St. Barths, a small island south of St. Martin, east of Saba and north west of Antigua. No space for much agriculture, not much on the way of manufacturing, but do they do a great job selling themselves. This is a mecca for the extremely wealthy from around the world. We sailed here from St. Kitts, about a 50 km trip with the wind 90 - 100 degrees mag and we were sailing about 355. So it was a beam reach and a little further aft of beam, just what our Lucky Bird loves. We unfurled the jib, left the main in the mast and off we went, we averaged just over seven knots for the trip with our new autopilot steering all the way. Just one of those off the wind gorgeous times on the Caribbean waters.
So let's talk a little about what happening here.
First let me explain about sail boat mast rigging in particular spreaders. At home on Lake Michigan most sail boats have two sets of spreaders, occasionally three for the larger boats like the GL70s. For the most part masts are 50 to 60 feet. Now here in Barths, with two sets of spreaders you are a tiny boat, like Lucky Bird, with three you are a small to medium sized boat, with four you are a medium to large and with five, you own a super yacht.
The Bucket Regatta is for cruising and racing yachts of a minimum of 30 meters, that's 98.5 feet. That's the minimum
; there are a few in that range but most are way beyond that size with masts that stretch up and up with five sets of spreaders. These are the super yachts that flock to Barths for this Regatta. At night the harbor is lit buy these boats with lights on there spreaders, aiming up and down from each, and red lights at their mast heads. It is truly an unbelievable expression of wealth.
I've owned and raced a C&C 35, a Beneteau First 42, a J/105 and at the start of every race I had butterflies in my stomach. Now picture steering a 150 - 200 foot yacht under full sail heading for the line with your best buddies on their five spreader rigged super yachts trying to beat you to the sweet spot on the line. No touching here, RIGHT! I can just hear one crew calling "Go up, Go up!!" to a boat to windward as they luff up to the line, wow!! And then, with just a few seconds to the start and all boats start falling off for speed, talk about nerves,yikes!. These boats can accelerate to 10+ knots in a blink of the eye. If the winds up probably, 12 - 15 knts and when they round the corner and head off the wind, out with the chutes and they are off.
We've rented a car for Thursday and Friday to tour the island and then chase the boats as they sail around the island in the first race of the Regatta.
I'm a die-hard sailor blessed with a wife who loves the water, and is not afraid to go offshore. Yes I am one of the lucky ones. So for me being here in St. Barths with all that's going around us is simply phenomenal. I am in sailors dream heaven. In my lifetime, what's left, I'll probably never sail on one of these giants but I can watch and admire. We are here enjoying the show and my sense it that's better than not.
Here's a shot of an example of the wealth that's here for the Regatta.
This is the private yacht s/v A, built in 2015, 469 feet in length, 82 feet in beam, that's almost two Lucky Birds, with 40,330 sq ft of sail area
This is s/v Perseus 3, 194 feet in length, 36 feet in beam. The red dots are the crew!
Tonight I counted 20 boats with their spreader lights on and red mast head lights. It is a site more awesome to me than Falmouth and English Harbors of Antigua.