St. Barths Bucket

Saint Barthelemy, French West Indies

Today was day 1 of the 2016 Super Yacht Bucket.  I am sailing onboard Rosehearty with Joey Kempfer for the third time in a year.  36 Super Yachts are here racing divided into 5 classes.  Super yachts are yacht more that 100 feet in length and typically quite luxurious. Rosehearty is a 182′ long catch, built by Perini Navi in Viareggio, Italy in 2006.

The J-Boats had ether own class then the rest of the fleet is divided up according to vintage and performance.  Rosehearty is in the “Grande Dammes” class. The other classes are names like Gazelles and Mademoiselle.

The wind was 15 knots from the East with a flat sea but long swell underneath.

The racing here at the Bucket is pursuit racing.  This means that the lowest rated boat starts first and all the subsequent starts are delayed by the handicap of the yacht multiplied by the length of the course in nautical miles.  So a yacht that “owes” a smaller yacht 10 seconds per mile will start 150 seconds behind the smaller yacht on a 15 mile course.  Then, the order in which the yachts cross the finish line is the finishing order.

The course today was counterclockwise around the Island. All the boats in our class started well. This means they are on time and right on the line at their respective starting signals.  It is not easy to maneuver these 500 tonnes yachts and hit the line at full speed right on time.

Onboard Rosehearty, we have Peter Holmberg steering this regatta and I am in my usual role as tactician.  Pete got us a perfect start and did a good job of keeping our height so we could keep clear air of the yachts in front of us on the 15 minute port tack.

In various ways we passed all 5 of the yachts that started in front of us by the end of the 30 minute windward leg.  We held our lead on the run down the north side of St. Barths.  Seahawk, Perseus  and Ohana who are all fast and started behind us were gaining on us.  Up the last windward leg, Ohana sailed closer to the wind that we could and closed to within two boat lengths at the finish.  It was a bit more exciting that we had hoped but nonetheless, Rosehearty got the win!

Then Perseus and Seahawks finished overlapped!  From the results of today’s race, it looks like the handicaps are pretty good in our class.

Tomorrow we will probably have a running start and go clockwise around the island. The forecast is for more of the perfect Caribbean conditions.

I’ll try to get some photos of this spectacle for my report tomorrow.