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 )

 

St. Barths Bucket Regatta boats in action (Photo © Cory Silken)

The 30th edition of the St Barths Bucket will sail back into St. Barths  March 16-19. This year the fleet is 38 beautiful superyachts including six J Class boats battling it out for the historic Bucket trophy. Beyond the sailing, there’s a strong emphasis on ‘winning the party’ rather than the race, and as such, owners, guests and crew can look forward to celebrating in unparalleled style after hours.

In 1995, the beautiful French island of St Barths hosted its first Bucket Regatta and it has done so in March every year since then. Although the size of the yachts and competing fleet has grown significantly, the spirit of the event has remained unchanged. In recent years, 40 or more superyachts have gathered to compete for the Bucket in glamorous St Barths.

The magic in St Barths takes place both on and off the water, when the owners and crews fill the yacht haven before and after racing, with the special yacht Hop taking place on the Saturday evening. In keeping with the tradition, Perini Navi will host owners and guests at Casa Perini for memorable evenings overlooking Gustavia throughout the week.

The entire fleet will compete to take home the ‘Bucket’ trophy. While the stunning silver Perini Navi trophy will also be presented to the best classified Perini Navi competing in St Barths, won in 2016 by the talented crew onboard P2.

“We continue the commitment to maintaining the legendary “Spirit of the Bucket” — that wonderful balance of camaraderie,competition, sportsmanship and, of course, fun,” say the Event Stewards.

“Magnificent yachts from around the world are here for incomparable racing in the unspoiled waters off St Barthélemy. With many of the world’s most elegant and impressive superyachts in attendance, a fantastic J Class, and the debut of the Les Voiles Blanche (Corinthian Spirit) class, together we will write another distinguished chapter in the history of this regatta,” added the organizers.

 About teamwork:

 “We try hard to keep the same crew, because continuity is important to everything,” said Seahawk’s captain Gerhard Veldsman. “The more you can keep the same people, the better you end up sailing the boat, because everyone ends up knowing its limitations.”

 About evolution:

“The Superyacht game is heating up at a pretty rapid pace, and all in a good way,” said Peter Holmberg, helmsman of Rosehearty . “The owners are wanting to play harder and  faster, so the competitive side of it is going up and up and up. But like any segment of a sport that grows at this rate, you always have parts that are not up to speed.  A while back, safety was our first concern: we didn’t have clear rules to keep us all safe, so we realized that was a weakness in the game. (Ed: ISAF’s Appendix SY and heightened overall awareness has helped). Then the rating became the challenged portion of this game and the ORCsy Rule was developed and brought in here last year to fix that.”

 About the ORCsy Rule

“We’re happy with the system and how it rates the boats, because it’s creating exactly what we want out of pursuit superyacht racing, where it’s all about the tactics and good sailing coming into the finish,” said P2’s tactician Tony Rey. “Considering how different these boats are from each other, it’s quite an achievement for the ORCsy to have done this in one year, to be able to step back and just let us race each other and have it be this close on the score sheet and on the water. The basic concept is that they’ve used much more of a database analysis of the performance of the boats; there has been great transparency in terms of how they are coming up with the ratings; and they are listening to the owners and sailors.”

 About the experience:

“It’s almost heart stopping when you duck another J, because the helmsman turns the wheel and it’s 10-20 seconds before anything happens other than working out his arms,” said Ranger’s navigator Peter Isler, “The delays in ducking, close tacking or making any quick maneuver are just wild; it’s not like driving your sports car. It’s all judgement.”

What They Said… about the 016 St Barths Bucket Regatta

 “It’s a gathering, a rendezvous: a celebration of these great yachts, the owners , the crew and friends, with a regatta in the middle.” -Bruce Brakenhoff

Charities helped each year by the Bucket Entrants

 Each year the Bucket Regatta designates a portion of the entry fee for donation to a meaningful non-profit program in St Barths.

The Youth Sailing Program at the St Barths Yacht Club will receive the 2017 donation.

The St Barths Yacht Club is an active sailing school and their priority is the youth of St Barths. Here the children learn to respect each other and their environment, the sea. They also learn how to be responsible and cooperative in the pursuit of their goals.

SBYC offers many programs starting at very early ages. On an island learning to sail is as important as learning to swim. The St Barths Yacht Club tries its best to motivate and support its young people. Over 400 children participate every year.

The SBYC is not a conventional yacht club. Resources and budgets are far more limited than what one would expect to find in a typical club. The Bucket donation makes a significant and meaningful difference.

What They Said… about the 2016 St Barths Bucket Regatta

 “It’s a gathering, a rendezvous: a celebration of these great yachts, the owners , the crew and friends, with a regatta in the middle.” -Bruce Brakenhoff

The Yachts

38 yachts will race in this year’s event, ranging from 30 – 88 metres in length and with a speed differential from the fastest to the slowest in fleet of over four minutes per mile. Entrants for 2017, divided into five different classes, include; Unfurled, built by Vitters in collaboration with designer German Frers and the winner of last year’s race; Maltese Falcon, the biggest (and arguably most recognisable) yacht in the regatta at 88m, built by Perini Navi for the late Tom Perkins; and the elegant 48m Wisp, launched by Dutch shipyard Royal Huisman back in 2014. This year’s event also marks the debut of the Corinthian Spirit Class (Les Voiles Blanche), which offers a more lighthearted alternative to what is becoming an increasingly competitive race. Yachts in this class, which include the 56m Perini Bayesian and the 43m Koo by Vitters, will have no spinnakers and will require far less race preparation – which organisers hope will address a downward trend in entry numbers. This year also sees a record six J Class boats (originally introduced in the 1930s to compete in the America’s Cup) taking part in the race, including the 43m sloop, Topaz and the 44m Lionheart, both built in the last decade using unrealised designs from the 1930s.

 You can track the boats on the course each day on  TracTrac 

Photo © Michael Kurtz

Pursuit Class Entries — ORCsy
Yacht Builder Designer Model
Action (37m) Royal Huisman Dykstra NA sloop
Adela (55m) Pendennis Dykstra NA schooner
Aquarius (47m) Perini Navi Perini Navi ketch
Axia (38m) Palmer Johnson S&S ketch
Danneskjold (32m) Performance Yacht Dixon sloop
Elena of London (55m) F.N.M. Herreshoff schooner
Elfje (46m) Royal Huisman Hoek ketch
Ganesha (46m) Vitters Shipyard Dubois sloop
Huckleberry (39m) Alloy Yachts Langan ketch
L’ondine (30m) Southern Wind Farr sloop
Leopard3 (30m) McConaghy Farr sloop
Maltese Falcon (88m) Perini Navi Dykstra NA schooner
Meteor (52m) Royal Huisman Dykstra NA schooner
Nikata (35m) Baltic Nauta / J/V sloop
Ningaloo (45m) Vitters Shipyard Dubois sloop
P2 (38m) Perini Navi Briand sloop
Perseus^3 (60m) Perini Navi Ron Holland sloop
Q (52m) Alloy Dubois ketch
Rebecca (43m) Pendennis Frers ketch
Rosehearty (56m) Perini Navi Holland ketch
Sojana (35m) Custom Farr Farr ketch
Spiip (34m) Royal Huisman Frers sloop
Sunleigh (33m) Jongert Tony Castro sloop
Unfurled (46m) Vitters Shipyard German Frers sloop
Varsovie (31m) Nautor Swan Frers sloop
Visione (45m) Baltic Yachts Reichel-Pugh sloop
Win Win (33m) Baltic Yachts Javier Jaudenes sloop
Wisp (48m) Royal Huisman Hoek sloop
Zenji (56m) Perini Navi Ron Holland ketch
Pursuit Class Entries – ORCcs Les Voiles Blanche (Corinthian Spirit)
Yacht Builder Designer Model
Bayesian (56m) Perini Navi Perini Navi sloop
Escapade (37m) Fitzroy Yachts Dubois sloop
Koo (43m) Vitters Shipyard Dubois sloop

J Class Entries — J Class Association Rating Rule

Yacht Builder Designer Model
Hanuman (42m) J6 Royal Huisman Dykstra NA sloop
Lionheart (44m) J1 Claasen Jachtbouw Hoek sloop
Ranger (42m) J5 Danish Yacht S&S / Dykstra NA sloop
Shamrock V (37m) J3 Camper / Pendennis Nicholsons / Dykstra NA sloop
Topaz (43m) J8 Holland Jachtbouw Frank C. Paine sloop
Velsheda (40m) J7 Camper & Nicholson Nicholsons / Dykstra NA sloop

 

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)

CAOL ILA AND STIG CROSS TACKING (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Enthusiasm was in abundance at the 2013 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup as a gathering of the finest sailors, most passionate owners, and inspiring yachts met in Porto Cervo, Sardinia for the pinnacle rendezvous of the annual Maxi yacht racing calendar.

Velsheda's Classic Low Freeboard Awash (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

“The two things which make the event unique are the racecourses and the participants,” explained Riccardo Bonadeo, Commodore of event organizers Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS). “The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup from the very beginning has always been the event of excellence for ocean-going boats. And the environment is perhaps the most spectacular and technical in the world.”

“This is the pre-eminent regatta. Everyone is training for it for the whole season. It’s where everyone comes together,” explained Niklas Zennström, owner of the highly successful Mini Maxi Rán 2. “It’s the one we all want to win.”

Inoui Spinnaker flys (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

37 yachts, divided into six classes, contested a myriad of challenging racecourses organized during the weeklong event on the Costa Smeralda. While conditions throughout the 24th edition of this pre-eminent competition were light, the Race Committee was able to successfully organize a gripping week of racing.

Fast and fascinating

The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, sponsored by Rolex since 1985, has always been the showcase and proving ground for a fleet of contrasting yachts, and a chance for designers and owners to meet and draw inspiration for future projects. “I’m always looking for the latest, newest technology and something that’s a bit different to what other people are doing,” admitted Lord Irvine Laidlaw, owner of the 82-ft Highland Fling. A sentiment and quest echoed by many in attendance.

Many owners are using advances in technology to drive the design of faster boats; an idea at the forefront of Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’s mind when he commissioned Magic Carpet 3, a 100-ft yacht designed to answer his quest for a boat that would be comfortable and sail fast whether cruising or racing. Line honours success at the Giraglia Rolex Cup was an early indication of the boat’s speed potential compared to his previous yacht. “It’s much faster. It is much more fun, much more exciting. It feels like a racing boat and that’s what we wanted,” explained Owen-Jones. “Paradoxically, it is a much better cruising boat because of its extra width, which gives people air and space and makes it a very stable cruising platform.

Magic Carpet 3 on Day 3 (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Owen-Jones had firm ambitions for Magic Carpet 3. “We’ve written our name five times on the wall next to the door to the Yacht Club (Costa Smeralda), the idea of putting it there a sixth time, which I think would be a record for any name, is a terribly exciting idea.”

Jean Charles Decaux – J-ONE Despite the presence of Magic Carpet 3 and Sir Charles Dunstone’s Hamilton, whose crew included both British Olympian Ian Walker and Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran fame, the Wally Class was dominated by Jean Charles Decaux’s J-One, which won four of the seven races. “Consistency, focus and great teamwork is the magic combination and we are very happy to be the winner again after six years,” explained Decaux. “We are the oldest boat in the fleet and smaller compared to the new ones. We really had to make no mistakes, or at least fewer mistakes than our competitors.”

 

Spinnaker Drop on the J Class Rainbow (Photo by Rolex.Carlo Borlenghi)

Elegance Personified

While eyes feasted on some of the newer boats, the J-Class offered purists with an eye-catching reminder of yesteryear. Of the four J-Class yachts entered at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Shamrock and Velsheda are restorations of yachts launched over 80 years ago, while Rainbow and Ranger are design replicas of original boats destroyed for metal during the Second World War.

Those competing in the J-Class were not intent on solely distracting photographers. “We enjoy close racing and have to be very mindful dealing with equipment that is incredibly valuable and doesn’t respond that quickly. However, none of us want to simply nurse the boats around the course. We want to push it in the gap, that’s the challenge,” revealed Velsheda’ s Tom Dodson.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

 

 

 

 

 

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