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St Bart's Bucket A Win-Win Event


  • St Bart's Bucket A Win-Win Event

    Day 1

    Sailing counterclockwise around the island in an 18-25 knot northerly, 25 Superyachts sailed their first of three racing days at the St. Barths Bucket Regatta 2023. The testing conditions forced three entries to withdraw due to equipment failure and some to limp across the finish line; however, others seemed to have the luck of the Irish with them (after all, today is St. Patrick’s Day) and spun that into gold over the 20-26 nautical mile courses that were assigned to each of five classes.

    “After our light-air training this week, today was a wake-up call, but expected,” said Tom Whidden, helmsman for the smallest yacht in the fleet, the 28 metre ketch Bequia, which won Les Mademoiselles. “It was really rough in the corner on the other side of the island, on the way to the rock (a natural mark of the course named Ile Fourchue), but we were happy with the crew work and the boat management.” Whidden has won the Bucket before on Bequia and twice more on different entries (including Kawil, last year). He added with a chuckle, “You see, the captains of these boats tell you they will kill you if you break anything, so you have to be careful with your resources.” (Kawil, sailing this year against Whidden’s team, retired due to a headstay furler that broke near Ile Fourche.)

    Peter King, navigator aboard the 52 metre sloop Red Dragon, which won L’Esprit 1, said his team “didn’t have the best start but made up for it later and didn’t break anything.” This is King’s fifth time competing in the Bucket and first time sailing in the “Corinthian Spirit” class. More important, it is the first time Red Dragon has ever raced period, so the yacht’s owner is delighted. “The owner loves to drive, so he drove the whole time and did a great job,” said King.

    “Nothing broken, no mistakes,” was navigator Steve Hayles’ quick take on how his team aboard Wisp, a 48 metre sloop, won Les Elegantes. “It was not complicated. We had a good period of training (three days), a nice start and a simple strategy.” Of the misfortune that befell some others on the racecourse, he said, “Big boats can be unreliable when you’re asking them to do things they don’t want to do.”

    The 44 metre schooner Columbia, a thing of classic beauty on the race course, logged a record 43.5 degree of heel on its way to victory in L’esprit 2. “We were taking a lot of water over the deck but we were under control,” said guest crew Jakob Havrlant, who counts this as his first Bucket but says it won’t be his last. “Some of the sloops were catching us upwind, but we were a reaching machine on the other legs. It was a perfect race for us.”

    With heavy-air conditions expected to hold throughout the regatta’s two remaining races – one each scheduled for Saturday and Sunday – it’s anyone’s guess which teams will endure to become final class victors.

    For complete report visit:

    A Win Win At St Bart's Bucket -

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