St Barths Bucket (Photo © JCLASS/Carlo Borlenghi/ Studio Borlenghi )

St Barths Bucket (Photo © JCLASS/Carlo Borlenghi/ Studio Borlenghi )

As this beautiful island is still getting back to normal, the excitement of the Bucket is the same as ever. St Barths is a close-knit community that has been working non-stop to be ready for us, and as the sailors and guests arrive, we realize we are part of this special family. Everyone asks in earnest how their island friends are, how their homes survived.

It’s been a long road with some extra bumps in it for sure. Last week a “Surge” with a capital S closed the Port of Gustavia, prohibited ferry service and cargo drop-offs, and caused a paralyzing island-wide phone and internet outage. Port Director Ernest Brin said, “The surge was 3.5 metres at 17 and 19 seconds,” he said, “with the water so high it was hitting our office windows!” Brin is a hands-on kind of guy and doesn’t simply direct Port operations from his place on high; he’s often there to catch a dock line or otherwise lend a personal hand to visiting Buckateers. He even brings flowers every year to the “Bucket girls” who run registration.

Photo © 2018 Ed GudenasThe swell also effected J Class Svea. Their race sails and equipment missed getting unloaded on schedule last week when the container ship that was carrying the goods was forced to hold up offshore because of the Surge. Svea warriors tracked it down and made a passage with their J Class yacht to St. Martin on Tuesday to execute an interception. The team unloaded their containers themselves, taking hours to pile high Svea’s deck. The process, in reverse, repeated itself at the docks of the Capitainerie on Wednesday. It was not ideal and didn’t allow for any practice days. Svea and many others were able to resolve the situation. And, Svea won Thursday’s J Class race. 

Photo © 2018 Ed GudenasNorth Sails also overcame challenges.  On Wednesday, James Downing and Macia Alleminy from the North Sails Superyacht loft in Mallorca, were prepping Wisp’sspinnaker for repair in their mobile Bucket loft across the harbor and waiting for sewing machines – due to be delivered three weeks ago – to show up. “We’ve got back-up from the local loft, but it’s very small,” said Downing who thought perhaps his ship might have finally come in at the same time as Svea’s.

Owners, sponsors and other guests enjoyed a strikingly lovely evening Thursday at a private home on the west side of the island. For the 300 or more attending, the chef from Maya’s Restaurant created delectable appetizers while champagne flowed from bottles kept in illuminated bowls. The outer and inner harbor were similarly aglow with lights from the 26 Superyacht chariots that, by day, await those who are fortunate enough to be participating in the Bucket racing and other activities here this week.