Peter Craig

Peter Craig

Race Chairman

Comments from the Race Chairman

We are pleased to be able to post the preliminary class breaks for the 2017 edition of the St Barths Bucket. We will provide the ratings for the fleet when the final numbers are available from ORC.

We ask that participating yacht owners, captains and afterguard members assess the class breaks in the context of the facts and considerations that I share with you in this letter. As always, we welcome your feedback and comments, but I will ask that only the yacht owner’s designated representative contact us with any questions or comments.

We recognize that getting class breaks ‘right’ can be as important to good competition as proper handicapping. We publish these preliminary class breaks after considerable analysis and dialogue with our race management team, the ORC & SYRA.  There are many factors that are taken into account when determining class breaks including, but not limited to, displacement/length ratio (DLR), sail area/displacement ratios, rating bands, furling jibs when tacking, etc.  And there are, of course, some limiting factors from a race management standpoint, such as the number and type of yachts entered and practical class size.

One of our goals, based on feedback from participating owners, is to have yachts with similar sailing characteristics race together – that is to have yachts, which perform in a similar fashion in a variety of different conditions competing in the same class. That is difficult to achieve in some instances given how disparate superyachts are, but it is an important consideration. There are a number of factors we take into account in our effort to make this happen – even if it means expanding the rating bands.

Assigning classes based solely on ratings would be a simple task, look tidy on the scratch sheet, and often result in tighter rating bands. But this would not provide the quality competition that superyacht owners are looking for.


In any given year there are unique considerations and limitations concerning class breaks and this year is no exception:

  • There will be 38 yachts racing in St Barths, 32 handicapped under the Offshore Racing Congress’ superyacht rule;
  • There are a record 6 J Class yachts entered. They will be rated under the JCA Rule and will start first with a conventional fleet start (as they did last year);
  • 2017 marks the debut of the non-spinnaker ‘Corinthian Spirit Class’ (Les Voiles Blanche). This is an exciting initiative for superyacht racing, one that is sure to grow in the coming years (overview attached);
  • Once again, we have a diverse fleet featuring sloops, schooners and ketches, with LOA ranging from 30 – 88 meters, displacement ranging from 56 to 1,229 metric tons, and a speed differential from the fastest to slowest yacht in fleet of over 4 minutes per mile;
  • The pursuit fleet will be divided into 5 classes (preliminary breaks posted below)
    A – Les Gazelles des Mers                    
    B – Les Elegantes des Mers              
    C – Les Mademoiselles des Mers        
    D – Les Grandes Dames des Mers     
    E – Les Voiles Blanche
  • As has been Bucket tradition, we will feature the popular pursuit racing format with a focus on class racing. The ORC will structure the start times such that each class finishes together (as opposed to the entire fleet), with classes staggered by approximately 7-10 minutes (gap will depend on courses/wind strength). 

In the interest of safe sailing and fair racing, we have retained the meaningful changes to the racing format that debuted a few years ago posted here. If you have not raced with us in recent years, I ask that you read the posting. It is good to understanding the format changes in the context of ‘class racing’.

As always, we welcome your comments and feedback. Timely feedback is very important as last minute changes to class assignments, especially those made on site, create problems of their own.

I look forward to seeing everyone later this month and to the prospects of some great Bucket racing.

Sincerely yours,

Peter Craig
Race Chairman


2017 Class Breaks and Information:

2017 Class Breaks / Descriptions
16 March 2017 (pdf)

2017 Final J Class TCFs  
16 March 2017 (pdf)

2017 Preliminary ORC Rating Allowances & J Class TCFs
19 March 2017 (pdf)

2017 St Barths Bucket Preliminary Class Breaks (pdf)