St. Barths Bucket Regatta

Gorgeous yachts, an island paradise — no wonder an invitation to the hard-racing, hard-playing St. Barths Bucket Regatta is every yachtsman’s dream.

St. Barths Bucket Regatta
There's a secret to the success of the St. Barths Bucket Regatta and it’s probably not what you think. Stunning yachts? Yes. Gorgeous scenery? True. Fiercely competitive sailing? An understatement. Yet what makes the St. Barths Bucket Regatta the most highly coveted invitation in sailing circles are the demands it places some Type-As with pockets deep enough to always get their way. The mandate: Bring your multimillion-dollar yacht, and your handpicked sailors, but if you’re not coming to have a great time, stay home! Setting the stage for all future Bucket endeavors, the first regatta came about after a night of inebriated celebration in Nantucket, Massachusetts, in August 1986. Roger Janes, captain of the 82- foot Huisman ketch Volordor, Peter Goldstein, owner and captain of the 65-foot Derecktor sloop Flying Goose; and John Clyde Smith, captain of the 92-foot Bill Garden-designed sloop Mandalay were enthusiastically toasting Mandalay owner Nelson Doubleday's birthday. Naturally, some trash-talking occurred, some boasts were floated, and the nautical gauntlet was thrown down. The next day, history was made as seven yachts sailed the first Nantucket Bucket, a 15-mile course around Nantucket Sound.Billy Black
St. Barths Bucket Regatta
The winter Bucket in St. Barths began in 1995 with a fleet of four yachts, including the 131-foot ketch Sariyah, Tom Taylor's 108-foot Ron Holland ketch Gleam, the Alden-designed 127-foot ketch Parlay and Nelson Doubleday's 130-foot Palmer Johnson ketch Mandalay. In 2002, the summer Bucket moved to Newport, where it's been sponsored by Newport Shipyard and watched over by race committee members Hank Halsted, Ian Craddock and Tim Laughridge ever since. The Bucket is a pursuit-style race, with each yacht assigned its own time on a clear starting line for safety. Start times are calibrated to each yacht’s speed handicap, and the first yacht to cross the finish line is the winner. The Bucket is funded exclusively by the marine industry and provides a fantastic opportunity for networking, though overt marketing or wheeling and dealing are discouraged. At the Bucket, the rule is: It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s whether you can play well with your peers._ -Mary South_ Didn’t get an invitation to the Bucket this year? Check out these gorgeous photos by Billy Black.Billy Black
St. Barths Bucket Regatta
The 1930 M/Y Atlantide checks out the action — she is only one of the many gorgeous yachts that come to watch the bucket.Billy Black
St. Barths Bucket Regatta
The crew of the 38-meter Perini Navi P2, which was launched in 2008, focuses on the chase as they attempt to gain on Barracuda.Billy Black
St. Barths Bucket Regatta
P2's red spinnaker is not a sight competitor's like to see coming up from behind.Billy Black
St. Barths Bucket Regatta
The race takes the fleet past several small islands.Billy Black
St. Barths Bucket Regatta
Mr. A., P2's owner, holds the code flag on the backstay.Billy Black
St. Barths Bucket Regatta
P2's race strategist Maurice Kurg ponders the next move.Billy Black
St. Barths Bucket Regatta
The J-Class Ranger is beautiful underway but she is also a racing machine — she took the Bucket at the 2010 regatta.Billy Black
St. Barths Bucket Regatta
The fleet couldn’t have had more perfect weather for the 2010 Bucket.Billy Black
St. Barths Bucket Regatta
This view across Gustavia, from behind the Anglican church.Billy Black
St. Barths Bucket Regatta
Mr. A., accepting an award for_ P2_, which came in third overall in 2010.Billy Black
St. Barths Bucket Regatta
The 154-foot Perini Navi Antares as she passed a classic spectator.Billy Black