A Brief History of the Bucket Regattas
The first Bucket Regatta was organized in Nantucket, Massachusetts in August of 1986. At a birthday celebration organized by Nelson Doubleday, several yacht owners participated in a spirited discussion about optimal yacht design and individual sailing prowess. The following day, with only a night of preparation, seven sailing superyachts raced on a hastily prepared 15-mile course on Nantucket Sound. The stated prize of this impromptu competition was simply to attain undisputed superyacht sailing bragging rights for the year. They soon learned, however, that the pleasure and enjoyment of a camaraderie formed at sea between like-minded individuals was the greatest prize of all. As a result, a nearby spare bucket was deemed sufficient to commemorate the racing accomplishment and the Bucket Regatta was born.
For over 30 years since 1986, the world’s premier superyacht sailing vessels, owners, crew, and guests have reunited with the same intention.
Between 1986 and 2001, the Nantucket Bucket flourished. The summer event then shifted to Newport, Rhode Island where the event was well hosted at the Newport Shipyard from 2002 to 2014.
In 1995, the beautiful French island of St Barths hosted its first Bucket Regatta and it has done so in March every year since then. Although the size of the yachts and competing fleet has grown significantly, the spirit of the event has remained unchanged. In recent years, 40 or more superyachts have gathered to compete for the Bucket in glamorous St Barths.
Over the years, many of the world’s most notable and accomplished sailors have participated in the racing. Nonetheless, as the Bucket Regatta has evolved, the organizers have kept a tight focus on maintaining the original camaraderie and non-commercial spirit of the event. It was, and still is, an event conceived and hosted purely for the pleasure and enjoyment of the sailing superyacht owner. There is no other regatta of magnitude on the superyacht racing circuit with the same goals, and the event organizers consider themselves the stewards of a most worthwhile tradition. Every year, invitations are extended to like-minded individuals.
Previous Overall Winners of the St Barths Bucket Regatta
2012: This Is Us
2006: Race Committee
2005: Freedom of Flight
1999: Andromeda Mandalay
1998: Never Say Never and Mirabella3 (tie)
St. Barths, or Saint Barthélemy, as it is officially called, is a French-speaking Caribbean island, known for its white-sand beaches, chic hotels and designer shops. St Barths’ has a long and fascinating history.
St. Barths was first inhabited by Arawak natives and then by the Caribs, who were on the island when Christopher Columbus arrived in 1493. Columbus named the island after his brother, Bartoloméo, but the Spanish never colonized St. Barths. It was actually the French that made various attempts to colonize the island and a contingent of Normandy Huguenots eventually succeeded in establishing a prosperous settlement. During these times, the island occasionally served as a way station for French pirates as they plundered Spanish galleons, adding to St Barths’ lore.
In 1784, France traded the island to Sweden, and the capital was renamed Gustavia in honor of their king, Gustavia III. Nearly a hundred years later in 1878, St Barth’s was sold back to France but Swedes left behind a charm that graces much of today’s infrastructure on the island.
Tourism was brought to St. Barths in 1945 when Rémy de Haenen, an eccentric Dutch aviator, first landed his plane at what is now the site of the famed St Barths airport. He later became the island’s first hotelier and eventually its mayor. Rémy attracted and hosted much of the era’s luminaries, including his friend Howard Hughes and numerous Hollywood starlets. The 1960’s brought the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds as well as the arrival of the first jet-setters, creating the mystique of St Barths that still exists today.
In 1995, the first Bucket Regatta came to St. Barths and today it is the second most popular week on the island after only the famed New Year’s Eve festivities. In 2003, the population of St Barths voted in favor of secession from Guadeloupe in order to form a separate Overseas Collectivity of France and on February 7, 2007, the French Parliament passed a bill granting that status.