Taking place each year around the jet-set Caribbean island of St Barths, today will see the start of four days of racing where a fleet of nearly 40 yachts – ranging from 23 to 90 metres - battle in six different classes in the waters around the island of St Barthelemy. Having started over 20 years ago, the annual St Barths Bucket Regatta is one of the most prestigious yacht racing events on the winter racing calendar, and draws to a close on Sunday 20thMarch.
This year sees the return of the magical J’s as a class to the regatta for the first time since 2013, who will get to enjoy four days of racing, as apposed to the three days of racing for the remainder of the fleet. Three J Class yachts are to meet at the starting line today, including Ranger (J5), Velsheda (J7), and the much anticipated, and latest addition to the J Cass fleet, Topaz (J7).
The handicapper (ORC) will structure the race start as to have each class finish together (as apposed to the entire fleet) with an estimated gap of 8 – 10 minutes separating each class. The 90 metre Royal Huisman yacht Athena will be the largest yacht in the fleet this year, with a diversity of other shipyards being represented including Perini Navi, Vitters, Nautors Swan, Southern Wind, Alloy Yachts, Holland Jachtbouw, Baltic, and Pendennis to name a few. Event sponsor Gaastra, the renowned sailing apparel house, will again ensure competitors are able to be kitted out in some of the best clothing on the market.
Photos by Studio Borlengi