Day 1 – St. Barths Bucket Regatta – As the Winch Turns

17 Mar 2017 – St. Barths Bucket Regatta – Barby MacGowan – While some Bucketeers started practicing as early as Monday (especially the J Class sailors who started their regatta a day before the rest of the teams), others began later in the week, with their rides arriving one-by-one until the inner and outer harbors of Gustavia were completely packed out. The Huckleberry crew was among those that used Thursday as a blitz practice day. “We have a huge brain trust and fathomless talent aboard,” said crew Hank Halsted. “Everyone here knows boats inside and out, so we’re feeling good!” Halsted should know how to measure what it takes to win a Bucket; he was a participant and an organizer of the event for many years and, along with Ian Craddock (an event founder sailing on Rosehearty), may just have the longest history with this event of anyone here.

You can learn a lot walking the docks during Bucket mornings, like “Hey, today’s St. Patrick’s Day, don’t you remember?” The Perseus^3 crew didn’t get any pinches on Sunday, since they went the extra mile to be green. Their ride has the tallest rig here at 75 metres off the water. In fact, the sloop Perseus^3 has the third tallest mast in the world. ​​That’s impressive until you see Maltese Falcon and ask about its self-standing rotating carbon fiber masts. So much carbon was used in the building of them in 2003 that it drove the price of carbon up worldwide. Supposedly two years’ worth of the world’s carbon was reserved for it, more than the amount typically reserved by the U.S. military for its own new builds.

In the superyacht world, you leave your shoes on the dock, and at last night’s owners’ party guests were handed a claim check for theirs and a glass of bubbly before being invited to walk barefoot down a red carpet to board Coral Ocean, a breathtaking 72.5 metre power yacht with five massive decks perfect for an equally massive cocktail party. Interestingly, the yacht’s furnishings and Polynesian/African motif have not changed in 23 years since it was built by Lurssen Yachts, nor have its contemporary lines, proving its designer, the late Jon Bannenberg, was a forward out-of-the-box thinker. Topping off the festive evening were fabulous fireworks exploding over Gustavia Harbor: something everyone on St. Barths could enjoy.

When Stan Honey, navigator aboard Hanuman, encountered old friend Jim Capron on the docks, he told his Bucket comrade walking with him, “This is a man you want to meet but don’t want to see.” He was talking about Jim Capron, Chief Judge, the head honcho in charge of hearings ashore when sailors can’t see eye-to-eye on the race course. Capron’s counter to Honey’s friend: “Except for a beer!.” (Note that Capron drinks water on the job, as seen here with his fellow juror Jerome Chedevill). Joining to make four on the jury (if ever there are protests to be heard– after all, this is honorable, friendly Bucket racing), are J Class’ Chief Umpire Alfredo Ricci and Umpire Bill O’Hara, who are doing double time on the J Class course and the jury. “Having a committee with representation from USA, France, Ireland and Italy is certainly in keeping with the international nature of this event,” added Capron.

 

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