6 of the best photos from St Barths Bucket 2018

The venue

One of the world’s most famous sailing regattas, the St Barths Bucket returned to Gustavia harbour earlier this month (March 15-18). Less than seven months after Hurricane Irma devastated the Caribbean, this was an emotionally charged event, with the organisers keen to demonstrate to the world that St Barths is back. Although there is still work to do to completely restore the island to its former glory, the 2018 edition of the Bucket was widely hailed as a huge success.

Photo: Michael Kurtz

The fleet

An impressive line-up of 26 superyachts converged on St Barths, including the 78.4 metre M5 (pictured above right), which is the world’s largest sloop-rigged sailing yacht. She lost out in the Corinthian class Les Voiles Blanche to the 33 metre Missy (pictured above, left) which was delivered by Vitters as recently as November 2016.

Speaking on March 18, captain Matthew McKeon revealed: “This was the owner’s first-ever regatta and he helmed the boat the whole time.”

Photo: Jeff Brown / Breed Media

The action

Les Mademoiselles del Mers was one of the most hotly contested classes at St Barths 2018, with five entrants. One of the most recognisable is the 32 metre Southern Ocean Marine sloop Danneskjold, with her distinctive sail wardrobe. This dramatic shot by Jeff Brown shows the helmsman giving her a throrough workout.

However, it was the 31.78 metre Southern Wind sailing yacht Farfalla that came out on top in this class. Captain Richard Chadburn said: “This is the owner’s first sailboat (acquired in 2014) and this is our sixth regatta. It has been an adventure, and he’s been loving the racing. This is our second year tightening things up for regattas and our first victory, so he’s super happy.”

Photo: Jeff Brown / Breed Media

The spinnakers

There can be few sights more spectacular than a spinnaker in full flight and this shot by Jeff Brown captures the 56 metre Perini Navi ketch Rosehearty going head to head with the 32.97 metre Alloy Yachts sloop Marae in Les Grandes Dames des Mers. These two were the only yachts to trade places in the class, with Whisper, Blue Too and Zenji finishing consistently in first, second and fifth respectively.

Reflecting on a clean sweep, Hap Fauth, owner and helmsman of Whisper, said: “We started last out of everybody in our fleet every day. With the big Perini Navis like Rosehearty, you know she’s much faster and that in 15 knots, the boat’s going to be gone, but we were lucky the breeze dropped off into the 10-knot range. That’s our sweet spot.

Whisper points very well and she’s a light-air flyer because we’re overpowered; it’s as simple as that. The boat can only go tops 12 knots, but we can do that when it’s blowing seven knots.”

Photo: Jeff Brown / Breed Media

The J Class

Always a memorable sight wherever they sail, three members of the J Class fleet raced at St Barths 2018. On paper, Svea’s victory may seem straightforward, with four wins out of five and a six-point lead, but in reality the newest member of the fleet was pushed hard by restored original Velsheda.

Photo: Jeff Brown / Breed Media

The winners

It wouldn’t be St Barths without a packed social calendar, giving the winners plenty of opportunity to celebrate in style. As well as the Svea team (pictured above) there was champagne aplenty for the crew of Nilaya and Sojana, who Les Gazelles des Mers and Les Elegantes des Mers respectively.

Will Oxley, navigator of Nilaya, summed up the thoughts of many by saying: “It was great weather, and this is a wonderful place. It’s a credit to the island that they came back from the hurricane in the way they did. The camaraderie and hospitality have been wonderful.”

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