St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

by  Barby MacGowan

The second day of the Bucket Regatta saw six new winners in six classes after the 38-strong fleet sailed a long “Not So Wiggly” course around and through the smaller islands and prominent rock formations lying to the north and west of St. Barths. Performances turned in by the victors (Unfurled, SPIIP, Axia, Rosehearty, Koo and Hanuman) also translated into new teams atop the leaderboard in four of the five pursuit classes as well as the J Class when cumulative scores were tallied.  
After yesterday’s race around the island, Rosehearty sat in third in Grandes Dames as did Unfurled in Gazelles. Both are defending champions and made a point of saying they were far from being counted out. Unfurled’s victory today put her in second overall, only one point behind yesterday’s leader WinWin, while Rosehearty’s gave her a tied point score with Meteor for first (tie-breaker rules give the nod to Rosehearty) and dropped yesterday’s leader Perseus^3 to third.

 Even with all the “ins and outs” of the course, Rosehearty never put her spinnaker up. “It was pretty windy (18-20 knots), and we had broken our spinnaker earlier in the week, so it was a risk vs. reward thing,” said Rosehearty’s tactician Paul Cayard. “We had good tactics and lay lines, sailed in all the right places and were able to hold everybody off without it.” Cayard saw Perseus^3 deploy its kite and have some problems, which may have contributed to the team’s fourth-place finish. “The angles just weren’t right for us to put it up; it was a little painful to go slow but the right thing to do when racing these boats.”

 Near the end of the race, two boats from another class were ahead of Rosehearty, slowing it down, while Meteor was advancing quickly from behind. “We focused on staying in front of Meteor; otherwise, they were going to pass us and they’d be winning the regatta.” 

St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

 In Les Voiles Blanche class, Koo also stakes her first-place position on a tied overall point score with yesterday’s leader Q,  while in the Elegantes, P2 trails leader SPIPP by only four points for second, tied on point score with Sojana.

 P2’s tactician Tony Rey said his team spent last night repairing a spinnaker that blew out yesterday, causing the team to start their three-race series with a fifth-place finish. “The pressure is higher when you are dealing with your own adversity,” he said with a chuckle this morning before racing, “but today will be windy and not so wiggly. This is a course that separates the men from the boys. It sounds innocuous and benign, but it’s plenty wiggly for these boats.”

 In Mademoiselles, today’s winner Axia, also a defending champion, is now in third overall, tied in scoring with two others behind her, while Adela stands between her and overall leader Wisp from yesterday. According to Axia’s tactician Robbie Doyle, his team’s seventh yesterday hurt them, but mathematically, it’s still possible for them to win. “Wisp has to make a mistake, but mistakes are made, as we’ve proven,” he said.

St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

 The J Class had a glorious day of sailing, starting off with a thrilling 2.5 nm downwind leg. Yesterday’s leader Velsheda suffered a penalty after the start, clearing the way for Hanuman to lead the entire way around the 26-mile course.

 All to say, there are no runaway winners going into tomorrow’s final day of racing when a race around the island, this time clockwise, will conclude the on-water competition.

St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

The Bucket Stewards collaborated in 2016 to establish a new criteria for the coveted Bucket Trophy.  With the racing format having changed in recent years, the emphasis is now directed to class racing. This has provided an opportunity to reestablish a quantitative criteria for the overall winner of the Bucket Trophy.

The ‘Bucket Trophy’ will be presented to the overall winner of the 2017 St Barths Bucket. Yachts eligible for the prestigious award will be the class winners with five or more yachts in class.The class winner who prevails in the ‘most competitive, closely contested class’ will be the overall winner.

 The class with smallest series point differential between first and fourth place finishers will receive 1 point with each class in succession receiving 2, 3, 4 or 5 points. Additionally, the class with the least overall time differential (total time/total distance for all races) between the first and fourth place finishers will receive one point, with each class in succession receiving one additional point as above.

St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

 The above mentioned points will be added together for the overall competitive class score.  The class with the lowest number of points will be considered the ‘most competitive, closely contested class’.

 The winner of this class will be the overall winner of the 2017 edition of the St Barths Bucket.

 Should there be a tie, the class winner with the most yachts in class wins. In the event the tie remains unbroken, starting prowess will determine the overall winner (total time for all starts, from scheduled start to crossing the line – with the smallest total time prevailing).

Special Needs Children Project

St Barth schools have 40 special needs students with various motor and cognitive challenges. Outside the school system there are other island children with even more severe disabilities. The existing program facilities and services are not adequate to help these children and their families thrive.

This project supports the island’s first dedicated, handicap-accessible space suitable for assessment, treatment and coordinated support services, and provides the additional special educator and psychological services these children need to achieve greater autonomy, better school integration and a better quality of life.

The 2015 St Barth Bucket was proud to contribute to this initiative of the local St Barth Lions and Rotary Clubs.

Watch replay of all St. Barths Bucket Regatta races on TracTrac

St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

St. Barths Bucket Regatta (Photo © Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi )

 

 

Hanuman by George Bekris

Hanuman by George Bekris

The majesty of the J Class era will return to the America’s Cup eighty years after the class last raced for the oldest trophy in international sport.

The J Class Association (JCA) and the America’s Cup Event Authority have agreed to stage a J Class regatta in Bermuda in June 2017 between the conclusion of the America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs and the America’s Cup Match.

“The J Class era of the America’s Cup is widely recognized as being among the high points in Cup history,” said Russell Coutts, director of the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA).

“When racing for the America’s Cup in the 1930s, the J Class boats embodied grace and power with cutting-edge design and engineering. Having the J Class join us in Bermuda will create a spectacular blend between the old and new.”

The J Class boats will be moored in the America’s Cup Village in Dockyard at Bermuda, providing as elegant a sight at rest as their beauty and power are impressive under sail.

Louise Morton from the J Class Association (JCA), commented: “The America’s Cup organizers have offered the J Class a unique opportunity to be part of the America’s Cup for the first time in eighty years. On behalf of the Owners, Captains and crew, we are delighted to be part of this spectacular event.”

Hanuman (Photo by George Bekris)

Hanuman (Photo by George Bekris)

Racing in the J Class regatta will be organized by the America’s Cup race management team with the final two days of racing expected to straddle the opening weekend of the America’s Cup Match.

The current J Class fleet comprises seven boats, including three original Js, two of which raced for the America’s Cup. The seven J Class boats currently sailing are: Endeavour, Hanuman, Lionheart, Rainbow, Ranger, Shamrock V, Velsheda. An eighth J Class yacht is expected to be launched in May 2015.

J-Class Ranger and Hanuman (Photo by George Bekris)

J-Class Ranger and Hanuman (Photo by George Bekris)

Jean-Charles Decaux's J ONE  leading the Wally fleet (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Jean-Charles Decaux’s J ONE leading the Wally fleet (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

 

Dramatic showdowns have been set up for the final races at the 2014 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. Verdicts in three classes will be decided during tomorrow’s decisive day: true proof of the close nature of the racing. All classes sailed a coastal course today with around seven knots from the north at the start, building to a 12-15 knot north-easterly midway through the race.

The Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship is living up to its pre-event billing as the tightest and most competitive in its five-year history. Heading into today’s critical coastal race, just two points separated the leading three teams.

Consistency, sound decision-making and taking only calculated risks are credited as the determining factors in such a tight championship. Andres Soriano’s Alegre, three-time runner-up, is proving the most reliable performer. “It’s going to be a very competitive week. One mistake and that’s that,” promised Soriano ahead of the competition. Today Alegre assumed impressive control of the 25-nm long coastal race after rounding the first mark well ahead of her rivals. Her lead remained unthreatened for the remainder of the race, which took yachts south to Mortoriotto, back up the coast into the Maddalena Archipelago and a brief glimpse of Bomb Alley, before turning north to Monaci and the run home.

ROBERTISSIMA III  trying to catch up with leader ALEGRE (Photo  by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

ROBERTISSIMA III trying to catch up with leader ALEGRE (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Robertissima III, the Italian-crewed boat (and former Rán 2, last year’s winning yacht), has enjoyed a terrific week and today claimed second place. She trails Alegre by three points ahead of tomorrow’s two scheduled windward/leeward races, and Alegre’s crew know from bitter experience that such a margin is vulnerable. “We’ve been playing averages. It would have been nice to have put more points between ourselves and Robertissima ahead of the final day, but these two boats now have a jump on the fleet,” said Alegre’s Olly Cameron. “We can’t let them [Robertissima] get away. We need to be cautious [tomorrow] and keep it close.”

The learning curve for Robertissima owner Roberto Tomasini Grinover and his crew has been steep but one they are mounting at impressive velocity. “We are an inexperienced team in this class. Less than a year ago, we were here looking at the 72-ft boats and said how wonderful they were,” explains tactician Vasco Vascotto. “It’s a dream to be part of this class – it is not only about great boats but top class teams. We want to be very competitive.”

Niklas Zennström’s Rán crew started the week as the defending champion and have experience in making dramatic comebacks in Porto Cervo, but today’s sixth place on his new Rán 5 has all but ended the crew’s chances of a fourth title in five years. A new champion is all but guaranteed after 2012 victor Bella Mente also struggled in today’s coastal race, leaving Hap Fauth’s crew in fourth.

Wally Form
Engaging competition and a dramatic final day is also offered by the Wally class. Four-time winner, Claus-Peter Offen and Y3K are tied on points with defending champion Jean-Charles Decaux and his J One crew. And one point behind lies Magic Carpet 3. Y3K performed better of the three teams today, finishing in third while J One claimed fourth and Owen-Jones’s Magic Carpet 3 had to settle for sixth.

“The Wally class is very strong,” explains Offen, President of the International Maxi Association, “with the two Wally Centos (Magic Carpet 3 and Open Season) and many other well-sailed yachts, it will not be easy for Y3K to win the Wally title back, but we are working on it.”

J-Class report
The only certainty in the J-Class is that a new champion will be crowned. Velsheda has failed to finish higher than third all week, leaving a three-way battle between Rainbow, Lionheart and Ranger for the title. The week’s largest boat, the 43.7m Lionheart holds a slender one-point advantage over Rainbow, three-time winner Ranger is a further point adrift.

Elsewhere, bullets today have handed Firefly (Supermaxi), Lupa of London (Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising) and Highland Fling (Maxi) insurmountable leads in their respective classes.

Racing ends tomorrow. Up to two windward/leeward races are scheduled for the Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds fleet, the J-Class and Wally, while the remaining classes will sail a coastal course.

A full review of the 25th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will be available tomorrow.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup
The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) and the International Maxi Association (IMA). Rolex has been title sponsor since 1985.

 

Mini Maxi Bowmen Calling the start (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Mini Maxi Bowmen Calling the start (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

2014 MAXI YACHT ROLEX CUP – PROVISIONAL RESULTS DAY 4
Place, Boat Name, Boat Owner, Races; Total Points

Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship
1. ALEGRE (GBR), Alegre Yachting Ltd., 1.5-1-3-4-(5)-1.5; 11
2. ROBERTISSIMA (CAY), Roberto Tomasini, 6-2-1-(5)-2-3; 14
3. RÁN 5 (GBR), Niklas Zennstrom 4.5-3-2-2-(7)-9; 20.5

Mini Maxi R/C
1. LUPA OF LONDON (GBR), Jeremy Pilkington, 1-1-2-1; 5
2. BRONENOSEC (RUS), Alpenberg S.A., 4-2-1-2; 9
3. AROBAS (FRA), Gerard Logel, 2-4-3-3; 12

Maxi Racing
1. HIGHLAND FLING XI (MON), Irvine Laidlaw, 1-1-1-1; 4
2. ODIN (CAY), Tom Siebel, 2-2-2-2; 8
3. BRISTOLIAN (GBR), Bristolian Marine Ltd., 4-4-3-3; 14

J-Class
1. LIONHEART (GBR), Stichting Lionheart Syndicate, (4)-1-2-2-1; 6
2. RAINBOW (NED), SPF JH2, 2-3-1-1-(4); 7
3. RANGER (CAY), R.S.V. Ltd., 1-2-(4)-3-2; 8

Supermaxi
1. FIREFLY (NED), Eric Bijlsma, 1-1-2-1; 5
2. INOUI (SUI), Marco Vögele, 2-2-1-2; 7
3. VIRIELLA (ITA), Vittorio Moretti, 3-3-3-3; 12

Wally
1. Y3K (GER), Claus Peter Offen, (3)-2-1-3-2; 8
2. J ONE (GBR), Jean Charles Decaux, 1-(3)-2-2-3; 8
3. MAGIC CARPET 3 (GBR), Sir Lindsey Owen Jones, 2-1-(5)-1-5; 9

Complete results may be found here

The fleet getting to Mortoriotto rock under spinnaker (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

The fleet getting to Mortoriotto rock under spinnaker (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

 

 

Adela (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi)

 

A “Wrong Way Around” race wrapped up sailing today at the four-day St. Barths Bucket Regatta, and it was more colorful and full of goodies than a child’s Easter basket. Thirty six superyachts in four classes (Grandes Dames, Mademoiselles, Gazelles and J Boats) circumnavigated the French West Indies island of St. Barths, giving Bucket fans on shore and at sea an awe-inspiring view of some of the largest and most beautiful and technologically advanced yachts sailing in the world today.

 

The race course, which covered 21 to 26.4 nautical miles (depending on the class), reversed Friday’s “Around the Island” journey and put boat handling skills to the test right off the bat with a downwind start. All but the J Boat class adhered to a “pursuit-style” racing format, requiring each yacht to time its run to the gun for a separate pre-determined start time and hoist a spinnaker as soon as possible after crossing the starting line — the theory being that if all crews in each class sailed equally well, aboard their varied yachts of different speeds, they would meet at the finish line all together.

 

The theory worked especially well today in the 18-20 knot breezes, with yachts barreling down on the finish line, drawn again by their giant spinnakers, within minutes – sometimes seconds — of each other.

 

Adela Crew

In the Mademoiselles class, the 55 meter schooner Adela, built by Pendennis and helmed by Dennis Conner, maintained her regatta-long position at the top of the scoreboard with a second-place finish today. Adela was presented with the St. Barth’s Bucket trophy as the regatta’s overall winner. The 45 meter Dubois designed Salperton IV, skippered by Shirley Robertson with Cameron Appleton in the afterguard, won today’s race to claim second overall, while another Dubois design, the 50 meter Zefira, took third overall.

 

In the Grandes Dames class, the 48-meter Georgia, built by Alloy Yachts, claimed overall victory by crossing the finish line first in her class today. Georgia’s Captain Brent Daw said that his yacht, conceived as the ultimate family world cruiser, has seen many ocean miles since she splashed in 2000, thus she is going into the yard for a refit after the Bucket.

 

 

“We sailed steady and cautious like the hare and the turtle, and we were the steady turtle,” said Daw, who came aboard as skipper of the yacht only three months ago. He added that the crew had to sail intuitively, since the majority of them are new to the boat. “The team is more of an organic group, a mix, nationally, of South Africans and Kiwis,” he said explaining that Chris Dickson, of America’s Cup fame, is helming. “The owner lives on board and loves a great day on the water. He is thrilled!”

Claiming second place overall in this class, with a fourth today, was the 54 meter Perini Navi Parsifal III, while the 38 meter Axia, which was presented with both the All Star Crew Award and the Wolter Huisman Memorial Spirit of the Bucket Trophy at this regatta, finished third overall after posting a third for today. The winner of the Vitters Shipyard Seamanship Trophy was also from this class: the Perini Navi Zenji.

 

Perini Navi P2 (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi / Studio Borlenghi)

One of the biggest stories on the water today was in the Gazelles class, where the 45 meter Visione, the 38 meter Perini Navi P2, and the 30 meter Cape Arrow were all tied with six points going into today’s race. Trailing only one point behind was the Royal Huisman-built Unfurled, which won today’s race to upset the apple cart and claim overall victory in the class. P2, which took home the Perini Navi Cup, took second today to claim equal points (8) with Unfurled but conceded for a second-place finish overall, after tie-breaking rules were applied. Visione and Cape Arrow finished third and fourth overall, respectively.

 

LORO PIANA Cape Arrow (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi /Studio Borlenghi)

This was a historic event for the J Class, as it was the first time five of them have graced the same starting line since 1937. Hanuman, built by Royal Huisman, proved unbeatable throughout the three days, winning handily over the line and on corrected time in the first two of three races held here. Today, Lionheart edged out Hanuman by just two seconds at the line, but Hanuman still prevailed on corrected time to leave Lionheart in second overall. Velsheda, Ranger and the Holland Jachtbouw built Rainbow followed in third through fifth places, respectively.

 

Winning the King’s 100 Guinea Cup for Thursday’s “extra day” race for J Boats at the Bucket was Hanuman. The top Corinthian J with an amateur owner/helmsman to win the Corinthian King’s Cup was Lionheart.

 

“The owner was thrilled,” said Bouwwe Bekking, who called tactics on Lionheart. “This was his fourth regatta ever, and he has done remarkably well. For today’s race, it was neck-and-neck with Hanuman after 26 miles. We knew that with them that close to us they would win, but we had to get our nose out there to win line honors. We loved that we got the gun.”

 

Bekking said that having the J Boats sailing fleet-style in their own group in the same regatta as the superyachts, which were sailing pursuit-style, worked perfectly. “It was great that we had our own start procession, it wouldn’t have worked any other way. To maneuver these boats is way harder, so the emphasis on safety is good. It was really incredible, and we owe a great thanks to the Bucket Committee and the J Class organization.”

 

Every year the Bucket Organization devotes a portion of its entry fees for a worthy cause in St. Barths. This year, a donation in the amount of 18,000 euros was made to the St. Barths Yacht Club Youth Sailing Program.

 

Next year’s event is scheduled for 27 – 30, March 2014

 

Results, Photos, Barby’s Blog and more http://www.bucketregattas.com

 Media Pro International’s Barby MacGowan is reporting daily from St. Barths.

Complete results, photos, Barby’s recaps and more: bucketregattas.com/stbarths/

Special Awards 

OVERALL WINNER of the 2013 ST BARTHS BUCKET          ADELA

 

 

SKULLDUGGERY CRAVAT WILD HORSES

ALLOY YACHTS TROPHY GEORGIA

ALL STAR CREW AWARD presented by Holland Jachtbouw AXIA

WOLTER HUISMAN MEMORIAL SPIRIT OF THE BUCKET TROPHY AXIA

PERINI NAVI CUP    P2

VITTER’S SHIPYARD SEAMANSHIP TROPHY     ZENJI

St. Barths Bucket Regatta 2012 (Photo © 2012 by Tim Wright / www.photoaction.com)

The 2013 St Barths Bucket Regatta action starts on March 28. This annual yachting spectacular will feature the latest in superyacht designs along with true classics. Thirty-five yachts are ready to join the festivities and racing.

Racing begins on Thursday March 28 when five J Class yachts head for the starting line. This will be the first gathering of five or more J’s since 1937!

Three more races are planned, with all yachts racing in four separate classes –Les Mademoiselles des Mers, Les Grandes Dames des Mers, Les Gazelles des Mers, and the J Class.

The largest yacht is the 88m Perini Navi built schooner Maltese Falcon. Eleven of the current entries are 50 meters or larger. Among new boats to the St Barths Bucket is the 31m Dubois Naval Architects designed Sarafin and the 31m Newport Bucket winner Indio.

Newport Bucket Regatta Overall wWnner Indio (Photo by George Bekris)

Newport Bucket Regatta Overall wWnner Indio (Photo by George Bekris)

The around the island courses create spectacular opportunities to view these breathtaking vessels under sail. The racing format has been modified somewhat, with the start times set so that the classes should finish together. This change is designed to make the racing both more competitive and safer.

Now in their 27th year, the Bucket regattas attract the crème de la crème of yacht builders from every sailing nation, with several builders boasting multiple entries. The “Big Five” sailing yacht builders (Perini Navi, Royal Huisman, Holland Jachtbouw, Alloy Yachts and Vitters) have for many years supported the Bucket Regattas, playing a meaningful role in growing the Bucket and helping maintain the non-commercial atmosphere, another significant hallmark of Bucket races.

Parsifal III (Photo by George Bekris / www.georgebekris. com)

One of Executive Director Tim Laughridge’s goals is to ensure that the renowned Spirit of the Bucket is retained while providing participants with great class racing. He’ll be helming Parsifal III and racing to win, but reminds everyone that the overriding theme is to sail safe and win the party!

The four class winners of the 2013 St Barths Bucket will each receive a Ship’s Bell Clock from Chelsea Clock.

St. Barths Bucket Regatta 2012 rounding the island. (Photo © 2012 by Tim Wright / www.photoaction.com)

J Class
Yachts (5) LOA(m) Type Builder Designer
Hanuman 42m sloop Royal Huisman Dykstra Naval Architects
Lionheart 43m sloop Bloemsma/Claasen Jachtbouw Hoek Design
Rainbow 40m sloop Holland Jachtbouw Dykstra Naval Architects
Ranger 41m sloop Danish Yacht Sparkman & Stephens
Velsheda 40m sloop Camper & Nicholson Nicholson
les Gazelles des Mers
Yachts (9) LOA(m) Type Builder Designer
Baiurdo VI 35m sloop Abeking & Rasmussen Gilles Vaton
Cape Arrow 30m sloop Southern Wind Farr – Nauta
Chrisco 31m sloop CNB Luca Brenta
Indio 30m sloop Wally Yachts Frers Naval Architecture
Leopard3 30m sloop McConaghy Farr Yacht Design
P2 38m sloop Perini Navi Philippe Briand
Rebecca 43m ketch Pendennis Frers Naval Architecture
Unfurled 34m sloop Royal Huisman Frers Naval Architecture
Visione 45m sloop Baltic Yachts Reichel/Pugh Yacht Design
les Mademoiselles des Mers
Yachts (10) LOA(m) Type Builder Designer
Adela 55m schooner Pendennis Dykstra Naval Architects
Athos 62m schooner Holland Jachtbouw Hoek Design
Koo (non spin) 43m sloop Vitters Shipyard Dubois Naval Architects
Lady B 45m sloop Vitters Shipyard Dubois Naval Architects
Prana 52m sloop Alloy Yachts Dubois Naval Architects
Salperton IV 45m sloop Fitzroy Yachts Dubois Naval Architects
Sarafin’ 31m sloop Oyster/RMK Marine Dubois Naval Architects
Symmetry 29m sloop Yachting Developments Frers Naval Architecture
Wild Horses 24m sloop Brooklin Boat Yard Joel White
Zefira 50m sloop Fitzroy Yachts Dubois Naval Architects
les Grandes Dames des Mers
Yachts (12) LOA(m) Type Builder Designer
Andromeda La Dea 48m ketch Perini Navi Perini Navi
Axia 38m ketch Palmer Johnson Sparkman & Stephens
Blue Too 34m ketch Alloy Yachts Ron Holland Design
Georgia 48m sloop Alloy Yachts Studio Scanu Sri Butch
Luna 52m sloop Perini Navi Perini Navi
Maltese Falcon 88m schooner Perini Istanbul Dykstra Naval Architects
Panthalassa 56m ketch Perini Navi Ron Holland Design
Parsifal III 54m ketch Perini Navi Ron Holland Design
Rosehearty 56m ketch Perini Navi Ron Holland Design
Salute 56m sloop Perini Navi Ron Holland Design
Silencio  50m ketch Perini Navi Perini Navi
Zenji 56m ketch Perini Navi Ron Holland Des

.

St. Barths Bucket Regatta 2012 (Photo © 2012 by Tim Wright / www.photoaction.com)

 

J Class Start for the Hundred Guinea Cup around the Island Race off Cowes Photo by Rick Tomlinson)

J Class Start for the Hundred Guinea Cup around the Island Race off Cowes (Photo by Rick Tomlinson)

Saturday morning saw warmth and sunshine in the Solent for the J Class Hundred Guinea Cup race; East around the Isle of Wight, based on the original America’s Cup course.

Light Easterly wind was due to give way to just a whisper of Southerly breeze in the day, and the prospect of a shortened course looked likely. Nothing could have dampened the enthusiasm of the spectator fleet though, as hundreds of them joined the Js at the start line, anticipating a race to rival the glory days of the 1930’s America’s Cups.

Rainbow sensibly withdrew from Saturday’s racing for safety reasons after a small technical issue. The remaining three, Velsheda, Ranger, and Lionheart were a fantastic spectacle as they hoisted their 16,000 square feet of mainsail and genoa, and began circling on the RYS line area, North of Cowes.

As if sensing the importance of the occasion, as the start time approached, the Easterly wind unexpectedly picked up strength. With hundreds of boats and thousands of spectators watching, the three boats crossed the line on Starboard, benefiting from the last of the flood tide. After the start, the sea erupted with the acceleration of hundreds of powerboats and RIBs following the three boat fleet.

Lionheart (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

The yachts pressed on in the light wind out to the Nab Tower. Lionheart rounded first, setting her 10,000 square foot spinnaker.

Lionheart held the lead at St Catherine’s Point with Velsheda a short distance behind, and Ranger close by. Even after three quarters of the course, only seconds split the fleet.

Lionheart held her lead and rounded the Needles first, to the delight of hundreds of spectators on beaches and headlands from Hurst Castle to Christchurch.

By the time the boats reached Fort Albert, it had become apparent that the strong adverse tide through Hurst and patchy winds up the Solent were going to make finishing the round the island almost impossible, and the Race Committee took the decision to shorten the course retrospectively, as agreed in the sailing instructions. The course was finished at the Needles, where times had been taken. The results (including Time Correction Factors) were calculated but kept a secret from the Js until the prizegiving, where all the crew and owners assembled that evening.

Lionheart’s position at The Needles won her the King’s Hundred Guinea Cup. This was a fantastic achievement for Lionheart and her owner, competing in their first J Class regatta, and well-deserved as Lionheart has performed consistently well at each regatta and taken line-honours twice, narrowly losing out on first place each race on corrected time.

Velsheda rounded about two minutes behind, and Ranger a further five minutes behind.

Velsheda  Photo by Barry James Wilson

Velsheda (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Because of her great results in the Solent, two wins and one second, Velsheda was awarded the Corinthian King’s Cup for the regatta’s best amateur helmsman. Originally presented by King George V, the Corinthian King’s Cup, dating from 1914, will be presented each year as a perpetual trophy “for friendly competition between J Class yachts, each sailed by an amateur owner”.

 

The Kings Hundred Guinea Cup was originally presented by King George VI at the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club in 1937. Both trophies were kindly donated by Jan Hart; associate member of the JCA, keen supporter of the fleet, and owner of the building copyright for JS1 Svea.

Ranger (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Saturday was a great day for those watching from the mainland, as the Js were seen by thousands of spectators around the island from every possible vantage point; from Cowes, Lee-on-Solent, Hayling Island, Bembridge, Ventnor, Christchurch Bay, and Hurst.

The Hundred Guinea Cup was another great race by the competitive J Class yachts, providing a spectacle that will live in yachting memory for a very long time.

Lionheart   (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Lionheart (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

On Saturday night, crew, owners, and organisers enjoyed a prize-giving party at the Royal Southampton Yacht Club, jointly sponsored by Pantaenius, and Dykstra and Partners Naval Architects. Everybody attended the event in great spirits, still buzzing from four days of wonderful sailing.

Velsheda and Ranger (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Lionheart and Velsheda’s prize-winning owners made speeches enthusiastically thanking the Royal Southampton Yacht Club for their excellent race-management, as they received their cups.

Both the Falmouth and Solent Regattas were the inspiration of David Pitman, who has been class secretary for more than twelve years. He worked hard, together with Mike Beggs, the class measurer, to bring these two wonderful regattas to the UK this year. He was significantly responsible for the growth of the class from the original three yachts to a fleet of seven on the water, with three more projects underway. David says “It has been my pleasure to work and sail with the J Class fleet for more than fifteen years, creating an environment where the class can grow and flourish.”

Velsheda with Helecopters (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J Class Wednesday Fleet by Barry James Wilson

J Class Wednesday Fleet by Barry James Wilson

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A difficult first day began with strong winds and a fierce outgoing tide facing the four yachts at the start of the Solent regatta.

Ranger (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Ranger (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Ranger crossed the start line first, followed extremely closely by Velsheda and Lionheart, with Rainbow a few seconds behind. Lionheart and Rainbow crossed onto the North shore for the long beat into a strong 20 knot SW wind and building sea.

Velsheda , Lionheart and Ranger (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Velsheda , Lionheart and Ranger (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Ranger and Velsheda elected to work the Island shore, where the stronger outgoing tide was expected to work in their favour.

At the weather mark, now crowded with spectator boats from all around the Solent, Ranger rounded first, with Lionheart close behind, followed by Rainbow and Velsheda, who had slipped back. Ranger gybed and set onto a symmetrical kite whilst Lionheart split from her with a bearaway set onto an assymetric kite. Ranger then drew ahead, sailing the best angles into the foul tide with the symmetrical.

The gap between the yachts never opened up significantly. Ranger led 100 metres from the finish line and just squeezed across first, despite a very strong finish from Lionheart.

1st Ranger
2nd Lionheart
3rd Rainbow
4th Velsheda

 

J Class Wednesday  (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J Class Wednesday (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J-Class by Barry James Wilson

J-Class Solent Regatta (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

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Ranger In UK J-Class Regatta 2012 (Photo courtesy of J-Class Association)

Ranger In UK J-Class Regatta 2012 (Photo courtesy of J-Class Association)

Fog delayed the start of the first race of the UK J Class Regatta series 2012, postponing the 1200 start, positioned one mile south of Pendennis Point, by one hour.

By twelve o clock, the sun was still struggling to break through but visibility had improved enough to get the UK regattas underway. As 1300 approached, the number of spectators on the water grew towards the hundreds. Almost all spectators kindly complied with the race officers’ request to keep the start line clear.

After the ten minute gun, the yachts started circling and manoeuvring for the best starting positions, the atmosphere getting more and more tense as the minutes ticked away. The last few minutes were thrilling for all spectators.

At the start, the boats split into two sections; Lionheart and Ranger at the end of the line, and Rainbow and Velsheda at the port end.

As they accelerated towards the windward mark at Helford River, the support ribs and spectator fleet gamely tried to keep up.

Ranger, who had sailed on the seaward side of the course, managed to pull in front by a few boat lengths and by the time she’d rounded the windward mark had stretched her lead to 200 metres,  along  the short spreader reach, turning downwind and launching her 10,000 sq. Ft. Spinnaker.

Lionheart was next around the mark, but after an early gybe she ran into a spinnaker problem and was forced to drop it on deck and launch another, smaller spinnaker. This proved costly as she slipped to last place further down the leg.

Meanwhile, Velsheda and Rainbow sailed with spinnakers offshore, picking up a fresh wind from the seaward side and by the end of the leg, with freshening wind, closing the distance on Ranger.

After around 2.5 hours of racing in various wind strengths across the bay, the race was shortened, with Ranger crossing the line first, comfortably ahead of Velsheda and Rainbow, with Lionheart some distance behind.

1 – Ranger
2 – Velsheda
3 – Rainbow
4 – Lionheart