Sailing through the Spring

Springtime generally means warmer weather, melting snow and blooming flowers to most of the world. On St. Barth, springtime means sailing regattas under sunny skies. The island hosts two exciting regattas in March & April; the St. Barth Bucket Regatta during the last week of March, and Les Voiles de St. Barth  (pronounced “leh- vwal”) during the second week of April.  Unfortunately I usually am so busy working during the week of The Bucket, that I don’t get to participate in the festivities that surround the races. I do however get to partake in the happenings during les Voiles which is always a blast. Here’s a bit of what each regatta is about:

Racing around Gustavia

Racing around Gustavia

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Yachts of The Bucket taken from high up on a hilltop

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Mega sailing yachts by night on the dock

The St. Barths Bucket Regatta generally has a size minimum for entrants of 100 feet, dividing the boats into 4 different categories. They are amazingly large & majestic vessels racing around the island. This year there were 36 participants from around the world. From the smallest, 80 foot W-Class sloop; Wild Horses, to the largest 288 foot Perini Navi schooner Maltese Falcon, and many others in between such as the 134 foot J-Class sloop Ranger and one of my favorites; 184 foot Perini Navi Zenji. The Bucket donates a percentage to a charity of the island each year and have “an emphasis more on wholesome fun than on winning

jockeying for position at the starting line

jockeying for position at the starting line

Racing around the first buoy

Racing around the first buoy

Some boats of Les Voiles

Some boats of Les Voiles

Les Voiles de Saint Barth Regatta is another amazing week, this year featuring 65 entries of incredible vessels from around the world divided into 6 classes for 4 days of exciting races. The courses change from day to day depending on weather conditions & class of boat. There is a day off in the middle for all crew to have a bit of fun in the sun on the beach. This is another regatta devoted to competitive sportsmanship on sea but fun camaraderie ashore. Some of my favorite boats: 52′ Vesper, 37′ Girls for Sail, and 51′ Varuna, which is incredibly stealthy looking with it’s all-black hull and sails.

These are island versions of sporting events, bringing crowds of sailing & racing enthusiasts, and curiosity-seekers alike.  I know I’ve said it before, but I’m going to say it again; It’s a good time to be on this little island. Life is good.

Spring has sprung and the sailing has begun!

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