As the Winch Turns: Day 2
Sam Von Schwarz, whose father John sails aboard Hanuman, found a new friend in David Wegman, the local artist who splits his time between here and Key West and has a special connection to the Bucket. Some years ago, when Rebecca blew out a spinnaker and didn’t know what to do with it, the creator adopted it, making sails for his special lead-keeled boat that tacks and jibes intuitively with the wind (no remote control needed here). Its skipper, “Guido the Pirate” (look closely), shares a message on the side of the painted styrofoam hull that reads: “Slow down, turtles were here before you.” What did Wegman do with the rest of Rebecca’s spinnaker, you might ask? “Part of it I sent down to an orphanage in Brazil where the kids made kites out of it,” said Wegman, who also ran the Tea Cup regatta here for many years with as many as 20 similar boats made by local children. (Wegman’s studio is above Le Select, which boasts his artwork as does Eddy’s Restaurant.)
As usual, the SuperYacht Racing Association meeting on Wednesday was an annual gathering of who’s who in the yachting industry. Representatives of member yachts, superyacht events and industry organizations went about the “housekeeping” of keeping superyacht racing on an even keel soon after SYRA’s Executive Committee Chair Kate Branagh and Executive Director Peter Craig presented this year’s Chelsea Ship Bell Plaque to the ORC Technical Team (represented by Nazareth Alessandro) for its contributions to fair sailing. More precisely, the citation referenced an ambitious initiative, started in 2014, to develop a rating system for superyachts. In eight months, the team developed the new system, designed to meet the goals of transparency and fair sailing. Due to the team’s extraordinary efforts, the new rule made a successful debut at the 2015 Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta and at the St. Barths Bucket after that. What’s more, the team continues to apply its talents and diligent efforts to ongoing improvement efforts and refinement of the ORCsy Rule.
Bucketeers who had been missing the Evan Goodrow Band at the Baz Bar this week got their fix when the Boston-based trio played at Friday night’s Bucket Bash. Held at the Capitainerie in Gustavia, where regatta headquarters are located and many of the Bucket’s mighty superyachts are berthed Med-style for all to enjoy, the party featured dancing (of course!), a delectable assortment of foods from the grill, and plenty of Caribbean Kool-Aid (code for rosé wine) to share with friends both old and newly made.
And speaking of the hospitable waterfront of Gustavia, there is no man busier or more in charge there than Port Captain Ernest Brin. He has been at his job since 2009 (and working for the Port of Gustavia since ’89). He manages 60 berths dockside, anchorage in the inner harbor for 14 yachts and anchorage in the outer harbor for 100 plus. The Bucket is one of his favorite times, even though the job of insuring safety and security while organizing arrivals and departures of the superyachts (as well as ferries and cargo vessels) is massive. “All year, the boats here are very nice, but regattas are something special, and the Bucket is the first one. (Les Voiles de St. Barths, with smaller race boats, follows in April.) It is a special nautical heaven. When we have sailboats arriving here I think their smiles are bigger than anybody else’s.”