Anticipation is building for the 2023 St Barths Bucket as the island prepares to welcome the world’s racing elite to the port of Gustavia for the highlight of the big boat racing calendar. An impressive lineup of over 20 newcomers and veteran participants are set to compete across three days from 16-19 March, each vying for the top prize…
Action is a regular on the regatta circuit, which comes as no surprise given her Dutch pedigree with Royal Huisman and Dykstra Naval Architects behind her build and design. Very few details are known about this 37.3-metre sailing yacht but her racing record speaks volumes. She won the 2022 Superyacht Challenge Antigua and the crew will have gotten in some decent practice at this year’s edition in the week leading up to the St Barths Bucket. After coming fourth in her class last year, she will be back with a vengeance.
The 49.8-metre ketch-rigged Almyra II was delivered in 2000 by Perini Navi as the second in the shipyard’s popular 50-metre series of sailing yachts. Her two masts stand 51- and 40 metres tall, respectively, and fly a total of 1,289 square metres of sail. Her steel hull provides exceptional stability with the benefit of Perini’s unique “single-handed sails control” concept, first implemented by Fabio Perini.
The two-masted schooner Athos recently emerged from a full-scale refit at Huisfit with a 1.3-metre extension to her now 63.2-metre LOA. Work also included the addition of new booms, new sails, and carbon rigging to improve sail management and performance, all of which will be put to the test at the 2023 St Barths Bucket. The vessel was originally delivered by Holland Jachtbouw in 2010, based on a design by Hoek Design, and remains the shipyard’s flagship build. She is easy to spot heeled over thanks to her green underside and red bootstripe.
The 27.6-metre Bequia was built in the US by Brooklin Boat Yard and delivered in 2009. Ketch rigged with over 1,000 square metres of sail, she was designed by Stephens Waring & White, who also completed the naval architecture and designed the interior. Just last year, Bequia was crowned the overall winner of Division Two at the Safe Harbor Race Weekend in Rhode Island.
The 43-metre sailing yacht Columbia was delivered in 2014 by Eastern Shipbuilding as a replica of the 1923 fishing schooner by the same name. The owner discovered the original line drawings of William Starling Burgess in a Massachusetts maritime museum and took the opportunity to fulfil a lifelong dream of bringing a piece of maritime history back to life. Her 930-square-metre rig and sail plan is a close copy of the original Columbia, except for the addition of hydraulic winches to ease handling. Her nine sails, including a 315-square-metre mainsail, are made of a synthetic material called Oceanus treated to look and behave like Egyptian cotton, and the lines are made of Dacron instead of manila. The new Columbia can reach 17 knots under sail.
New Zealand yard Fitzroy Yachts launched Gitana in 2009, after which the 45-metre sloop was nominated for Best Sailing Yacht in her size category at the 2010 World Superyacht Awards thanks to the design efforts of Dubois Naval Architects. She was delivered as Salperton IV to a serial sailing yacht owner, the fourth in the Salperton dynasty, and immediately made her debut on the big boat racing circuit. She has been racing ever since.
Delivered in 2013 by Baltic Yachts, the 33-metre Inukshuk won the coveted Sailing Yacht of the Year award at the 2014 World Superyacht Awards. Designed by German Frers, who also completed the naval architecture, this lightweight sloop offers fast and efficient sailing capabilities thanks to her telescopic keel, favourable power-to-weight ratio and carbon rig and rigging.
One of two Swan 115 models, Nautor Swan specifically tailored the 2018 delivery JASI (formerly Odin) with racing in mind. The hull shape, flush deck, sailing systems, mast and keel were all designed by the yard to provide a competitive edge in world-class regattas such as the Bucket. The 35-metre sailing yacht features the design talents of German Frers with added Code Zero cableless technology making sails lighter and easier to handle. JASI has previously competed in the 2022 Les Voiles de Saint Tropez Maxi Week.
Kawil started life in America at the Derecktor Shipyard before graduating onto the superyacht regatta circuit. Designed by Sparkman & Stephens, the sailing yacht claimed victory at the New Zealand Millenium Cup regatta in 2020 and, after winning her class at the St Barths Bucket in 2022, is returning to defend her title at this year’s competition. At 34-metres LOA, she is one of the smaller competitors in this year’s lineup but should not be underestimated.
Lot 99 was delivered in 2017 as the first of Nautor Swan’s Swan 95 range of 28.8-metre sailing yachts, built with a lightweight carbon fibre-foam sandwich hull. Both the design and naval architecture were completed by German Frers, with a lifting keel that reduces the yacht’s draught from 5.5 metres to 3.3 metres and twin rudders for fingertip steering and manoeuvrability.
Italian shipyard Perini Navi introduced a number of innovations for its ninth 56-metre model that separate Melek from her sisterships. The yacht features an innovative foredeck with a built-in tender garage and an aerodynamic superstructure optimised for better navigation performance. Delivered in 2010, Melek continues to turn heads owing to her grey-chrome exterior by Ron Holland Design.
The 50-metre Meraki is the product of a Dutch power duo Vitters and Hoek Design and was commissioned by her owner especially for racing. The yacht was designed with a slight tumblehome to ensure an optimum heeling angle, as well as a reduced freeboard and low-profile deckhouses for exceptional visibility at the helm. She came second in her class at the 2022 St Barths Bucket, the first to be held since Meraki‘s delivery in 2020, and is returning to cinch that number one spot.
Nakupenda is a 33-metre Vismara V80 that was initially intended as a family-friendly yacht. The design team developed a new winged keel, able to ensure a minimum draft of 3.2 metres without reducing stability. Each wing acts as a winglet, effectively doubling the keel aspect ratio and reducing lift-induced drag. Her rig is the work of performance boat builder Killian Bushe, whose composite expertise has been utilised by multiple America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Racing teams.
This 40-metre sloop from Baltic Yachts, Perseverance I, combines traditional exterior lines with exceptional sailing performance. Designed by Dykstra Naval Architects, the yacht is equipped with state-of-the-art hybrid propulsion technology for lower energy consumption, which also contributed to her winning Sailing Yacht of the Year at the 2022 World Superyacht Awards. With her advanced carbon-fibre construction and oversized rig, Perseverance 1 can easily sail at full speed in as little as 10 knots of wind.
Alloy Yachts and Dubois Naval Architects joined forces to deliver a performance-oriented sailing yacht, the 52-metre Prana, in 2006. The custom sloop features a racing-style hull, as well as an optimised flybridge offering greater deck space and improved functionality. Prana also carries the largest set of sails from Doyle Sails in New Zealand, including an asymmetric gennaker measuring 2,227 square metres.
The multi-award-winning ketch-rigged sailing yacht Q (formerly Mondango II) was custom-built by Alloy Yachts in 2008, with additional refits in 2014 and 2016 to keep her in top racing condition. Q has become a familiar face on the regatta circuit, appearing at numerous competitions such as the 2017 Loro Piana Caribbean Regatta and the Superyacht Cup Palma in 2018.
Ranger is a 41.6-metre replica of an original J Class yacht created for the 1937 America’s Cup. Known as ‘The Super J’, the original Ranger famously beat Endeavour II in the Cup and won all but two of the other 33 races in which she competed that year. The new Ranger was the first J Class yacht to be built since their heyday in the 1930s, with the design optimised by Reichel-Pugh. She features a steel hull –unlike subsequent modern Js – was delivered by Danish Yachts in 2003 to an American owner.
Red Dragon is a 51.7-metre aluminium fast cruising sloop built by Alloy Yachts in 2008. She was designed by Dubois Naval Architects – who also completed the naval architecture – and fitted with a 62.5-metre high modulus carbon fibre main mast, rig and boom, as well as custom winches by Alloy Yachts. Sporting a new suite of Doyle ICE sails, she is ready to race.
A veteran of the regatta circuit, the 33-metre Sunleigh has competed in a number of races such as the 2017 and 2019 editions of the Candy Store Cup, where she appeared alongside the 37-metre Royal Huisman Action and the 42-metre J Class yacht Ranger. Sunleigh was delivered in 2002 by Dutch yard Jongert with an exterior design from Tony Castro and interiors by Giugiaro Design.
The 29-metre sailing yacht Symmetry was delivered by New Zealand yard Yachting Developments in 2004 and later refitted in 2014. Both her exterior and naval architecture were designed by German Frers with a composite hull and superstructure, while the interiors were styled in-house. Sailing operations are handled from the aft deck, separated from the social cockpit, with a twin helm.
Delivered in 2002, the Baltic 147 Visione continues to excel on the regatta circuit with victories at the Antigua Superyacht Cup in 2010 and the 2015 St Barths Bucket which she won overall. Her naval architecture and exterior design were both completed by Reichel-Pugh and her interiors come from a collaboration between R & J Design and Roland Kasslin & Jan Wikar. Will she be on for another win this year?
Whisper was built in the Netherlands by Holland Jachtbouw and delivered in 2003 to her owner, American racing royalty Hap Fauth, as his “forever boat”. While his Maxi 72 Belle Mente tackles the high-performance regattas, Whisper offers the best of both worlds. The 35-metre sailing yacht was designed by Ted Fontaine and won her class at the St Barths Bucket in 2018.
True to her name, the 33-metre WinWin is a seasoned racing champion from Baltic Yachts with wins at the 2016 Superyacht Cup, as well as a three-year streak of victories at the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Superyacht Cup Palma. A 7.9-metre beam at the transom and low displacement mean she is fast off the wind and in light airs and can be handled by a crew of four thanks to her design by Javier Jaudenes. In 12 to 13 knots true wind, she sits comfortably at 11.2 knots close-hauled; off the wind flying the smaller top-down furling kite in 26 knots of wind, she canters along at 18.5 knots. She has been designed to take a square-topped racing main and has a bolt-on bowsprit that will allow for more powerful kites.
The 48-metre Wisp from Royal Huisman is widely considered to be one of Andre Hoek’s most beautiful designs and was awarded a World Superyacht Award in 2015 for Best Sailing Yacht above 45 metres. Wisp was recognised for her masterful blend of form and function, having landed a podium finish in that year’s Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta. At 100 degrees apparent wind, she can zip along at 12 knots, scooting to 14 knots in the puffs, while the hull handles the quartering swell with ease.
Read More/Why St Barths is the spiritual home of regatta racing