Winners Declared at the St Barths Bucket regatta 2024

Winners Declared at the St Barths Bucket regatta 2024
33 m Gelliceaux of Southern Wind/ FarrDesign at the St Barths Bucket 2024 © Cory Silken
This marked the 30th edition of the annual St. Barths Bucket regatta, which first came to these waters in 1995. For a week every March, the tiny idyllic island of Saint Barthélemy turns itself inside out to welcome Superyacht owners, captains and crews from around the world, not to mention sponsors, volunteers and guests who collectively add over 1,000 people to the population of just over 9,000.

25 March, 2024 - St Barths -  By Barby McGowan - In winds much like Saturday's, the Superyachts quickly circumnavigated the island of St. Barths in Sunday's final race of three in the 2024 Bucket regatta series that started Friday. In the seven classes sailing, no one was a shoe-in to win, but four teams – Velsheda in Les Elegantes, Freya in Les Petites Dames, Nakupenda in Les Mademoiselles, and Melek in L’Esprit 2 – had it somewhat easier going into today due to perfect scorelines of 1-1.

On counter-clockwise “Wrong Way Around” courses that ranged in length from 18 to 24 nautical miles, each of those teams again won their race today, claiming class victories while Gelliceaux, with a scoreline of 1-3-3 won the coveted Bucket Trophy award for being the yacht that prevailed in the class with the closest, most competitive racing. That class was L’Esprit 1, with six teams competing.

“The regatta was everything we expected,” said Gelliceaux’s Captain Clive Walker, explaining that it was the boat’s first regatta ever. “We sailed well on day one to win, while things didn’t work out as well on day two. Today, we spotted a squall coming over the island, tacked and sailed toward it, and got a big shift that paid off big.” 

Along the way to crossing the finish line in the first place, Gelliceaux blew out its Code Zero and ultimately received a 30% penalty. They dropped to third in today’s scoring and posted seven overall points to second-place Vijonara’s eight.

The winners in 7 classes:

  • 𝙇𝙚𝙨 𝙂𝙖𝙯𝙚𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙨 𝙙𝙚𝙨 𝙈𝙚𝙧𝙨 - 𝗛𝗲𝘁𝗮𝗶𝗿𝗼𝘀, 67 m Baltic Yachts / Dykstra NA
  • 𝙇𝙚𝙨 𝙀𝙡𝙚𝙜𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙨 𝙙𝙚𝙨 𝙈𝙚𝙧𝙨 - 𝗩𝗲𝗹𝘀𝗵𝗲𝗱𝗮, 40 m J class, Camper & Nicholson
  • 𝙇𝙚𝙨 𝙋𝙚𝙩𝙞𝙩𝙚𝙨 𝘿𝙖𝙢𝙚𝙨 - 𝗙𝗿𝗲𝘆𝗮, Swan 90, 28 m Nautor Swan/Frers
  • 𝙇’𝙀𝙨𝙥𝙧𝙞𝙩 𝙙𝙚 𝙈𝙚𝙧 1 - 𝗚𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗰𝗲𝗮𝘂𝘅, 33 m Southern Winds/Farr Design
  • 𝙇𝙚𝙨 𝙈𝙖𝙙𝙚𝙢𝙤𝙞𝙨𝙚𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙨 𝙙𝙚𝙨 𝙈𝙚𝙧𝙨 - 𝗡𝗮𝗸𝘂𝗽𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗮, 33 m Danish Yachts / Fontaine
  • 𝙇’𝙀𝙨𝙥𝙧𝙞𝙩 𝙙𝙚 𝙈𝙚𝙧 2 - 𝗠𝗲𝗹𝗲𝗸, 56 m Perini Navi / Holland
  • 𝙋𝙚𝙧𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙢𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙊𝙪𝙫𝙚𝙪𝙧𝙩𝙨 - 𝗛𝗲𝘁𝗮𝗶𝗿𝗼𝘀, 67 m Baltic Yachts / Dykstra NA
218-foot ketch Hetairos - St Barths Bucket 2024 © Claire Matches

The only other class where the winner did not have all bullets was Les Gazelles, with four boats competing. Hetairos and Aquarius had each shared a day at the top of the scoreboard with the other trailing in second place, and it was a close battle today with Hetairos taking second to Aquarius’s third, giving the former team the class victory. Nilaya won today’s race.

Hetairos Captain Simon Hill reflected on the regatta: ”Sadly, we didn’t win the overall Bucket; however, we are very proud to win our highly competitive class again this year.
“The boat was in New Zealand 10 weeks ago, so to have a boat in St Barths, sailing at such a high level, is such a testament to our whole team, from the permanent crew, race crew, and our whole support team.
“Today’s race was another amazing day sailing in St Barths, so finishing at the top is something we are all very happy about.”

Hetairos also took first place in the Performance Ouveurts class after dual scoring was applied.

33m Nakupenda - Danish Yachts/Fontaine © Claire Matches

Nakupenda, which won the overall Bucket Trophy last year, sailed fiercely and flawlessly to fend off five others in her Les Mademoiselles class, the closest being second-place finisher Hyperion, which finished 2-2-3 to post seven points overall compared to Nakupenda’s three.

“Today, to sail to our rating it would have taken us two hours and 32 minutes to round the island, but we sailed the course in 2:17,” said tactician David Duff, supporting owner/driver Steve Rowland’s thought that, performance-wise, this was the team’s best day yet. “We’ve had to get used to a new rudder,” said Rowland. “It makes it easier for me to drive, but I have to say that crew work is the bigger factor; we’ve had the same people aboard for this regatta the last three years.” 

The crew delights in having won its last nine Superyacht races in a row, counting last year’s Bucket, the 2023 Safe Harbor Race Weekend in Newport (which it won in the Superyacht class), and this Bucket.

Velsheda, J Class © Claire Matches
Velsheda, J Class © Claire Matches

According to Velsheda’s Captain William Gibbon, the historic J boat’s owner/driver had a big day today with the somewhat challenging sea state encountered by the Les Elegantes, with five boats competing, and other classes. 

“He loved it and did a great job,” said Gibbon. “We do a lot of cruising with him, but in race mode we have an advantage over some of the other boats because we have a full seasoned race crew.” Velsheda always started behind Aurelius and another J Boat Hanuman, and always finished first to Hanuman’s second. “We carry a spinnaker and Hanuman did not during this regatta, so that was a big gain for us over them.”

Freya - Swan 90
Freya, Swan 90 - St Barths Bucket 2024 © Claire Matches

As the slowest boat in the three-boat Les Petites Dames, Freya always had the benefit of starting first, according to the boat’s Captain Joph Carter

“The others should have always passed us, but we managed to keep them behind,” Carter said. “We kept a loose cover while trying to sail our own race. We’ve also been sailing for 11 years as a team, so we’ve developed the sails, tuned the boat up…I would say we sail flawlessly, but if I did, then we’d have nothing to work on.” As for the thing Carter loves most about this regatta, as he has sailed in it now several times, he says: “I love being in St. Barths; it’s the best island in the world – what’s not to like?”

Melek had its sister ship Rosehearty always nipping at its heels in the five-boat L’Esprit 2 class but ultimately prevailed with three points overall to Rosehearty’s six on the merit of three second-place finishes.

Next year’s Bucket is scheduled for March 13-16.