Helios and the Maltese Falcon at the Bucket
The annual St. Barths Bucket is always a big deal in the megayacht sailing realm. Open only to yachts measuring 100 feet and larger, it attracts competitors at heart but emphasizes fun and safety above all. This year’s race, from March 22 to 25, is particularly interesting, presenting some impressive statistics as well as challenges.
First, this year’s St. Barths Bucket has attracted an all-time high number of participants: 47, up from 40 last year. Second, 10 of the 47 racers are built by Perini Navi, the most ever from one yacht builder. They include Andromeda la Dea, Barracuda, Fidelis, Panthalassa, and P2. Equally important, this year’s Bucket includes a good mix of sloops, schooners, and ketches.
To keep the racing competitive, yet to allow yachts that perform similar to one another sail against each other, there are four classes, up from three last year. The first, Les Elegantes des Mers, is a category comprised mostly of schooners, though a few traditional sloops and ketches are also in it. Its 12 competitors include Meteor, Athos, Adela, and Windcrest. Next is Les Gazelles des Mers. As “gazelle” implies, these 13 sailing yachts are swift and more performance-oriented. The classic J-Class yachts Endeavour and Velsheda are competing in this category, as are two replica Js, Ranger and Hanuman. Then there’s Les Grandes Dames des Mers and Les Madamoiselles des Mers. The former typically includes cruising-oriented yachts and is comprised of 10 competitors, where all but one are Perini Navis. (That one, by the way: Axia, a Palmer Johnson build from 1991.) Ten of the 11 yachts vying in the Les Madamoiselles class are, interesting enough, sloops, such as Ganesha, Hyperion, and Bliss. Further of note: Nine of those 10 were designed by Dubois Naval Architects.
Daily Bucket Blogs are being posted at the St. Barths Bucket website, along with racing recaps.