Written by Andrea Watson Friday, 02 April 2010 00:00
Even though the weather outside makes the warm summer winds seem very far away indeed, we can’t let the wind and rain dampen our plans to make this a really great season of sailing. For our juniors who are advanced racers, there is a clinic that you may want to know more about. It is Sail Newport’s Brook Gonzalez Advanced Racing Clinic, which will be held on June 17 -20 and will offer the best of the best coaches and give juniors a jump start on their summer racing. This high-end clinic is in its ninth year and was modeled after the success of a similar clinic in southern California. The deadline for the clinic is today, April 1.
More news for our juniors: The Organizing Committee of the Ida Lewis Distance Race has announced the introduction of its Youth Challenge, aimed at introducing junior sailors to offshore sailing for this year’s edition of the distance race, which will take place on Friday, Aug. 20. Yacht Clubs and sailing organizations are invited to field youth-crewed teams for the 150-nm course that is offered for PHRF classes. Regional yacht clubs and sailing organizations are invited to field youth-crewed teams on the 150-nm course that is offered for PHRF classes.
“The idea of the Ida Lewis Distance Race Youth Challenge is to give junior programs an incentive to organize teams and develop the skills necessary to succeed in a medium-distance overnight race,” said Committee Member Joe Cooper, who is spearheading the effort. “We have already had various teams compete in the race with kids onboard, and we have recognized that because it is a manageable distance – not too long but not too short, either – it lends itself to this.”
To qualify for the Youth Challenge, more than 50 percent of the crew must have reached their 14th birthday but not their 19th birthday prior to August 20, 2010. Boats may have junior crew members outside those parameters; however, they will not count towards the youth component. Adults (minimum two aboard, one of whom must be designated as the captain) will make up the balance of the crew, but it is intended that the adults serve only in a supervisory capacity. Teams must be registered under the flag of a US SAILING yacht club or community sailing establishment. All youth sailors will be required to attend a brief informational meeting the evening prior to the race (participants of all ages welcome), and they will be encouraged to attend one of the Storm Trysail Club Foundation’s Junior Safety at Sea Seminars.
On these rainy days of spring, it is worth noting that there are other places in the world that have sunshine, wind and beautiful water. One such paradise is St. Barths, which holds an annual race called the Bucket Regatta on March 25-28. This regatta has an interesting beginning. According to their website, “The first Bucket regatta was organized in Nantucket, Mass, in August, 1986 by Roger Janes, captain of the 82’ Huisman Ketch,Volodor; Peter Goldstein, owner-captain of the 65’ Derecktor Sloop, Flying Goose, and John Clyde Smith, captain of the 92’ Bill Garden designed sloop, Mandalay, to coincide with Mandalay owner Nelson Doubleday’s birthday celebrations. During an evening that evolved into a rather torrid Rum Squall, debate raged as to what each yacht and crew could accomplish, and the stage was set for bragging rights. The following day, seven yachts sailed the first Nantucket Bucket, a 15-mile course in Nantucket Sound. Recollections are hazy as to exactly which yacht won, but records clearly indicate that no yacht finished worse than seventh.
Over the years, the regatta became a premier Mega Yacht Regatta that invited owners and crews of the world’s largest sailing yachts. When the Nantucket Bucket race ended, the regatta was hosted by the Newport (RI) Shipyard. Then, in 1995, a fleet of four yachts raced in the first St. Barths Bucket. Within a decade, the St. Barths Bucket expanded beyond all reasonable expectations. With a limit of 30 yachts required by the local authorities to keep a handle on the event, the Bucket has been all but full every year since 2005. In recent years, the fleet has overflowed with applicants even before the Notice of Race is published! The primary reason for the success of the Bucket Regattas is that the emphasis is more upon wholesome fun than about winning. The stated goal is to “win the party.” The omnipresent, overriding conundrum for the Bucket Race Committee is to convince the most competitive owners on the planet that winning isn’t important! The fun-loving nature of the regatta is clearly the goal of the RC; just check out the courses they set: after Race 1 (Around the Island), the next two races are named, respectively, The Not So Wiggly Course and the Wrong Way Around.
It should come as no surprise that a regatta filled with beautiful mega yachts in a spectacular location like St. Barths would attract the best marine photographers in the world. For readers interested in absolutely gorgeous photos, and for the rest of us who would like just views of some warm sunny weather, check out the photos of Onne van der Wal, Billy Black, Oliver Bernaud, Clair Matches, Cory Silken, and Tim Wright at http://www.bucketregattas.com/stbarths/photos.html. Give yourself a gift and spend a few minutes of fantasy as you climb aboard one of the yachts, soak up the warm sun, feel the warm turquoise Caribbean water running through your toes, and join one of the après race parties. Enjoy!