to reminded everybody what they weren’t missing.
“Today might be one of the epic Bucket Races of all time” exclaimed Bucket Founder and Antara guest helmsman Capt. Ian “Crash” Craddock. Truer words have never been spoken! By now, after a few days of working and partying hard, everyone is feeling a little tired, but judging from the huge crowd, and extremely happy faces at the Bucket Bash BBQ, the sheer thrill of viewing and participating in such a phenomenal race kept spirits way up. Or was that the endlessly flowing spirits keeping spirits going? Either way, there was a lot of celebrating on.
Besides the sunshine, a steadily freshening breeze brought this massive fleet just what it needed to move around the “Not So Wiggly” course at a quick and exciting clip. Capt. Timmy Laughridge, another Bucket Founder, and for this race driving Perini Navi superyacht Parsifal III, commented on the spectacular start. “A downwind start, with a good breeze is a great way to start a race, we don’t see that much! In Les Grandes Dames, Parsifal III again brought in a solid first in class, and is in now in fourth overall. The charter yacht Panthalassa edged into 2nd place, while the charter yacht Axia, showing their usual indomidable spirit, hung in there at 3rd place.
Les Elegantes had a hell of day. None of this thirteen-strong class, a beautiful mix of modern and older classics, which included the sailing yacht Athos, the luxury yacht Adela, the charter yacht Whisper, the William Tai superyacht and the charter yacht Meteor, could have been more excited than the crew on the luxury charter yacht This Is Us¸one of the many lovely Hoek designs here, built by Holland Jachtbouw. Highly experienced yacht regatta veteran and guest helmsman Patrick Wetter was visibly elated –as well he should be – sweeping to first place in both class and overall a full five minutes a full five minutes ahead of 34m Alloy sailing yacht Blue Too, a design by the always classic Ron Holland. In a surprising move, one of the smallest Bucket boats, sentimental favorite Olin Stephens design, Bequia brought in a solid third.
Les Mademoiselles class,dominated by a clutch of gorgeous Dubois designs, were also in their element. It was another battle for the top spots, but the 43m Vitters sailing yacht Lady B swept her class again, while dropping to third place overall. Tony Mitchell, who comes all the way from New Zealand several times per year to race in the Salperton III superyacht, was “very happy for the owner”, yacht regatta veteran Barry Houghton. Salperton III, and her sister ship the charter yacht Ganesha, both built at New Zealands’ Fitzroy are still proving highly competitive, with Ganesha nipping at Salperton’s heels to come in a close 3rd.
The Not So Wiggly Course offers multiple opportunities to view this spectacular fleet up close and personal, but the sights to be seen at the top mark were especially thrilling, with up to eight of these seriously big yachts abreast at one time. Part of the thrill as either competitor or guest is the inevitable fear factor of what could happen if anyone made a mistake – but so far, so good. As Capt. Crash put it, “this race is a testament to the seamanship capabilities of the whole fleet.”
As could be imagined, Les Gazelles had a field day, storming through the rest of fleet in her longer course. What a sight to behold, with the sailing yacht Velsheda, the Unfurled superyacht, the charter yacht Ranger, and the luxury charter yacht Endeavor and the charter yacht Virago battling it out. The results in winning order were the charter yacht Mari Cha III, the charter yacht P2, and the luxury yacht Firefly. It’s still an incredibly thrilling experience to see these J’s up close and personal, yet competing with the rest of her class. Wow, Wow, Wow!
Tom Hutchinson of Future Fibers, another veteran Bucketeer, sailing on the This Is Us yacht, summed up this wonderful day perfectly, saying “sometimes you race well without a good result, and sometimes you race well and get the result you want. Today was about as good as it gets – good racing and great results!”
Today, Saint Barths Bucket race day three, is the ‘Round the Island the Other Direction” course, and with a good breeze already freshening, and more brilliant sunshine brightening everything up, should make this another great day out on the water. Tonight, the Prize Giving should be as epic as the Bucket has been.