Seventeen spectacular yachts competed for Bucket honors under sunny Newport skies. Blessed with beautiful New England weather, well sailed races were completed on each of the regatta days. The winds were light and challenging but the yachts all rose to the challenge.
Indio’s consistent good sailing brought them to the podium to accept class and overall honors. The 102 foot Frers designed and Wally built sloop won both races in the very competitive Gazelles class.
Sejaa was well-sailed on both days and won top honors in the Mademoiselles class. A good light air boat, conditions were on their side. The Grandes Dames trophy went to Tenacious - another well sailed yacht.
Saturday’s race presented light but very sailable conditions and the Race Committee sent all classes on more lengthy courses. The Gazelles had a 26nm course and the Grandes Dames and Mademoiselles were sent on a 22nm one. The course was set to challenge all with beat, run and reaching legs. The tacticians rose to the challenge and the best sailed boats rose to the top. The first four boats crossed the line within 45 seconds, making for a very exciting finish.
Sunday’s weather projections were for very light air, with some saying that the Bucket would be very lucky to get a race underway. After a half hour delay the wind did fill in and two short courses were set. The Gazelles were sent on an 11nm course and the other two classes on a 9nm one. Halfway through the race the breeze abated, making it of a bit of a struggle for some, but the racers hung in there and sailed their very best.
Race Director Peter Craig remarked that despite the light conditions, there were “two fun races, and as is usually the case, the best sailed boats were on the podium.”
Bucket Regattas are famous for their 26 years of shoreside fun and camaraderie. The 10th edition of the Newport Bucket was no exception. Friday and Saturday night socials at the Newport Shipyard marquee were filled with enthusiastic partygoers. Live music kept people dancing and the laughter and libations were in great supply! The ALLY Foundation was honored on the first night and their supporters and organizers joined in the welcoming celebration.
The Sunday awards ceremony took place at Salve Regina’s beautiful Ochre Court Mansion. A gorgeous sunset and gleaming crystal trophies made for a lovely presentation. In addition to the coveted perpetual Bucket trophy, Indio received a spectacular custom inscribed Mariner Chelsea Clock. Second and third place overall winners received beautiful Ship’s Bell Chelsea Clock trophies.
Special Trophies were awarded to three very deserving yachts. The Wolter Huisman Memorial Spirit of the Bucket Trophy was presented to Lady B. Both ashore and on the water, their hospitality, enthusiasm and energy were in evidence. The Vitters Seamanship Trophy was awarded to MITseaAH in recognition of their great sportsmanship. Last but not least, the Chippewa Bomb was awarded to Wild Horses for their creative and fun “branding” of the other yachts.
For More Newport Bucket Regatta Photos click HERE
For All the Results in Detail click HERE
Newport, RI — The Newport Shipyard is buzzing as captains and crews prepare their yachts for the tenth edition of the Newport Bucket. Classic and contemporary superyachts are gathering for a weekend of racing and socializing.
Racing begins Saturday August 25 in the beautiful waters of Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound. Executive Director Tim Laughridge expressed his delight at the impressive turnout: “2012 will add a classic chapter to the Bucket history. These superyachts are always a magnificent sight under sail and there’s no more beautiful place to sail than Newport.”
Seventeen yachts ranging in size from 72 to 156 feet will compete in three classes: Les Gazelles des Mers, Les Grandes dames des Mers, and Les Mademoiselles des Mers. Daily and series class trophies will be awarded with overall honors going to the top three yachts in the combined fleet. In addition to the coveted perpetual “Bucket” trophy, the overall winners will receive beautiful custom inscribed Chelsea Clock trophies.
Racing in her first Newport Bucket is the beautiful148 foot sloop Lady B. The Vitters Shipyard built, Dubois design, captured second overall and class honors at the St Barths Bucket last March. A familiar and favorite local yacht is the W-Class Wild Horses.
A Bucket hallmark is the focus on the friendly competition and fun socializing on shore. The “Spirit of the Bucket” is unique and time-honored with a storied 26 year history. The nightly parties begin at the Newport Shipyard with a welcoming party that honors The ALLY Foundation www.allyfoundation.org/
To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Bucket Regattas the Bucket committee commissioned a beautiful coffee table book highlighting the Regattas’ evolution. The Bucket Book is spectacularly illustrated with dynamic photography photos of the various regattas in Nantucket, Newport and St Barths taken over the years. Included also are memories and anecdotes from those involved – organizers, sponsors, owners, guests, crew, and spectators. For more information and to place your order bucketregattas.com/25thbook.html
ENTRIES for 2012
|It was an unseasonably wet, dreary day in Newport, but at least somewhere, someone was having fun. That somewhere was Rhode Island Sound where nearly 100 teams are competing in the New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex on the second day of the split-format event’s final four days of buoy racing. And that someone was Dawn Riley (Oyster Bay, N.Y.), who along with eight Oakcliff Sailing Center trainees, helped guide Art Santry’s (Oyster Bay) Ker 50 Temptation-Oakcliff to the top of the scoreboard in IRC Class 3after two victories in two races today.”We’re sailors; we get wet all the time,” said Riley, a veteran of America’s Cup and Whitbread Round the World Races who serves as executive director of Oakcliff in Oyster Bay. She explained that the Center’s mission of raising the level of sailors and sailing in the U.S. was on artful display today, as the trainees worked side-by-side with Riley, on mid-bow, and six other seasoned sailors, including Santry, who skippers and sponsors the boat.
According to Santry, the team played the shifts extremely well on three of the four upwind legs. “Our crew work was flawless, and the gybes and tacks were perfect,” he said, noting that yesterday Temptation-Oakcliff had been in third overall after finishing third in the opening race of the series. “I’m exceedingly impressed with the Oakcliff program; these kids are great. They have been working together with us all season, and they are tough, enthusiastic and dedicated to the program. If the crew work maintains, we’re going to be tough to beat.”
One race circle hosted four IRC classes, while another hosted one-design racing for J/109, J/111, Beneteau 36.7 and Swan 42 classes. Due to a light-wind forecast, the Swan 42s elected to resume buoy racing today rather than compete in their originally scheduled distance race, but in the end, they—like the other classes—were met with a hearty 12-15 knots by mid-morning, when the heaviest rain showers had moved on. Large swells also figured in as the winds tapered off to 8-10 during the course of the afternoon.
Another who had no problem making the most of the conditions was Craig Albrecht (Sea Cliff, N.Y.), skipper of the Farr 395 Avalanche in IRC Class 4. His team defended its first-place position from yesterday by finishing 3-4 today to stay two points ahead of Greg Manning’s (Warwick, R.I.) X-41 Sarah.
“Staying in the pressure was key, and changing gears up and down was important,” said Albrecht, whose team won the American Yacht Club Spring Series Regatta earlier this year. “The racing has been very close, and it has been exciting, especially at the mark roundings where many of the boats have overlapped.”
John Hele’s (Toronto, CAN/Newport) Daring won both races today in the Swan 42 class, propelling him to first overall from third yesterday and giving him a better shot at taking the national crown that is being determined here. Following a general recall, an individual recall after the start of the first race brought Z-flag penalties against the teams of Arethusa, Barleycorn, Impetuous and Conspiracy. Having not gone back to exonerate themselves from jumping the start gun cost the teams three positions on their scoring for that race. Defending national champion Ken Colburn (Dover, Mass.), helming Apparition, finished 4-4 today to drop to second from first yesterday.
The J/109s, which are sailing their North Americans, also had individual recalls in their first race that saw yesterday’s leader Storm, skippered by Rick Lyall (Wilton, Conn.), return to the start line to successfully clear. The team fought back to eighth and finished first in the second race, but the performance was only good enough for a third in overall scoring. It left the proverbial door open for Ted Herlihy’s (S. Dartmouth, Mass.) Gut Feeling to take the top spot after that team finished 4-2 today. With nine points, Gut Feeling’s overall score is shared with Skoot, skippered by Jim Vos (New Canaan, Conn.), which sits in second overall, so both teams are a slim one point ahead of Storm.
The J/111 Class’s first day of competition went well for Henry Brauer’s (Marblehead, Mass.) Fleetwing, which took bullets in each of two races. “The first race was great, because it was good breeze; the second race was a bit more challenging because of the lighter wind and the lumpy seas,” said Brauer, who is new to the J/111 Class this year after having sold the J/105 Scimitar that he co-owned with Stewart Neff (serving as his tactician here) and with which he won the 2011 J/105 North American Championship. “We got good starts, Stewart put us in the right place, and the team did a great job trimming the sails and keeping us going the whole time. The important thing to racing well is having a good team, so there are a lot of the same people onboard that I’ve sailed with in the past. Having that nucleus is very important.”
In the Beneteau 36.7 Class, William Purdy’s (New York, N.Y) Whirlwind displaced John Hammel’s (Arlington, Mass.) Elan at the top of the scoreboard after winning both races today. Elan finished 2-3 to take second overall, just one point behind Elan, and David Powers’s (Boston, Mass.) Agora is only one more point behind in third, on the merit of a 3-2 today.
Yesterday, in the second of two races for IRC Class 1, Bob and Farley Towse’s (Stamford, Conn.) Reichel Pugh 66 Blue Yankee could not finish within the time limit and posted five points to the two posted by George David’s (Hartford, Conn.) Reichel Pugh 90 Rambler. Today the two teams split the victories in two races, so Rambler still holds a three-point lead in the two-boat series thus far.
In IRC 2, Jim Swartz’s (Park City, Utah) IRC 52 Vesper still leads after finishing 1-5 today, while Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s (Newport, R.I.) IRC 52 Interlodge has moved into second place overall.
Three more new classes will join the action tomorrow: Melges 32, J/105 and PHRF, the latter of which is sailing “navigator courses” instead of around the buoys.
For complete results, daily video and blog for the 2012 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex, visit www.nyyc.org.
J/111 (One Design – 6 Boats)
Beneteau 36.7 (One Design – 8 Boats)
Swan 42 (One Design – 15 Boats)
J/109 (One Design – 17 Boats)
IRC 1 (IRC – 2 Boats)
IRC 2 (IRC – 5 Boats)
IRC 3 (IRC – 8 Boats)
IRC 4 (IRC – 14 Boats)
A predicted 1 p.m. squall never materialized, leaving 34 boats to rip around Conanicut Island after a noon start today in the New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex. The optional 19-mile Around the Island Race officially kicked off the biennial regatta’s second half and was scored separately so as not to effect the cumulative scoring that will begin tomorrow for 96 boats entered in the event’s final four days of racing (Thursday, July 19-Sunday, July 22). Sunshine was a bonus, along with decent 8-10 knot breezes that strengthened to 15 knots by the time the largest boat in the fleet, George David’s (Hartford, Conn.) Rambler finished off Fort Adams State Park, near where it had started only a bit over two hours before. Ten or so minutes behind Rambler was NYYC Commodore Bob Towse’s (Stamford, Conn.) Reichel Pugh 66 Blue Yankee (pictured at left, photo by Dan Nerney), but Blue Yankee and Rambler both succumbed to their handicap ratings to finish fourth and sixth, respectively, in IRC Class 1 while Jim Swartz’s TP52 Vesper claimed victory.
“The start was the most challenging part of the day because the pin-end of the line was favored by seven boat lengths so you had to be aggressive from the start,” said Gavin Brady (Annapolis, Md.), the America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean Race and Olympic veteran serving as tactician aboard Vesper. “We’ve done about seven or eight Around the Island races here, and every time we do it there are added elements. This time, the tide was on the change, so everyone was trying to find out when and where the tide was changing. This is the ultimate windward-leeward course, and I think it is one of the coolest short coastal races you can do anywhere in the world.”
Conanicut Island—nine miles long by one-mile wide—is located a mile west of Newport in Narragansett Bay. It’s only town, Jamestown, is both a summer destination and a year-round community with a population of about 6,000.
Striking a dramatic visual on the north side of Conanicut today was the towering—and therefore obviously empty—656-foot tanker Auriga Leader as it powered from Quonset Point through the IRC I class, blasting its horns five times as a “danger” signal to sailors. Avoiding the path of the fast-moving Singapore ship was a priority for the crews, which suddenly looked like tub toys in its shadow. And certainly no one squandered time googling Auriga Leader to learn that it is the first ship in the world to be partially propelled by solar power, and it’s actually a car carrier used to ship Toyotas—up to 6,200 of them at a time—from Japan to the U.S.A.
“Coming into the finish, the fleet had to decide which side of the ship they would go on,” said Brady. “The timing couldn’t have been worse.”
In PHRF 2, Kevin Grainger’s (Rye, N.Y.) J/105 Gumption 3 won. “Conditions turned out to be much better than we anticipated,” said Grainger (Rye, N.Y.) who has owned Gumption 3 since May of 2000 and travels up and down the East Coast to race against other J/105s. “We mostly do one-design racing, so without question, one of the great things about the Around the Island Race here is that we get to see a lot of the boats that we don’t have the ability to sail with normally.”
The race also provided great preparation for when Grainger and his team will engage in competition with 12 other J/105s in that one-design class’s racing, which is scheduled just for the weekend. “We’re looking forward to it; this is a really competitive fleet,” he said.
Other winners today were Craig Albrecht’s (Sea Cliff, N.Y.) Farr 395 Avalanche in IRC 3; Larry Landry’s King 40 White Witch in IRC 2; and Swift Delotto’s (Newport, R.I.) 12 Metre American Eagle in PHRF 1.
Racing will resume tomorrow for IRC, Swan 42, J/109, Melges 32, Beneteau 36.7, and J/111 classes, which PHRF classes will join the J/105s for weekend-only racing.
New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex
Around the Island Race, July 18, 2012
Final top five results:
IRC 1 (7 Boats)
1. Vesper, TP 52, Jim Swartz, Park City, Utah, 1
2. Interlodge, IRC 52, Austin and Gwen Fragomen, Newport, R.I., 2
3. Flying Jenny 7, IRC 52, David & Sandra Askew, Annapolis, Md., 3
4. Blue Yankee, Reichel Pugh 66 66, Bob and Farley Towse, Stamford, Conn., 4
5. Privateer, Cookson 50, Ron O’Hanley, Newport, R.I., 5
IRC 2 (9 Boats)
1. White Witch, King 40, Larry Landry, Newport, R.I., 1
2. Bandit, Swan 42, Andy Fisher, 2
3. Temptation-Oakcliff, Ker 50, Art Santry, Oyster Bay, N.Y., 3
4. Pendragon, X-41, Quentin Thomas, Portsmouth, R.I., 4
5. White Gold, J/44, James D. Bishop, Jamestown, R.I., 5
IRC 3 (6 Boats)
1. Avalanche, Farr 395, Craig Albrecht, Sea Cliff, N.Y., 1
2. Rush, J/109, Bill Sweetser, Annapolis, Md., 2
3. Superstition, J/109, Christopher Zibailo, Boston, Mass., 3
4. Seal, Yawl 40.67, Alfred-David Van Liew-Brodsky, Middletown, R.I., 4
5. Partnership, J/111, David/MaryEllen Tortorello, Bridgeport, Conn., 5
PHRF 1 (5 Boats)
1. American Eagle, 12 Metre, Swift Delotto, Newport, R.I., 1
2. Laura, 12 Metre, Kip Curren, Warwick, R.I., 2
3. White Rhino, Swan 56, Todd Stuart, Key West, Fla., 3
4. Bolero, S&S Nevins Yawl, Ed Kane , Newport, R.I., 4
5. Sejaa, Judel & Vrolijk, Mat Goldsmith, Southport, Conn., 5
PHRF 2 (7 Boats)
1. Gumption 3, J/105, Kevin Grainger, Rye, N.Y., 1
2. Night Train, Hinckley So’Wester 51, Thomas Haythe , Portsmouth, R.I., 2
3. Velocita, Melges 24, Sanford Tyler, W. Hyannisport, Mass., 3
4. Samba, Quest 30, Tristan Mouligne, Boston, Mass., 4
5. Flying Cloud 11, Swan 44, Gordon McNabb, Middletown, R.I., 5
Dateline: 07:09:18 ADT Bermuda: George David’s 90ft maxi Rambler has smashed the 635 mile Newport Bermuda race record, clipping a massive 14 hours off the previous best time set 10 years ago by Roy Disney’s Pyewacket. The new record now stands at 39hr, 39 minutes, 18 seconds (subject to ratification) – an average speed of 16knots.
A delighted George David said. “These were perfect conditions. The most exciting moment was when we hit 26 knots. I’m so pleased with our performance. We have reduced the record by 25% – Not bad for a boat that is now 10 years old. This Rambler is the best boat I have ever owned!”
Rambler not only slashed the race record, her crew also spanked their rivals, with Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente crossing the lighthouse line 1 hour 43 minutes behind, followed 3 minutes later by Shockwave skippered by George Sakellaris.
On corrected time however, Shockwave beat Rambler by 33 minutes, followed by Belle Mente in 3rd and Team Tiburon 4th. Two yachts in class 10 are still racing.
On the eve of the third running of Les Voiles de St. Barth, April 2-7, the palm-fringed port of Gustavia, St.Barthlemy quickly filled with an impressive array of race boats: ocean-racing maxis including the 90-foot Rambler and the Swan 112, Highland Breeze; classic beauties such the Olin Stephen-designed Dorade and the Fife-built yawl Mariella; a trio of IRC 52s, multi-hulls including the 66 Gunboat Phaedo, and two large racing classes with a mix of Melges, J/boats, and a mix of 40-footers, including the hot-off-the-press Carkeek 40, Decision.
Over 60 boats are registered for this years edition, up fromwith a large number of returning entries, proof that the regatta has filled the need for spirited competition towards the end of the winter season a time when tourism typically begins to wind down in the Caribbean. Though that was hard to tell yesterday, at the islands tiny airport, as the steady stream of small commuter planes landing were filled with a duffle bag-wielding collection of sailors from the ranks of the Americas Cup, round-the-world-ocean races, and Olympic competition, that included Gavin Brady (Vesper), Scott Vogel (Rambler), Bouwe Bekking (Nilaya), Cam Lewis (Paradox), Charlie McKee and Ross MacDonald (Mayhem), Tony Rey, Jeff Madrigali, and Nacho Postigo (Powerplay), and Dee Smith (Decision).
But its not just the professionals that flock to Les Voiles de St. Barth, the regattas program and mix of courses also appeals to a competitive group of amateur and family racers that hone their skills on the growing circuit of Caribbean regattas that take advantage of this sailing paradise.
While not the easiest of destinations to reach some U.S. west coast sailors logged 16+ hours in transit, while others from Europe only slightly less the island of St Barths itself is a welcome reward at the end of the road: a turquoise blue, crystal-clear sea, pristine white sand beaches, and an array of fabulous restaurants just payoff for a long days journey.
Francesco Mongelli, navigator onboard Jim Swartz IRC52 Vesper, is here racing in St Barths for the first time. The Italian sailor, who sails primarily in Europe, has been racing with the Vesper crew since last October, and was clearly keen to have touched down in this French paradise, Its a mix of all the best sailing places, together with perfect weather and good food. Having spent the afternoon in a tender carefully checking out the coastline and charted (and uncharted) rock outcroppings, Mongelli added, Its pretty similar to Porto Cervo, the difference is that there you more or less know where everything is, and the charts are accurate. You cannot take the same risk here that wed take in Porto Cervo.
Racing will run from Tuesday, April 3 Saturday, April 7 and will feature a mix of Olympic triangles, short coastal courses, and a 20-30 nautical mile round-the island race. The fleet will be split into seven classes: Maxi (> 21 meters), IRC52 (former TP52s that have been optimized for the IRC rule), Spinnaker I + II, Non-Spinnaker (racer/cruiser), Classic (vintage/traditional), and Multihull. Thursday is a layday at Nikki Beach, with lunch and a full afternoon of activities, including a paddleboard competition.
New this year, Les Voiles will offer real-time race tracking with 2D visualization via the internet. Waypoint-Tracking (www.waypoint-tracking.com) developed the system in close collaboration with ISAF. The site will allow enthusiasts to follow the daily racing action live or to replay at a later time.
Many of the competing boats are moored stern-to at the Quai General de Gaulle, site of the Race Village, where all of the daily breakfast and post-race activities and music take place. This evening, skippers and tacticians were on hand for the Skippers Briefing led by Loic Ponceau, Race Committee Chairman, and organizers Francois Tolede, Luc Poupon, and Annelisa Gee. Following that was Les Voiles St. Barth Opening Ceremony, where Bruno Magras, President of the Collectivit of St. Barth, welcomed more than 500 sailors to the weeklong event.
A regular and enthusiastic competitor in the Caribbean, Sir Peter Harrison was named the godfather or patron of this years Les Voiles. Harrison, owner of the 115-foot Farr-designed Sojana, told the crowd, As a visitor from England to this beautiful French island, one of the most beautiful in the West Indies, Im thrilled to be asked to the patron of Les Voiles. Bon vent Les Voiles de St. Barth, and good luck, everyone!
Also sailing on Sojana is Lionel Pan, who is also back for his third Les Voiles. He said, Obviously there are plenty of good reasons to be here, and to come back every year with the same enthusiasm: this place is made for sailing. In a very short time, Les Voiles de St. Barth has become the place to be, very much like Saint Tropez in the Mediterranean. And the word is spreading around. Shortly there will be a waiting list to be a part of the event!
The weather forecast for the next few days calls for light winds, though the breeze is expected to increase throughout the week. Racing is scheduled to start tomorrow, Tuesday, April 3, two miles northwest of Sugarloaf Rock off Gustavia; one race is scheduled with a start time of 12noon.
When the third annual Les Voiles des St. Barth gets underway this April 2-7, there will be more that meets the eye than the simply stunning panoramic views of the colorful French West Indies island that hosts the event and the expansive blue Caribbean ocean that surrounds it. Competitive sailors and, for that matter, local residents and visitors alike will have the privilege of also indulging in the indelible impressions left by the aesthetically unmatched designs of some of the world’s finest yachts participating as well as the passion of their owners.
Among the 60+ entrants registered to date is what many call the world’s most famous yacht of all time: the 52’ (15.8 metre) yawl Dorade. Purchased in 2010 by Matt Brooks (San Francisco, Calif.), Dorade was designed by the late Olin Stephens and originally launched in 1930. She influenced nearly all developments in yacht design for the next three decades and was hugely successful in distance racing, taking overall victory in the 1931 Transatlantic race and the 1931 and 1933 Fastnet races, among others. Now, Brooks, who has spent the last year overseeing a refit and major restoration of Dorade, is utilizing Les Voiles de St. Barth as a platform for both yacht and crew preparation, with the goal of entering Dorade in her first major modern ocean race this summer: the Newport to Bermuda Race, in which she finished second in both 1930 and 1932.
“We are assembling and training a crew with the right skills, chemistry and experience to race Dorade and win,” said Brooks, who is a world champion in the Six Meter class as well as an accomplished mountain climber and world record-holding jet pilot. “We also are toughening up Dorade herself, readying her for the kind of long-range sailing she hasn’t seen in decades, keeping in mind that while she may be game, she is also an 80-year-old lady.”
Dorade will sail in the Classics division against such other standouts as Kate, an Intel 60 (18.2 metre); Cruinneag III, a 63’ (19.4 metre) ketch, and Marie Des Isles, a Gran Shpountz 65 (20 metre). Among Dorade’s crew will be John Burnham, an IOD World Champion and Shields ClassNational Champion; legendary Bermudian sailor Buddy Rego; Jesse Sweeney, Dorade’s navigator and a member of the Camper Emirates Team New Zealand’s meteorology team for the Volvo Ocean Race; and Jamie Hilton, a two-time 12 Meter World and North American Champion, who also was a member of Brooks’s team when it won the 2011 Six Meter World Cup.
“St. Barth is a legendary destination and a beautiful place to sail, and we are expecting great wind, great camaraderie among the competitors, and a good test of the new and improved Dorade,” said Brooks.
Another remarkable yacht that will be seen in St. Barth is the Hoek 115’ (35.2 metre) Firefly, the recently launched prototype for the new one-design F Class. The superyacht was designed to hold her own against larger (130’/39.7 metre) J Class yachts and sports some similarities such as a towering rig and long bow and stern overhangs to those massive yachts, which were built in the 1930s and have experienced a rebirth.
According to her designers, Firefly is a perfect mix of classic lines and retro-design details, optimizing her for the Spirit of Tradition classes hosted by some regattas, but at Les Voiles de St. Barth she will depend on her high-performance racing characteristics to prevail against eight other yachts thus far signed up in Maxi class (yachts 75’/22.86 metres and longer).
“The concept is to have a beautiful, classic-looking boat with a modern underbody, using the latest technologies in deck gear and rigging solely for use as a racing boat and/or daysailer,” said Mark van Gelderen, who supervised Fireflys nine-month building process and has been the captain since she splashed in June of 2011. Having headed straight to the Med to compete in a handful of maxi events, Firefly was further optimized to improve performance before heading to the Caribbean.
“We have a relatively young crew combined of professional sailors, very good amateurs and friends of the owner,” added van Gelderen, who will be skippering and driving together with the owner. “Within the crew we have Olympic, Volvo Ocean Race, big boat and dinghy experienced sailors a great combination of very motivated guys!”
Van Gelderen also explained that St. Barth will offer a great place for guests and crew to be entertained when not participating in racing. “There are beaches, great restaurants, shopping and peace and tranquility, all within close proximity,” van Gelderen said. “It’s the perfect combination.”
While three other Maxi Class boats — the 112′/34 metre Baltic Nilaya, the 112′/34 metre Swan Highland Breeze, and the 115’/35 metre Farr Sojana — are nicely matched size-wise to Firefly, no one is quite sure how they or five smaller Maxis in the class are going to compare speed-wise. Certainly all eyes will be on the 90′ (27.4 metre) Reichel/Pugh Rambler, which won the inaugural Les Voiles de St. Barth and has been brought out of retirement by its owner George David (Hartford, Conn.) after its successor, Rambler 100 (which won last years Les Voiles de St. Barth with David steering) lost its keel and capsized in the 2011 Fastnet.
“These races invariably start a mile or two off Gustavia (the main harbor and capital of St. Barth), which means in any kind of a northeasterly trade it is a shifty first leg to a weather mark just outside the harbor,” said David, who most recently finished second overall and second in class with Rambler at the 2012 RORC Caribbean 600. “Then there are a couple of miles reaching either way across the south side of the island, so it’s a parade after that first weather mark, and you don’t want to get there second. Our ride last year, Rambler 100, got us there first every time with boat lengths to spare. It wont be so easy in the 90 footer.”
David noted that 15 of Ramblers crew sailing in the Les Voiles de St. Barth were present at the now-famous Fastnet incident, and a majority of them have sailed in the last two runnings of this regatta.
In addition to the Classic and Maxi classes at Les Voiles de St. Barth, there will also be a Racing Class with divisions for Spinnaker, Non-Spinnaker, 52-Footers, and Multihulls. Other notable entries include the Tripp 75 Blackbird, the Carkeek 40 Decision, the X 65 Karuba 5, and the Irens 63 trimaran Paradox.
With a Tuesday (April 3) through Saturday (April 7) schedule that includes four days of intense racing and a lay day on Thursday (April 5), the regatta kicks off on Monday, April 2, with opening ceremonies and cocktails at the festive Race Village on the Quai General de Gaulle overlooking Gustavia Harbor, where the event is headquartered. Lay day events planned for Nikki Beach include lunch and a surprise sporting challenge for all crews. Evening activities include off-site parties as well as post-racing bands and entertainment in the Race Village.
Organizers unveiled the official limited edition Les Voiles de St. Barth 2012 poster by well-known St. Barth artist Antoine Heckly. Only 300 posters will be printed, with the original artwork to be auctioned off during the crew party –hosted by the real estate agency, Sibarth — at Shell Beach on Wednesday, April 4. Proceeds from this auction will be donated to FEMUR (Foundation for Emergency Medical Equipment) to fund the purchase of a CT scanner to be installed in the new Radiation Center in the island’s Hopital de Bruyn.
It has been a busy 24 hours at the Antigua Yacht Club. At dawn on the fifth day of the RORC Caribbean 600, only three yachts were still at sea vying to complete the course before tonight’s Prizegiving celebrations and all of the class winners are now provisionally decided. The bar at the Antigua Yacht Club has been in full swing, buzzing with stories between the crews and songs in a myriad of different languages.
Team Selene skippered by Benjamin Davitt finished yesterday morning. The Swan 80 sailed an excellent race to claim third place overall and will lift the prestigious Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy later this evening.
Without doubt, the closest racing for this year’s event was in IRC One. Colin Buffin’s Swan 62, Uxorious IV, was first to finish, but the team did not celebrate a class win. Buffin and his young team knew that Amanda Hartley’s Swan 56, Clem, was extremely close to eclipsing their corrected time. Just over three and half hours passed before Clem crossed the finish line to win the class by just 21 seconds on corrected time. There were ecstatic scenes dockside as the Spanish crew of Clem celebrated their class win. The entire crew of Uxorious IV including Colin Buffin sportingly applauded their rivals. Amanda Hartley spoke of their win.
“‘We had no idea until we crossed the line and turned on our phones which went crazy with people calling in from Spain. By our calculation we thought we had lost out by five minutes. We got stuck at Guadeloupe for four hours and we could only sit and watch Uxorious get away. We are obviously extremely delighted and really appreciate Colin and his team coming over to give us such a lovely welcome back to Antigua.”
Jaime Torres’ Puerto Rican First 40, Smile And Wave, finished shortly after midnight last night to claim third in IRC One.
Scarlet Logic, co-skippered by Ross Applebey and Tim Thubron, finished the RORC Caribbean 600 shortly after 2300 last night. The Oyster 48 has been vying for the overall win for the last two days. In the end Scarlet Logic missed out, but the team had put in an incredible effort and have been rewarded with a convincing win in IRC Two. Scarlet Logic has the best corrected time in IRC One, Two and Three and as a result will be awarded the fantastic prize of a week’s accommodation at the luxurious Inn at English Harbour.
“Fantastic, elated but bloody tired,” admitted Tim Thubron, co-skipper of Scarlet Logic. The weather lined up nicely for us and we were aware that we were in with a chance of beating the big, well funded professional teams and that really spurred us on and made us push even harder. A lot of credit must go to the whole team, especially Ross Applebey. Scarlet was immaculately prepared and we hardly had a single breakage, however we did need to drop the main to replace a sail slide. The job was done and the main back up in eight minutes, that to me says it all.”
There was joy and pain for both IRC Canting Keel and the Class40s. Ernesto Cortina’s Volvo 70 Gran Jotiti finished the race in just over two days. The Spanish team is racing the yacht formerly known as Telefonica Black in the last Volvo Ocean Race. Ernesto spoke about his team shortly after finishing. “This has been a great experience, even though our result was badly affected by a lot of sail damage. Many of the sails are tired from thousands of miles of racing. However, the crew have been a joy to sail with and this race is helping us build for the future. Gran Jotiti’s aim is to create a world class amateur Spanish offshore sailing team and we have learnt a lot through this race.
Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50, Privateer, showed exceptional pace and boat handling throughout. Unfortunately the American team failed to start correctly and accepted a 10% penalty from the race organisers resulting in Gran Jotiti being declared winner of IRC Canting Keel.
The Class40s turned into a battle royale between Christophe Coatnoan’s Partouche and Christof Petter’s Vaquita. The two Class40s were locked in a heroic tacking duel for the final push to the finish line, a 40-mile beat from Redonda to the finish in Antigua.
Vaquita crossed the line just after sunset beating Partouche by a slender margin, just 15 minutes in a race lasting over 3 days. However, Vaquita failed to start the race correctly and to the Austrian crew’s disappointment, the class win was awarded to Partouche: “It was a tough race and we had a couple of moments that really slowed us down,” commented Christophe Coatnoan who raced two-handed with Eric Calmard. “We picked up a fishing float after Nevis without realising and we probably lost 8 miles before we knew it was there. Later at Guadeloupe, I had to dive into the water to free Partouche from yet another fishing buoy. The race was an excellent test for our new design especially for our sails as I think we used every one of them during the race.”
Vaquita’s Andreas Hanakamp commented: “Obviously we are disappointed to have been penalised but we were delighted with our performance. Partouche is a brand new Finot design, whilst Vaquita is a 2006 Akilaria. The RORC Caribbean 600 is a testing race course and a very tough race, exactly what we needed to prepare for our main competition of the season, The Atlantic Cup later this year.”
The latest competitor to finish the RORC Caribbean 600 is Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36, High Tension. Falmouth Harbour exploded with noise as the smallest yacht in the race tied up right outside the Antigua Yacht Club. Thunderous blasts from megayachts, superyachts and foghorns literally shook the dock as the whole of the sailing community in Falmouth heralded the arrival of local hero Bernie and his crew.
“I said we would be here tonight but I always like to be early for appointments,” joked the Antiguan dentist. “It was a hard but satisfying race and the beat from Redonda to the finish seemed to take forever. We could see Antigua but it just didn’t seem to be getting any bigger, however a few miles out a massive rain squall hit and veered the wind favourably for us to speed our way to Antigua. After last year’s dismasting, I think maybe someone was looking out for us!”
Tonight the RORC Caribbean 600 Prizegiving Ceremony will take place at the Antigua Yacht Club. The two yachts still racing are Igor Zaretskiy’s, First 40.7 Coyote II and the RACYC Offshore Racing Team – White Knight’s Spirit of Venus. Both are expected to make tonight’s party, which should be a momentous occasion.