Ben Ainslie and Lijia Xu ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year by Kurt Arrigo

Ben Ainslie and Lijia Xu ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year (Photo by Rolex / Kurt Arrigo)

Ben Ainslie (GBR) and Lijia Xu (CHN) were named the male and female winners of the 2012 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards at a ceremony held at the Mansion House, Dublin, Ireland on Tuesday 6 November.

2012 Awards

The ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards takes place during the International Sailing Federation’s (ISAF) Annual Conference, which this year is being held in Dun Laoghaire. The award ceremony welcomes the pinnacle of the sailing world including sailors, officials and conference delegates.

The annual Awards, sponsored by Rolex since 2001, are the highest honour a sailor can receive and is recognition of achievement in a twelve-month period, in this case from 1 September 2011 to 31 August 2012.

 
 
Competition for the 2012 Awards was formidable, with four outstanding female and five equally exceptional male candidates short-listed from a list of nominations made by the public at large. The winners were decided by the votes of the over 130 Member National Authorities of ISAF. Suspense was maintained until the very last minute, with the nominees and guests unaware who had won until the official announcement itself.

Ben Ainslie (GBR) – History Boy

The greatest of his generation. Four Olympic gold medals and now as many ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards. Ben Ainslie is the most successful Olympic sailor of all time. The 35-year old’s achievement at London 2012 elevated him to five Olympic medals (four gold, one silver), surpassing Rolex Testimonee Paul Elvstrøm (DEN), winner of four gold medals between 1948 and 1960. On receiving the award, Ainslie paid tribute to the team that has supported him: “Winning the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year award is a huge honour, especially for everyone who has helped me. There is a huge team in the background from family, friends, coaches and sponsors who helped make it happen. It is an honour to be part of such a group of exceptional sailors who were put forward for this award.”

Ainslie headed into his home Olympics under a colossal weight of expectation. He was given the honour of welcoming the Olympic torch on its arrival in the United Kingdom, and was chosen as the first of 8,000 torchbearers. Fittingly, after making history on the waters off Weymouth, Ainslie was selected as Team GB’s flag bearer at the Closing Ceremony. “To take part in a home Olympics was a completely unique experience,” reflected Ainslie. “I have never felt quite the same level of expectation but also level of support.”

Once competition started, it was another Dane – Jonas Høgh-Christensen – who contrived to stand between Ainslie and his fourth Olympic Gold. Ainslie began the 2012 competition better than any previous Games, but not as well as Christensen. Ainslie needed to react and he used a racecourse incident during the second half of the week to channel his competitive energy. The reigning Olympic champion found a new level, won two of the last four races and went into the decisive medal race needing to beat the relentless Dane but avoid conceding too many points to his other closest rivals. In front of a partisan crowd and following a nail-biting encounter, Ainslie emerged victorious. He cut an exhausted and emotional figure on the finish line. “These Olympics were not that easy for me, sometimes it flows, sometimes you have to fight for it,” he admitted. “It was tough fight all the way to the finish. Taking the gold medal in front of a home crowd – I don’t think I will ever experience an emotion quite like that again.”

Ainslie has been at the top for 20 years, enduring enormous self-sacrifice in his quest for perfection. A pursuit that involves never giving an inch in training sessions and a relentless competition schedule. His remarkable career has seen him claim nine European titles and ten world championships – the first back in 1993. Few sportsmen, in any discipline, have been at the forefront of their profession for such a sustained period.

He has given the sport some of its finest moments including two epic battles with Rolex Testimonee Robert Scheidt (BRA) at the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games – duels that drew a wider public to sailing.

Driven and passionate, Ainslie is a compelling character whose future in the sport is expected to  concentrate on his desire to launch a British America’s Cup challenge. As part of his ‘apprenticeship’ Ainslie is part of Team Oracle under the stewardship of two-time ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Russell Coutts, and alongside the 2010 ISAF Rolex World Sailor, Tom Slingsby.

 There are a lot of fantastic sailors out there and when
you look at someone like Paul Elvstrøm, he
revolutionised the sport of sailing in his day and I
certainly don’t think I can claim to have done that  
         Ben Ainslie
Ainslie’s excellence in the sport has been recognised with this record fourth ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award following titles gained in 1998, 2002 and 2008. However, Ainslie remains modest about his momentous achievements: “There are a lot of fantastic sailors out there and when you look at someone like Paul Elvstrøm, he revolutionised the sport of sailing in his day and I certainly don’t think I can claim to have done that. I am very fortunate to have had the support to do what I have.”

Lijia Xu (CHN) – Immense Competitor

The inspirational Lijia Xu etched her name in the history books in August 2012 becoming the first Chinese, and indeed Asian, sailor to win an Olympic Gold medal in a dinghy sailing boat. “I didn’t expect to be the winner,” admitted Xu. “It is an honour to be named ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year and become the first sailor from China to receive this award. I hope this award can inspire more children in China to take up the sport.”

 It is an honour to be named ISAF Rolex World
Sailor of the Year and become the first sailor
from China to receive this award   
          Lijia Xu
Xu triumphed in the Laser Radial, one of the tightest and most dramatic competitions at London 2012. This after the Shanghai-born sailor hardly made an auspicious start to competition, finishing in the top three positions in only one of the first six races. During the second half of the week, Xu’s class came to the fore. In a manner reminiscent of her fellow 2012 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, she showed grit and determination to put herself in pole position for the deciding medal race.

Going into that final race, Xu could not afford to slip up with three rivals all in strong contention. In a winner takes all finalé, the 25-year old Chinese sailor sailed best, winning the race and adding Olympic Gold to the Bronze she claimed in Beijing. Her victory lap following the dramatic medal race was one of the sailing competition’s iconic moments. “It was a fantastic medal race that will be remembered forever,” said Xu. “On crossing the finishing line I realized not only my own dream but also the whole nation’s dream. Many people strived for this gold for so many years and despite all the difficulties and setbacks we conquered it.”

Victory in London proved the crowning achievement following an impressive year, where she won three ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas and peaked at the right time after claiming an impressive silver medal during a highly competitive Laser Radial World Championship in May.

A keen swimmer in her youth, Xu’s passion for sailing began from the age of 10 when she started Optimist sailing in Shanghai. She took to the sport immediately. By 2001, at the age of 14, she was Girls’ Optimist World Champion, a title she reclaimed in 2002.  Her story is one of resilience. Xu has battled significant hearing and sight problems and missed out on a place at the Athens Olympics in 2004, when a routine medical examination revealed a tumour in her leg that subsequently required major surgery.

Xu bounced back and in 2006 won the Laser Radial Women’s World Championship. That success, together with the Bronze medal gained at Beijing, on the back of a serious hand injury, propelled Xu onto the international stage. “The most challenging part of my career has been facing injuries. It is important to never give in, never yield,” added Xu.

Xu, who was also her nation’s flag bearer at the Closing Ceremony of London 2012 is assessing whether to mount a campaign for the 2016 Games in Rio. In the meantime, she is taking time to complete her studies and reflect on the love she has for her sport: “Sailing has given me the chance to chase my dreams and the stage to show my potential. It has provided me with the opportunity to see, feel and explore the world. Sailing leads me to a path of a better life, a life full of vitality, excitement and joyful experiences.”

Xu is only the second Asian sailor to be named ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year following in the footsteps of female windsurfer Lee Lai Shan (HKG) who won in 1996.
Double Olympic gold medallist and World Sailor of the Year in 2000, Shirley Robertson, hosted the ceremony. The Awards were presented by ISAF President of Honour HM King Constantine and Joël Aeschlimann of Rolex SA. Both winners were presented with a Rolex timepiece and an ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year trophy.

A Stellar Supporting Class

In addition to the two winners, the list of nominees for the 2012 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award included:

Male

Mathew Belcher & Malcolm Page (AUS) – Men’s 470 – London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallists, 2011 and 2012 World Champions & 2011-12 ISAF Sailing World Cup Champions

Nathan Outteridge & Iain Jensen (AUS) – 49er – London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallists & 2011 and 2012 World Champions

Loïck Peyron (FRA) – Outright Around the World Record

Tom Slingsby (AUS) – Laser – London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist & 2011 and 2012 World Champion

Female

Tamara Echegoyen, Angela Pumariega and Sofía Toro (ESP) – Women’s Match Racing – London 2012 Olympic Gold Medallists

Helena Lucas (GBR) – 2.4mR – London 2012 Paralympic Gold Medallist and 2011-12 ISAF Sailing World Cup Champion

Saskia Sills (GBR) – RS:X – ISAF Youth Sailing World Champion & European Youth Champion

With the exception of Loïck Peyron all of the nominees attended the Awards Ceremony, celebrating a year of outstanding achievement.

ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards

The winners of the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards are decided by vote by the over 130 Member National Authorities of ISAF following a worldwide selection process that begins with an open invitation for nominations. Two awards, one for a female sailor/crew and one for a male sailor/crew, are presented to the individuals who are deemed to have most distinguished themselves during the qualifying period.

For Further Information

Please visit the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards microsite at:  www.sailing.org/worldsailor

ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2012 nominees (from left) Saskia Sills (GBR), Iain Jensen (AUS), Nathan Outteridge (AUS), Tamara Echegoyen (ESP), Sofía Toro (ESP), Angela Pumariega (ESP), Tom Slingsby (AUS), Mathew Belcher (AUS), Helena Lucas (GBR), Malcolm Page (AUS), Lijia Xu (CHN) (Photo by Rolex / Kurt Arrigo)

White Rhino (Photo by George Bekris)

White Rhino (Photo by George Bekris)

Ideal sailing conditions, perfect starts and a 16-18 knot southwesterly breeze allowed the 26 boats competing in the 2012 Ida Lewis Distance Race (ILDR) to power up on Friday, August 17, and provide a great show for the spectators who turned out to see them off on their offshore adventure.  The IRC, PHRF and PHRF Doublehanded fleets were sent on the 122 nautical mile Nomans course, while the two boats racing in the PHRF Cruising Spinnaker class took on the 103 nautical mile Buzzards Tower course.

Weather conditions led to a prediction that the leaders in IRC would be at the finish line off the historic Ida Lewis Yacht Club sometime after sunrise on Saturday morning, where they would receive the traditional champagne welcome.  That prophecy came true for the Ker 40 Catapult owned by Marc Glimcher (New York, N.Y.), which had passed the first mark of the course with about a minute lead on the rest of the IRC fleet and held on to take line honors just before 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Line Honors Winner Catapult (Photo by Megan Sepe)

Line Honors Winner Catapult (Photo by Megan Sepe)

 

“This race was fantastic,” said Geoff Ewenson (Annapolis, Md.) who was the navigator on Catapult.  “They made a very good decision in shortening the course to a 122 miler.  It really allowed all of the IRC boats to race reasonably tightly and there was everything to the race without the extra 25 or 30 or 40 miles.  In the end everybody on our team, and I’m sure on the 42s, felt like it was the perfect length race.  We got all the conditions, all the angles, we had a bit of everything and we didn’t feel that the race drug on at all.  For us it ended at the right time.“

 

Breakaway by George Bekris

Breakaway (Photo by George Bekris)

Ewenson sailed the inaugural Ida Lewis Distance Race in 2004 and recalled that they finished that race in the wee hours of Sunday morning with the race taking what seemed like forever.  This year after finishing the race in under 17 hours he explained that the challenge was whether to get into a watch system or tough it out and sail everybody up.  “We realized there would be short bits during the race when it wouldn’t be stability conditions and so we had to steal little naps then.  The most anybody slept on our boat was probably an hour.”

 

For their efforts, Catapult collected the Ida Lewis Distance Race Commodore’s Trophy for the IRC class win, along with the perpetual Russell L. Hoyt Memorial Trophy for best elapsed time. For Ewenson, winning the Hoyt award had special meaning.

 

“When I was 10 years old I sailed home from Bermuda on Russell Hoyt’s boat Destination.  I grew up in Newport and knew Russell and I considered him to be a friend even though he was quite a bit older than me.  It really is quite nice to be able to be on the boat that comes back and wins the trophy that’s named after him.”
The 56’ Swan White Rhino captured the glory in the 14-strong PHRF class.  Owner Todd Stuart (Key West, Fla.) almost pulled out of the race when he thought he wouldn’t have enough crew.  It all came together with a number of his regular crew, including sailors he has twice done the Bermuda Race with, forming the core of this race’s team.  “We had a great race; it was a lot of fun,” said Stuart after collecting the Lime Rock Trophy for the class win.  “We started out fast and the wind held up for us and when it’s windy our boat’s pretty quick, and I think we got lucky.  When we turned around, I think the winds were changing behind us a little bit.  I think some of the slower boats that could have caught us on corrected time, if the winds had held up, I think the door just closed on them.  For a brief period we were down to about four knots of breeze during the thunderstorms; we barely got wet and then the winds came back to being favorable for us.  We made good time the whole way.  We made a decision to leave Block Island to starboard and I think that was the right choice because a boat that was pretty much neck-and-neck with us left it to port and when we both got on the back side we had definitely gained a couple miles on them.”

Stuart raced the 2011 ILDR in the IRC class, and because he expected to have fewer crew kept White Rhino in PHRF for this year’s race.  “This was perfect as we had a bunch of new people on the boat so we thought we’d play it safe and make the boat a little less dramatic.  Until the storms came through it was a perfect starlit night with little meteorites here and there.  Nobody complained this year about the distance.  It was a fast race and we finished in 17 hours.  Seems perfect to me.  We had an awesome time.  This is actually our first win in a real race so my wife Lisa [the cook on all of White Rhino’s distance races] and I, we’re very excited about it.”

 

 

The win in the PHRF Doublehanded class was taken by Paul Cronin (Jamestown, R.I.) and Jim Anderson on the Quest 30 Kincora, with the PHRF Cruising Spinnaker prize going to the Nautor Swan 55 Haerlemowned by Hendrikus Wisker (Round Hill, Va.).  Four boats had met the requirement that more than 40% of the crew must have reached their 14th birthday but not turn 20 prior to August 17, to compete for the Youth Challenge, and Chris Bjerregaard’s (Bristol, R.I.) Bashford Howlson 36 Shearwater earned that honor.

 

Spearheading a new challenge for college teams to compete in this late-summer distance race, SUNY Maritime College (Throggs Neck, N.Y.) reinstated the William E. Tuthill Trophy which was last presented in 1978 to the winner of the Eastern Inter-Collegiate Overnight Race.  The trophy honors Tuthill, an avid sailor and member of the class of 1973, who met with accidental death at sea on the summer cruise in 1972.  Massachusetts Maritime College (Buzzards Bay, Mass.) bested SUNY Maritime to receive the trophy in what is planned to be a continuing challenge.

 

The Ida Lewis Distance Race is a qualifier for the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF); the Northern and Double-Handed Ocean Racing Trophies (IRC); and the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series.
Starting Line sponsors for the 2012 Ida Lewis Distance Race are the City of NewportNew England BoatworksNewport Shipyard and North Sails.  Contributing sponsors are Blue Water Technologies,Dockwise Yacht TransportFlint Audio VideoGoslings RumMac DesignsSea Gear UniformsStella ArtoisRig Pro Southern Spars and Zblok.
Find more information online at www.ildistancerace.org — including the ability to relive the race viaKattack LIVE ; or “Like” ILDR on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ILYCDistanceRace

Ida Lewis Distance Race – Top-three Results

Place, Yacht Name, Type, Owner/Skipper, Hometown

Class 1 – IRC (6 Boats)

1. Catapult, Ker 40, Mark Glimcher, New York, N.Y.

2. Barleycorn, Swan 42, Brendan Brownyard, Bay Shore, N.Y.

3. Blazer, Swan 42, Christopher Culver, Stamford, Conn.

 

Class 2 – PHRF (14 Boats)

1. White Rhino, Swan, Todd Stuart, Key West, Fla.

2. Samba, Quest 30, Tristan Mouligne, Newport, R.I.

3. Wazimo, Aerodyne 37.66, Bob Manchester, Barrington, R.I.

 

Class 3 – PHRF Double-Handed (4 Boats)

1. Kincora, Quest 30, Paul Cronin, Jamestown, R.I.

2. Oronoco, Sabre 426, Adrian Ravenscroft, Cohasset, Mass.

3. Breakaway, J/35, Paul Grimes, Portsmouth, R.I.

 

Class 4 – PHRF Cruising Spinnaker (2 Boats)

1. Haerlem, Nautor Swan 55, Hendrikus Wisker, Round Hill, Va.

2. Gigi, Gulfstar 50, Joe Cleverdon, Newport, R.I.

Artemis  (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Artemis (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

The defining feature of the third day of the regatta was a gusty and shifty southerly wind that varied from less than 10 knots at times to gusts of more than 20. After a bright morning, a band of cloud with showers on its leading edge was moving eastwards towards Cowes, with very light winds forecast to follow in its wake. As a result, relatively short courses were set to make good use of the day’s best winds.

Testing conditions
The Quarter Ton fleet started on a spinnaker reach, heading east from the Black Group line off the Royal Yacht Squadron. Yesterday’s winner, Louise Morton’s Espada, together with Eric Reynolds’  Magnum Evolution, were a couple of lengths ahead of the rest of the fleet at the gun. Lincoln Redding, Led Pritchard and Cat Southworth?s Whiskers was next, just ahead of Dutch boat Theo Bakker’s Freres-Sur-Mer.

Morton extended her lead on the first leg to Fastnet Insurance, but lost out to Whiskers and Olly Ophaus’s Cote on the following two laps around windward-leeward marks. “There were really fluky and tricky conditions,” said Morton, “but I had some really good brains on board, including Andrea Brewster, Nicky Macgregor and Mary Rooke. It was really helpful to have their expertise to spot wind shifts and identify which boats to cover”‘ Espada’s crew worked really hard to regain the lead on the last windward leg, and crossed the line nearly three minutes ahead of Cote to take their second win in three races

In the Sigma 33 class Allan Fraser’s Prospero of Hamble and Mark Watkins’ Spirit of Kudo led away from the start. Spirit of Kudo hoisted her spinnaker at the gun, losing a couple of lengths in doing so. Two minutes later Prospero also hoisted and soon every boat was flying a spinnaker. Prospero then pulled out a 10-length lead, with Stuart Brand and Emma Gage’s Ephesian, the winner on the first two days, a further 10 lengths behind in third.

Ephesian eventually overhauled both Prospero and Spirit of Kudo, but was denied a third win by Jeff Worboys’ Workout, which finished with a lead of almost three minutes. Prospero was third, finishing 81 seconds behind Ephesian.

One of the more crowded starts on the RYS Black Group line today was for the 31 yachts in IRC Class 6. Starting towards the northern end, Ed Browne and Nick Daniels’ First 32 Gravity Boots initially led the fleet away. A few lengths behind her was Simon Cory’s Cory Yachts 290 Icom Cool Blue, she already had the spinnaker up on the tight reach, but at this stage it was only filling intermittently.

Next was Ian Braham’s MG346 Enigma, again with her spinnaker hoisted, but unable to get it filled in the disturbed air around the fleet. Having extended her lead on the boats struggling with spinnakers, two minutes in Gravity Boots hoisted her kite, but it filled in a gust and she rounded up in a spectacular broach that allowed Icom Cool Blue to get past.

At the same time another boat, Mark Brown and Justin Leese’s Figaro Black Diamond, was quietly pulling through to leeward of the fleet. For a couple of minutes she and Icom Cool Blue were neck and neck, but then Black Diamond pulled ahead and continued to extend into a useful lead on the water.

She was ahead at the finish, taking line honours more than a minute and a half ahead of Enigma. However, on handicap Black Diamond was unable to save her time on either Enigma or on one of the lower-rated yachts in the fleet and the oldest yacht at the regatta, Sir Michael Briggs? Clyde 30 linear rater, Mikado, which dates from 1904.

Battle of the dayboats
White group competitors had another day of intense competition, with two classes standing out among the many close races. In the Flying 15 fleet Paralympic sailor Andrew Millband and Tony Hastings’  Fifty Fifty was the only boat to record two podium scores in the first two days of racing and today proved just as tight, with the first four boats just 63 seconds apart at the end of their two-hour race.

Mike Boll and Gil McCutcheon’s Ffuraha notched up their first win, finishing with a 47-second cushion ahead of Alex and Mike Tatlow’s Affore the Weak. Five seconds later Fifty Fifty was next across the line to take third place, with Nick Clarke’s Black finishing 11 seconds later to take fourth place.

In the Squib class start, Jim Holdstock and Ray Prime’s Jess looked clear ahead of the fleet on port at the outer end of the line, although Martin and Anne Harrison’s Hussar was also very well placed, as were Peter Wilson’s Crazy Diamond, and Duncan Grindley and Dave Ross in Surprise. A few boats tried spinnakers on the tight reach across the Solent to Lepe Spit, but quickly realised it was not a speed-enhancing decision.

Hussar rounded the first mark with a five-length lead over Jess at the start of a long downwind leg into the eastern Solent, sailing as close as possible to the north shore to gain relief from the ebb tide. “There was a Redwing that went aground twice in front of us,” says Harrison, “so we knew where the edge of the bank was. But even then we scraped the bottom and heeled hard over to get off.”

As soon as the boats behind saw this, the entire fleet headed for deeper water, simultaneously changing direction like a flock of birds. On the next leg, a windward one to East Knoll buoy, Hussar initially stayed slightly to the right hand side of the course and lost a couple of places to boats on the left. On the last windward leg to Seafarer Ale, Hussar stayed to the right, waiting for a big wind shift before tacking onto starboard. The strategy worked and she rounded the final mark, Seafarer Ale, with a 50-metre lead.

“It was really hard work, one of the hardest races I’ve done in a long time,” said Harrison. “The wind was all over the place, so we were always looking at the numbers [compass heading] and constantly trimming the sails. But it was very rewarding for us.”

Today was also a close race for many others in the class  six boats rounded the second mark simultaneously, and three boats  Jess, Chris Gear and Andy Faulks’ Osprey, and Kevin and Marney Gibson’s Satu  rounded the last mark together and were only 32 seconds apart at the finish. Places eight to twelve were then decided by just 51 seconds.

Report by Rupert Holmes

 

Quokka Cowes Week Day One (Photo Courtesy Asset Management Cowes Week)

Bright sun and a brisk east to south-east wind averaging 15-20 knots, but with gusts above 25 knots, provided exhilarating conditions for the first day of racing at this year’s Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.

With the strongest gusts forecast to be in the Eastern Solent, the dayboats in White Group classes starting from the RYS line were sent on a downwind leg to a course in the western Solent, before beating back to finish on the RYS line.

The early White Group classes to start had the last of the ebb tide sweeping them over the line, with most competitors taking a very cautious approach. In the Daring class almost the entire fleet was heading away from the line with only 20 seconds to go. Roger Marwood and Mike Bilbo’s Audax, skippered by Steve Sleight, looked as though they planned to make a break from the pack, starting to hoist the spinnaker early, but were forced to luff by a boat below.

At the gun, David Christie and John Mulcahy’s Finesse, Robin Richardson’s Division Belle, and Giles Peckham’s Dauntless were almost abreast of each other at the outer end of the line, just ahead of the pack. The fleet soon spread wide across the racetrack as they headed towards Cowes Radio, their first mark, off the Beaulieu River.

Division Belle was unable to maintain her initial advantage, but it was a good opening day for Peckham, who has won the class four times in the past five years. He took the winning cannon, more than two minutes ahead of Finesse, while Jeremy Preston and Mark Fear were third in Defender, another 32 seconds later.

Close competition

The Dragon fleet includes a number of world-class sailors and the leading boats were pushing as hard as they dared at the start. Although already close to the line, Gavia Wilkinson-Cox’s Jerboa was first to hoist a spinnaker, 10 seconds before the gun, and was swiftly followed by Graham and Julia Bailey’s Aimee. Sandwiched between the two was Chris Brittain’s Bear, which gybed onto a parallel course between them before hoisting, but a wrap round the furled genoa cost a few valuable seconds.

Initially the advantage went to Jerboa, who led round the first mark, Cowes Radio. However, she overstood the layline on the approach to the Gurnard Sailing Club mark at the end of the first windward leg, allowing Brittain to get through.

At that stage Graham and Julia Bailey’s Aimee was very close behind Bear, but their spinnaker was damaged on the drop and exploded on the next run, giving Bear an easier run into the finish. Yet she crossed the line only 16 seconds ahead of Eric Williams’ Ecstatic. 80-year-old American Edward Sawyer, who’s back in Cowes for the first time since breaking his neck during the Dragon Edinburgh Cup six years ago, took third place in Clairvoyant, crewed by Martin ‘Stavros’ Payne and Pedro Andrade.

It was an intensely close race throughout, with only 86 seconds separating the first four boats. Brittain, who now lives in Bermuda and was sailing a chartered boat with his wife Jilly, said afterwards: “It was a really great race  a bit more hairy than we were expecting, but really exciting. It was also fantastic to finish on the RYS line and get a gun  that’s what Cowes Week is all about.”

Thirteen RS Elites are racing this week in advance of the national championship that will be hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron. Although the fleet was all clear at the start, a fraction of a second before the gun Martin Wadhams’s Kiss swerved away from the line to be sure of not being over, allowing Jono Brown’s Aeolus to take an early lead. Chris Preston’s Limelight, just to leeward of Kiss, also pulled away as the fleet sped downwind under asymmetric spinnakers.

This class has often posted some of the closest racing at Cowes Week and today was no exception, with five boats, representing places three to seven, crossing the finish within 50 seconds. Crauford McKeon’s Kandoo lll was first home, one minute 42 seconds ahead of Wadhams. Third place was taken by Freebie, sailed by Tom Montgomery, Sonny Mallet and 1968 Olympic gold medallist Iain Macdonald-Smith.

High speed rivalry

There were spectacular conditions in the eastern Solent for the yachts in Black Group, with even the smallest boats surfing downwind at double-digit speeds, aided by the wind against tide induced short, but steep, waves. The big boats saw much greater speeds, with the TP52 Toe in the Water that’s crewed by traumatically injured servicemen hitting 21.9 knots.

Classes starting from the main Black Group line started heading east from a much shorter line than in previous years. With the tide in the deep water still ebbing, the northern end of the line appeared slightly favoured, offering useful tidal relief on the south side of the Bramble Bank as they beat upwind to the eastern Solent.

At the start of IRC Class 1, Jamie McWilliam’s Ker 40 Peninsula Signal 8 appeared to be in pole position close to northern end of the line, followed by Mike Greville’s Ker 39 Erivale lll, and another Ker 40, Nigel Passmore’s Apollo 5, and Michael Bartholomew’s King 40 Tokoloshe.

These were also the top four boats on corrected time at the end of the three and a half hour race. Apollo 5 took line honours, just over two minutes ahead of Peninsula Signal 8, with the two boats also taking first and second on corrected time, with Tokoloshe third.

In IRC Class 2, Duncan McDonald and Phil Thomas’ J/111 Shmokin’ Joe, Andrew McIrvine’s First 40 La Response, Richard Göransson’s Corby 36 Inga from Sweden and Joe Bottomley/Oliver Heer’s First 40 Sailplane led the fleet away, all starting towards the northern end of the line.Shmokin’ JoeSailplane and Inga from Sweden were the first three boats to cross the finish line, but all had been among the seven in the class that were OCS at the start.

This left Peter Rutter’s Grand Soleil 43 Trustmarque Quokka to take line honours, 58 seconds ahead of Steve Cowie’s First 40 Zephyr. However, Rutter was not able to save his time on Zephyr, who took first on handicap, with Rutter second and another First 40, David Vines Carpe Diem third.

The strong winds meant some gear damage was inevitable, including torn sails and at least one dismasting, however few classes saw more than one or two retirements. The main exception is the 83-strong 101-year-old XOD class, which struggled in the strong wind against tide conditions. Competitors will remember the opening day for sun, the exhilaration of fast downwind sailing with the occasional spectacular broach, and some really close racing.

Report by Rupert Holmes

 

 

Ship on the horizon by Phesheya Racing

Ship on the horizon by Phesheya Racing

The leading Class40 in the Global Ocean Race (GOR) is approaching the final finish line of the 30,000-mile circumnavigation in Leg 5 from Charleston, USA, to Les Sables d’Olonne, France, and the two skippers, Conrad Colman and Scott Cavanough, are flat lining east through the Bay of Biscay in following wind with just 137 miles remaining for Cessna Citation on Tuesday afternoon and an ETA at the finish line of mid-afternoon on Wednesday for the GOR’s overall winner.

Meanwhile, in second place, the Italian-Slovak duo of Marco Nannini and Sergio Frattaruolo with Class40 Financial Crisis are piling towards the Bay of Biscay trailing Colman and Cavanough by 328 miles at 15:00 GMT on Tuesday with a 464-mile lead over the South African duo of Phillippa Hutton-Squire and Nick Leggatt in third with Phesheya-Racing and the Dutch team of Nico and Frans Budel in fourth with Sec. Hayai, 179 miles behind Leggatt and Hutton-Squire, are furthest south, 130 miles due north of the Azores.

For Cessna Citation and Financial Crisis, the final miles of the nine-month circumnavigation should be plain sailing, although the busy shipping lanes and increase in commercial fishing traffic always pose an obstacle and the south-westerly wind may build, particularly for Financial Crisis on Tuesday night. Overall, for Colman and Cavanough, the following breeze will sustain until the finish line while Nannini and Frattaruolo should escape the strongest of the southerly breeze that is forecast to arrive west of Biscay on Wednesday, but both Phesheya-Racing and Sec. Hayai are heading for harder conditions as they approach Europe.

On Phesheya-Racing, Nick Leggatt explains the scenario for the South African team’s final 790 miles: “There’s a complex system of three depressions, including the remnants of Tropical Storm Beryl, all merging somewhere about 700 miles east of Newfoundland and then tracking towards the east, towards us again!” says Leggatt, looking over his shoulder at the systems building to the north-west. “The latest forecast issued by Meteo-France would indicate winds of anything from 17-40 knots and with even stronger gusts,” he confirms.

The downloaded weather forecast was soon confirmed by an unusual source: “A contact appeared on our trusty Garmin radar screen and a short while later the AIS revealed it to be a cargo ship called the Friendship V,” says Leggatt.  The 172-metre long ship was soon in sight: “She was clearly pitching and rolling with sheets of water spraying across her decks as she laboured her way southwards at just 9.5 knots,” he continues.

Leggatt and Hutton-Squire hailed the ship via VHF and discovered she was en route from Finland to Mexico, but both South Africans considered she was far south of the usual course for this route. “Upon further enquiry, her captain revealed that he had altered course towards the south as he is concerned about the approaching gale and wants to be well clear of its path!” adds Leggatt. “So it’s good to know that it is not just us that worry about the weather…”

GOR leaderboard at 15:00 GMT 5/6/12:
1.    Cessna Citation DTF 137 9.2kts
2.    Financial Crisis DTL 328 10.6kts
3.    Phesheya-Racing DTL 792 7.7kts
4.    Sec. Hayai DTL 971 9.8kts

 

This Is Us Crew  at award ceremony  (Photo by Billy Black)

This Is Us Crew at award ceremony (Photo by Billy Black)

By Norma Trease

As The Bard said “parting is such sweet sorrow”, and that is exactly the way everyone feels at the end of another fantastic edition of the Saint Barths Bucket. With every hug, every single-double-triple goodbye kiss, every sincere “I love you” a piece of your heart leaves with each friend and sailing companion who departs for their home ports by plane, ferry – or indeed by yacht. Yet we all know that in this world, we will all meet again, whether in another country, surely another regatta, boat show, wedding, or quay encounter in another port town. ‘Tis the nature of our biz! The upshot is that we carry with us, one and all, amazing memories of another Bucket, bigger and better than ever.

Michael Bradfield, owner of the superb Dubois-designed, Royal Huisman built Twizzle, summed it up as well as I ever could. “What a superb and exciting Bucket Regatta. The sailing was varied and challenging and brilliantly planned. The four categories were spot on and the exciting and tight finishes were a testament to the superb rating by Jim Teeters. Peter Craig as PRO and the team did a superb job of promoting a rich and varied regatta with a strong emphasis on safety and good nature. It was a privilege being able to take part.”

 

With forty seven yachts of this value and calibre, all competing for prizes, glory and bragging rights, racing can sometimes get a little hairy. Yet with the intense professionalism of both permanent and racing crews, once again, Bucket racing in Saint Barths remained safe, and with other than a few protest-enducing close calls, and some gear failure, everything turned out well in the end. However, there were some incidents of the yacht air-kiss variety.

On Day Three of racing, “Round the Island the Other Way”, with the four classes separated into two parallel courses, there were less of the mega-million-dollar-baby pile ups we all gasped at on Day Two. Day Threes’ biggest heart thumping moments happened at the finish line, which went between a marker buoy, and the lovely Burger yacht committee boat, Ingot. Blue Too, who had a great race, coming in 2nd in Class and 3rd place overall, narrowly avoided becoming the filing in a Perini panini. It was an exciting race for Perinis today, as Fidelis, and Parsifal III came across the finish line within inches of each other, and Andromeda also came exceedingly close to the committee boat.

BTW, a sincere “Merci Bucket” must be given to our three graciously loaned committee boats Rena, Krisujen, and Ingot. They are an integral part of Bucket racing, providing excellent hospitality and a great environment for our hard-working Race Committee officers, while also serving as appropriately elegant foils to the superb sailing yachts who pass them twice each day. Thanks very much!

It’s virtually impossible to fairly rate a gigantic fleet of this magnitude and diversity. No one has more data available, or crunches those numbers more assiduously than our ratings guru, Jim Teeters. Yet unfortunately, despite achieving the goal of many excitingly close-to-photo finishes, you can never please everyone in this super knowledgeable and experienced crowd. Amy Laing, who has for many years managed the complexities of the very busy Whisper program, delicately explained their frustrations at the ratings they received this year (which saw them start three from last on Day Three, for instance.) “The racing format needs work!” She further explained, “the size and number of yachts has rendered the objective of an overall winner impossible to fairly determine. The committee should be applauded for running this Bucket Regatta as competitively as it did given the obsolete format. I am sure Peter Craig will solve the format issue and Jim Titters will fairly rate the fleet in the future.” Extremely constructive criticism, and it is obvious that the Bucket racings need to be as varied and flexible as are the entries themselves.

Excellent racing and cruising skipper Dean Maggio, who unfortunately was involved in one of the few protests, looked at it from a historical perspective “this used to be resolved with a case of champagne, but no more! Maybe we could go back to that!” Capt. Johnno Johnson of Antara, always the Bucket host-with-the-most, also shared his frustrations too, “not matter how well we sail- and we’ve had some cracking good sailing here, we simply can’t get ahead of all of these bigger, newer boats. Sure, the owner and guests are having the time of their lives – but we like to at least be in the middle of the fleet.” Antara was this year awarded the Skulduggery Cravat for their always-excellent good humour, and much appreciated hospitality.

The All-Star Crew went to Endeavour ­- who were so much admired as they decorated the courses daily, and also came in top in the J-Class, with a very respectable 23rd overall. The Vitters Seamanship Trophy was given to Race Committee member Don Gunning, who worked night and day to keep this race safe, and enjoyable for everyone.

Lots of awards going around: Perini Navi Barracuda, took home the always coveted Escargot Cup – whose title is self-explanatory. The Alloy Yacht Award for the top performing Alloy Yacht went to Blue Too. In a charming speech, Alice Huisman presented the Wolter Huisman Memorial Award, given to the yacht or person who best exhibits the ‘spirit of the Bucket’ to Capt. Richard Archer of the Swan Virago, well-known for their competitive spirit, and intense emphasis on safety. The Perini Navi Cup, which had a lot of potential winners in this years bumper-crop, was given to Panthalassa, who had an excellent race, coming in 2nd in Les Grandes Dames class, and 4th overall.

 

BRAVO, BRAVI, BRAVE to every one of us all lucky enough to part if this always totally awe-inspiring event – or as Don Tofias, that yacht-loving, and Bucket-loving sailorman says “the 2012 edition of the St. Barths Bucket is now complete, and as always – Yachting was the Winner.”

Blogger Norma Trease, one of the most sincere Bucket fans ever, is  celebrating her own 25th Bucket Regatta – but who’s counting?

St Barths Bucket Photo  (Photo by Claire Matches)

St Barths Bucket Photo (Photo by Claire Matches)

Overall Winners

First

This Is Us

Second

Lady B

Third

Blue Too

Les Gazelles Winners

First

Mari-Cha III

Second

Firefly

Third

P2

Les Grandes Dames Winners

First Parsifal III
Second Panthalassa
Third Axia

Les Elegantes Winners

First

This Is Us

Second

Blue Too

Third

Windcrest

Les Mademoiselles Winners

First

Lady B

Second

Ganesha

Third

Twizzle

J Class

Endeavour

Skullduggery Award

Antara

Escargot Cup

Barracuda

Alloy Cup

Blue Too

All Star Crew Award

Endeavour

Wolter Huisman Memorial Spirit of the Bucket Trophy

Virago

Perini Navi Cup

Panthalassa

Vitter’s Shipyard Seamanship Trophy

Don Gunning – Race Committee

Descriptions of Awards

Best Performance by an Alloy Yacht

All Star Crew Award

At each Bucket Event, every yacht is asked to cast a ballot for the yacht crew among the fleet that demonstrates the most professional service in all tasks, while maintaining the best voie de vivre, camaraderie, teamwork and respect among the crew.  This is the crew that displays the pinnacle of the profession and has the most fun at it – the yacht that everyone wants to work aboard.   Because the award is earned by peer recognition, it has earned serious stature within the marine industry.

Spirit of the Bucket Trophy

This award is presented each year by Alice Huisman, to the yacht that best exemplifies the spirit of the Bucket Regattas.  The selection is absolutely subjective, but considers sportsmanship, safe seamanship, best hospitality and overall contribution to the event.

We have created a lot of humor around the premise that “Bribes can get you anything in the Bucket” and this is where the truth comes clear.  The Bucket Regatta was really started as a Club of yacht owners who loved nothing more than sailing their yachts well, getting the best out of them, and then sharing great yarns and libation at the end of the day.  There are a group of owners who have contributed a lot to the event over the years, from tenders to parties, committee boats, etc.  It is this Spirit that sets this event apart from all others.  It is in recognition of this Spirit that the Wolter Huisman Memorial Trophy is awarded.

Perini Navi Cup

Perini-Navi Yacht with the best result.

Vitters Seamanship Trophy

Awarded to the yacht that demonstrates the best seamanship and sportsmanship in the interest of promoting safety on the race course.  All participants in the Bucket acknowledge that superyachts have serious limitations operating safely in close quarters and therefore, the RC has always valued safety well above performance.  This award will recognize the yacht that best demonstrates that understanding.  It also goes to prove that nice guys don’t always finish last!!

Skullduggery Cravat

The Skullduggery Cravat is a perfectly tied Admiralty Noose, framed, with instructions in elegant calligraphy on how to tie a proper, 13 turn noose.  This was originally awarded to the owner of SARIYAH in 2002, so his captain, Timothy Laughridge (Bucket Committee) could be hung at the pleasure of the Fleet.

The award was renamed and put forward by the Committee to reinforce the Bucket premise that we are NOT here to promulgate adult behavior.  The Cravat will be awarded to the yacht and crew who display the best bucket humor.  As a guideline, we again focus on SARIYAH, where one year they spent the evening prior to the last race, slaughtering a down feathered mattress, then they packed the feathers in with their spinnaker so when they set their ‘Chute with the Hawk logo the following day, they not only dusted the horizon with feathers, but left a rubber chicken hanging from their spinnaker pole!!!

 

 

Breathtaking photos, results and more on the web site: http://www.bucketregattas.com/stbarths/index.html

Cumlative Results

St. Barths Bucket Day One (Photo by  Claire Matches)

St. Barths Bucket Day One (Photo by Claire Matches)

 

By Norma Trease
 
My mother used to say “if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” The Saint Barths Bucket version of this was heard at the end of today’s very rainy race from Rebecca’s helmsman saying “well, at least we don’t have to wash down – or chamois!” The other upside of this unseasonable – even cold – rain falling in buckets all day was that it brought wind. Albeit the gusty, the fluky, variable winds we saw proved as much a challenge as an asset. So Day One of the Saint Barths Bucket proved to be very interesting indeed, a dramatic start to an always fascinating racing spectacle.
 
To begin with, this incredible fleet, featuring 47 of the worlds’ most impressive sailing yachts, hailing from every yacht building nation on earth, with a LOA of close to two kilometers in length total is mind boggling to any normal human being, even us hundreds of die-hard Bucketeers. Add in a new, fourth ratings class, and the ever-present discussions which surround the Bucket Ratings System, and the stage is set for a lot of excitement.
 
Day One as usual featured the ‘Round the Island Race’ clockwise. The races here are based on the pursuit racing theory which has yachts begin at staggered times based on predicted performance, which when figured correctly (as if this were possible with a fleet of this breathtaking diversity), and counting in slightly differing courses for some of the classes – could, or should result in all of the yachts coming across the finish line at the same time. Great concept, and there’s doubt that no one does it better that our ratings guru Jim Teeters, but can you imagine the fear factor in that amount enormous, and hugely valuable fleet of floating assets bearing on the same finish line at the same time? Needless to say, it rarely happens just that way.
 
Todays’ Bucket racing proved about as good as it gets, despite the unseasonable weather. Most of the yachts had great starts, with many of them right on the money, or bare seconds behind their allotted times. Throughout the race, which was either 20.8 or 24.5 miles depending upon your class, there was some seriously thrilling sailing. The finishes – proving that the years of data crunching behind the Bucket Ratings system actually does produce results – were in a few cases almost too close. The final mark proved a bottle neck, which saw several encounters of the heart-stopping variety, including a couple of clusters of Perini Navis coming within drink-sharing distance of each other. A definitely too intimate meeting of Whisper, Rebecca and Salperton – which came very close to producing the seriously frowned-upon protest – was averted at the last minute by the usual gentlemanly discussion. No T-bones today!
These yachts, although increasingly built to perform on the race course, are still at heart cruising vessels, and invariably, the rarely seen stresses that racing places on the yachts can – and does – cause some damage. Depending on who you spoke to, there were anything from four to eight spinnaker sails shredded, including those on Barracuda and Meteor. Most seriously damaged was the largest yacht in the fleet, the very impressive 67m Baltic Yacht Hetairos, designed by one of hottest current yacht design collaborations possible, Dysktra and Reichel/Pugh. She unfortunately hit a submerged rock and did quite a bit of damage to her keel – yet finished the race to the bitter end.
 
This was a race where experience really counted. The gorgeous classic 43m ketch Rebecca, which was designed by German Frers, and built at Pendennis Shipyard, has participated in many yacht races worldwide. Their well-rehearsed team, composed of experienced former and current yacht skippers, has brought them onto the winners’ podium at numerous Buckets. They chose the conservative route, carrying up on deck and rigging three different spinnakers, and in the end, although they could have chosen a more aggressive approach, went with a heavier sail, but at least, brought it back on deck safe and sound. From my point of view riding on board as an ‘extra’, the swath she cut through the eleven vessel Elegantes de Mer class, with a start as second-to-last place, and finishing right in the middle provided a fantastic view of the entire fleet as we chased and caught up with most of the yachts on the course today.

St. Barths Day One (Photo by Oskar Kilborg)

St. Barths Day One (Photo by Oskar Kilborg)

 
The newly formed Mademoiselles de la Mer class, dominated by no less than ten Dubois designed beauties, saw a very excited Ed Dubois chortling over his very first ever Bucket race win on Lady B, snagging both first in class and first over all. Ganesha and Salperton IV came in at 2nd and 3rd place respectively. With the vast quantity of yacht owners they make happy year after year – not to mention the aesthetic satisfaction they bring to their legion of fans worldwide – they deserve lots of prizes. Congrats to him and his great Dubois team!
 
In Les Grandes Dames, a/k/a the Perini Navi class, there was a battle of titans, as two of the Bucket founder captains, Tim Laughridge and Ian Craddock did guest helmsman duty on Parsifal III and Antara. The light variable winds did not at all favor these elegant, stately beauties, yet that did not stop them from battling mightily all throughout the race course. Capt. Timmy snagged a First in class with some quite aggressive driving. Axia, with her multi-generation family team, their dogged hard work, and long-time Bucket participation, well merited their close 2nd in class. The sleek Panthalassa rounded out 3rd place in Les Grandes.

Symmetry Spinnaker (Photo by Pim Van Hemmen)

Symmetry Spinnaker (Photo by Pim Van Hemmen)

 
Adela, another long-time favourite Bucket boat, swept to first in Les Elegantes, with Blue Too and This Is Us chasing them closely. Overall winners were Lady B, Adela, and Mari-Cha III. The newly instituted daily prize givings were well-attended by many still soggy Bucketeers.
 
The rain stopped just in time for the chamois to be wielded, the champagne popped, and hors d’oeuvres to be prepared for the Yacht Hop, which due to some serious security measures, remained very civilized. Very popular were Bliss, Barracuda and Parsifal III, but as usual – the party winner favours always go to those dancing fools on Antara. Their theme this year was Motown, and they had the sound system, the tunes, the bling and the hairdos to carry it off in style.
 
The sun is out for Day Two of the Saint Barths Bucket 2012. We’re all looking forward to enjoying another great day out on the water. See you on the race course!

St. Barths Bucket  2012 (Photo by Claire Matches)

St. Barths Bucket 2012 (Photo by Claire Matches)

Meteor   (Photo by George Bekris)

Meteor (Photo by George Bekris)

By Norma Trease

Emails are already flying back and forth from yachts, to skippers, owners, race crew, the Race Committee, to hotels on island and everything in between, just a short week in advance of the always breathlessly anticipated Saint Barths Bucket, March 22-25, 2012. Soon, yachts, owners and crew will be descending on this verdant little slice of Caribbean heaven, eager to share the tremendous excitement and pure sailing joy that is Bucket Racing.

Beautiful Video of Saint Barths Bucket Regatta 2011  by Superyacht Media

Just announced by the Race Chairman Peter Craig is a spectacular fleet of more than 40 vessels, representing builders and designers worldwide. Once again, the fleet will be split into three classes: Les Gazelles, Les Grandes Dames, and Les Elegantes.

Needless to say, there will be a huge variety in the fleet, which this year will range from 27 to 62m LOA. He has published a detailed description of the various factors involved in the devilishly complicated task of calibrating the classes, so for more details, please do check    St.  Barths Bucket

2012 Entries

Les Elegantes des Mers
Yachts (12) Type Builder Designer LOA
Adela Schooner Pendennis Shipyard Dykstra & Partners 55m
Athos Schooner Holland Jachtbouw Hoek 62m
Bequia Ketch Brooklin Boat Yard Stephens 28m
BooToo Sloop Pendennis Shipyard Holland 27m
Marie Ketch Vitters Shipyard Hoek 55m
Meteor Schooner Royal Huisman Dykstra & Partners 52m
Paraiso Sloop Alloy Yachts Fontaine 33m
Rebecca Ketch Pendennis Shipyard Frers 43m
This is Us Schooner Holland Jachtbouw Hoek 42m
Whisper Sloop Holland Jachtbouw Fontaine 35m
William Tai Ketch Royal Huisman Hood 40m
Windcrest Ketch Hogdon Fontaine 30m
Les Grandes Dames des Mers
Yachts (17) Type Builder Designer LOA
Andromeda la dea Ketch Perini Navi Perini Navi 47m
Antara Ketch Perini Navi Perini Navi 47m
Axia Ketch Palmer Johnson S&S 38m
Baracuda Ketch Perini Navi Holland 50m
Blue Too Ketch Alloy Yachts Holland 34m
Clan VIII Sloop Perini Navi Holland 45m
Destination Sloop Alloy Yachts Dubois 41m
Fidelis Ketch Perini Navi Perini Navi / Holland 56m
Ganesha Sloop Fitzroy Yachts Dubois NA 39m
Genevieve Sloop Alloy Yachts Dubois 37m
Helios II Sloop Perini Navi Holland 45m
Hyperion Sloop Royal Huisman Frers 48m
Koo Sloop Vitters Shipyard Dubois 43m
Moonbird Sloop Fitzroy Yachts Dubois 37m
Panthalassa Ketch Perini Navi Holland 56m
Parsifall III Ketch Perini Navi Holland 54m
Zenji Ketch Perini Navi Holland 56m
Les Gazelles des Mers
Yachts (18) Type Builder Designer LOA
Bliss Sloop Yachting Developments Dubois 37m
Endeavour Sloop Camper & Nicholson Thomas Sopwith 40m
Firefly Sloop Claasen Jachtbouw Hoek 35m
Hanuman Sloop Royal Huisman Dykstra & Partners 42m
Hetairos Ketch Baltic Yachts Dykstra / R/P 67m
Lady B Sloop Vitters Shipyard Dubois 45m
Mari-Cha III Ketch Sensation Briand 45m
P2 Sloop Perini Navi Briand 38m
Ranger Sloop Danish Yachrs Burgess & Stephens 42m
Salperton IV Sloop Fitzroy Dubois 45m
Sojana Ketch Green Farr 35m
Symmetry Sloop Yachting Development Frers 30m
Twizzle Ketch Royal Huisman Dubois 58m
Unfurled Sloop Royal Huisman Frers 34m
Varsovie Sloop Nautor Swan Frers 30m
Velsheda Sloop Camper & Nicholson Nicholson 38m
Virago Sloop Nautor Swan Frers 30m
Zefira Sloop Fitzroy Dubois 50m

CLASS BREAKS

J-Class Hanuman  (Photo by George Bekris)

J-Class Hanuman (Photo by George Bekris)

 

Everyone has a soft spot for one repeat Bucket boat or another, and back this year will be fleet favourites Antara, Andromeda La Dea, Axia, Parsifal III, Ranger and Sojana to mention but a few. A couple of newer beauties will be making their second Bucket appearances including Huismans Twizzle, and Hanuman; joined by Hoek-designed Marie, who fired up the crowds last year with their spectacular air shows of historic WWII planes. Making Bucket debuts this year are Holland Yachtbouw schooner Athos, at 62m the largest Bucket Boat 2012; and of course, it wouldn’t be a Bucket without a couple of brand-new Perini Navis,  Clan VIII and Fidelis.

 

So, Bucket fans worldwide, prepare yourselves for the best week of the year coming up very soon, an annual treat for racing fans, and lovers of beautiful yachts alike. So it’s Bon Voyage and A Bientot until we see you next in Saint Barths!