Big Dutch footprint on 2013 Bucket Regattas
ST. BARTHS _ The annual St. Barths Bucket Regattas have long been exceptional rites of spring for exceptional super yachts. Their 2013 edition (March 23-31) set the bar even higher. No fewer than 35 majestic ocean racers converged on this Caribbean island. They revealed the depth and expertise of Dutch naval design and construction. A quarter of the St. Barths entries either came off a Dutch naval designer’s drawing board or were built by a Dutch yard.
The 2013 event began on a high note: a race of 5 J Boats. The world has not seen a race of that many Js since 1930. Three of those 5 Js _ the Hanuman (42m), Lionheart (43m) and Rainbow (40m) _ are all Dutch-built and designed. The other 2 _ Ranger (41m) and Velsheda (40m) _ have US and Danish roots. The aluminum-hulled Hanuman (built by Royal Huisman, designed by Dykstra Naval Architects) was declared the winner. She is a 2009 replica of the steel-hulled Endeavour II which made an unsuccessful run for the 1937 America’s Cup.
The St. Barths event is divided into 4 classes: Les Mademoiselles des Mers, Les Grandes Dames des Mers, Les Gazelles des Mers and the J Class _ boats of exceptional elegance _ has its roots in the early years of the America’s Cup. Of the 35 entries, 11 were longer than 50 meters. The longest entry was the 88m Dykstra-designed Maltese Falcon.
The Bucket Regattas began modestly in Nantucket in 1987 with 7 boats. They have since attracted an army of devoted participants, sponsors and supporters. By now, applicants overwhelm organizers even before the latter have published their Notice of Race. The race is keen to preserve its non-commercial nature. Sponsors are the marine industry, notably shipyards like Royal Huisman Shipyard, Holland Jachtbouw and others. They are told to treat the race as a networking, not a marketing opportunity. And if they need to explain the difference to their representatives, they are sending the wrong people to St. Barths.
The Bucket’s rating process uses length, weight, draft, ballast, rig and sail characteristics to calculate sailing performance. This works well and guarantees that an entire fleet converges on the finish line at roughly the same time.