Les Voiles de Saint Barth and the St Barths Bucket Regatta

les voiles de saint barth 2015

Every year, our little island of St Barths is blessed with 2 great sailing races : The St Barths Bucket and Les Voiles de Saint Barth. In 2015, both races have splendid programmes, with even an air show during the bucket. Find here my notes on the 2 races, to understand how they reflect the very special identity of St Barths and to see how different the Bucket is from Les Voiles. Vive Saint Barth !

If you are thinking about coming to the island during Les Voiles or the Bucket, plan ahead: As a villa owner, I can tell you that hotels and villas get booked up very early. The villas with the best views usually get booked from one year to another.

les voiles de saint barth regatteLes Voiles de Saint-Barth, as seen from the sky – Photo by Christophe Jouany

1. Les Voiles de Saint Barth

Close to 1,000 sailors gather each year to enjoy the warmth of trade winds and the charms of Saint Barthélemy. These very special moments are conductive to bonding and to sharing experience among nations and sailors of all walks of life. All the countries (USA, Australia, Europe and South America) present make up for a delicately cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Les Voiles de Saint Barth 2015 is the 6th edition of the event. It’s taking place from April 13 to April 18. Many of the activities are held throughout the week at the race village and at the most beautiful beaches on the island.

Les Voiles de Saint Barth offers homogeneous categories so that the boats and crews can compete fairly and to the best of their potential. After a few great photos and videos of the event, you will find the full program of the Voiles de Saint Barth 2015 and short history of the event.

Great Videos and Photos of Les Voiles de Saint Barth

les voiles de saint barth sailing race

Paradox – © Christophe Jouany – Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2014 (5th Edition

les voiles de saint barth boats

Baleraria © Christophe Jouany, Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2014

les voiles de saint barth yachting

Les Voiles de Saint-Barth – Photo by Christophe Jouany

les voiles de saint barth race

Selene1 © Christophe Jouany, Les Voiles de Saint-Barth

les voiles de saint barth course

Rambler_4 © Christophe Jouany, Les Voiles de Saint-Barth, 2014

les voiles de saint barth equipage

Rambler 5 © Christophe Jouany, Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2014

les voiles de saint barth

Les Voiles de Saint Barth 5th Edition – On board Caol Ila R – Photo by C. Jouany

les voiles de saint barth 2014

Les Voiles de Saint Barth 5th Edition – Rest Day – Photo by A. Blanchard

les voiles de saint barth st barths

Les Voiles de Saint Barth 5th Edition – Rest Day – Photo by A. Blanchard

les voiles de saint barth regatta

Les Voiles de Saint Barth 5th Edition – Crew Party – Photo by C. Jouany

2014 Les Voiles de St. Barth Regatta Highlights (English & French)

Video Teaser – Les Voiles de St. Barth 2014

Video Teaser – Les Voiles de St Barth 2015

Les Voiles de Saint Barth 2015 : Competing Categories and Full Program

Among the boats competing, you can find:

  • Maxi yacht
    • Comanche
    • Rambler 88
    • Lucky
    • Bella Mente
  • Spinnaker yacht
    • Pocket Rocket
    • Palpatine
    • Wild Devil
  • Non- Spinnaker Yacht 
    • Hot Stuff
    • Spirit
    • Hotel California
  • Melges 24 Yacht
    • Boost\N’ Sail
  • Racing Multihull
    • Paradox
    • Filduo
    • Panpero

Here’s the complete programme of the 2015 edition:

  • April 11, 2015  (Saturday)
    • – 9:00 AM Welcome boats
  • April 12, 2015 (Sunday)
    – 1:00 PM Registration open
  • April 13, 2015 (Monday)
    – 9:00 AM Registration Open
    – 5:00 PM Skippers Briefing
    – 6:00 PM Opening Ceremony at the Race Village (Quai Général de Gaulle in Gustavia)
  • April 14, 2015 (Tuesday)
    – 9:00 AM Start of Races Day 1
    – 3:30 PM Opening Bar Village (Quai Général de Gaulle in Gustavia)
    – 6:00 PM Video projection image regattas and awards
    – 7:00 PM Live Music
  • April 15, 2015 (Wednesday)  
    – 10:00 AM Start of Races Day 2
    – 3:30 PM Opening Bar Village
    – 6:00 PM Video projection image regattas and awards
    – 6:00 PM Evening Crew Party at Shell Beach
  • April 16, 2015 (Thursday)  
    – Day Off at Nikki Beach
  • April 17, 2015 (Friday)
    – 11:00 AM Start of Races Day 3
    – 3:30 PM Opening Bar Village
    – 6:00 PM Video projection image regattas and awards
    – 7:00 PM Live Music
  • April 18, 2015 (Saturday)  
    – 10:00 AM Start of Races Day 4
    – 3:30 PM Opening Bar Village
    – 6:00 PM Award
    – 7:30 PM Fireworks
    – 8:00 PM Live Music

A short history of Les Voiles de Saint Barth

Created in 2010 by two old friends, François Tolède, Organizing Director, and Luc Poupon, Race Director, the first year of the regatta comprised 27 boats and had an exceptional ambassador, the legendary photographer Patrick Demarchelier. The challenge was to make this yachting event known to the world and convince yachtsmen and racers to include this race in the West Indies in their race calendar.

Les Voiles means “The Sails” in French and you may also know another famous race of the same name, Les Voiles de Saint Tropez. These 2 events are unrelated.

1st edition – APRIL 11, 2010

  • 27 entries with 200 sailors competed in 2010 Les Voiles de Saint Barth
  • Winners of the Race in 2010:
    • George David (Rambler)
    • Robert Velasquez (L’espérance)
    • James Dobbs (Lost Horizon)
  • Duels that go down in history are George David’s Rambler against Mark Fitzgerald of (Fitzgerald Marine Architecture, Inc.)
    and the giant ketch Sojana with a crew of stars, which included the Frenchmen Loïck Peyron, Lionel Péan and Jacques Vincent, who were pleased to share life on board with the living legend Peter Holmberg.

2nd edition – April 2011

  • 41 entries
  • Winners of the Race in 2011:
    • George David from Rambler 100
    • USMMA-owned Genuine Risk
    • Peter Harrison’s Sojana (GBR)

3rd edition – April 2012

  • 49 entries

4th edition – April 2012

  • 56 entries
  • The winners of the Race in 2013:
    • Lazy Dog, the Spinnaker 2 Class winner.
    • Multihull class winner Paradox.

5th Edition – April 2014

  • 70 entries
  • The winners of the Race in 2014:
    • Alex Schaerer owner of the 69ft IRC Racing yacht, Caol Ila R for <axi Category
    • Spinnaker:  Near Miss (Frank Noel)
    • Non-Spinnaker:  L’Esperance (Sir Bobby Velasquez)
    • Racing Multi-hull:  SeaCart 26 Team All Stars (Carl Hennix)
    • Melges 24:  Lefort Clim (Thierry Lefort)

For more information about Les Voiles de Saint Barth 2015, visit their social media sites :

2. St Barths Bucket Regatta

St Barths Bucket superyacht regatta – racing aboard ‘P2’

The St Barths Bucket is the other beloved boat race in St Barths. The Bucket has now grown into the #1 nautical event in the Caribbean. While the Voiles take place in April, the Bucket takes place in March. In 2015, we celebrated the 20th birthday of this great race. The Bucket is an international event taking place around the French island of Saint Barthélemy, but its roots are firmly American: The history of the St Barths Bucket is closely link with that of the Newport Bucket Regatta.

The St Barths Bucket is an invitation-only regatta known for the spirit and demeanor the racers almost automatically take on during the race: They race merely for the love of sailing yachts. It is a real race and it is a real party. Sail hard, party hard. The St Barths Bucket limits its participants to a maximum of 30 to 40 yachts and each one must have a length over all (LOA) of a hundred or more feet. There are different type of yachts that can compete or participate in the regatta, such as sailboats, luxury yacht and superyachts. The categories are called, from small to big, Gazelles, Elegantes, Mademoiselles, and Grande Dames.

Some of the most beautiful, most famous and most innovative yachts are here. Some crews take this opportunity to test out the capabilities of their new yachts, under a real race condition, but without too much pressure. There is a real sense of camaraderie among the crews, which translates in very good times for everyone on the island during “la semaine de la Bucket” (Bucket week).

A short history of the St Barths Bucket

The first Bucket regatta was organized in Nantucket, Massachusetts, in August, 1986. The race grew and shifted from Nantucket to Newport in 2013. The first St. Barths Bucket was sailed in 1995 with a fleet of 4 yachts. The 2015 Bucket Regatta was the 20th edition of the race.

The St Barths Bucket is organized by The Bucket Association, St. Barth’s, FWI. The event is affiliated with and sanctioned by the Federation Francaise de Voile (FFV), while The Newport Bucket Regatta is organized by The Bucket Regatta, LLC, Newport, RI.

20th edition for 2015 Bucket Regatta  19 – 22 March 2015

With 37 entries, great sportsmanship and an air show, the 2015 St Barths Bucket was truly amazing. Here are the winners in each category:

  • Grandes Dames: Axia
  • Mademoiselles: Cape Arrow
  • Elégantes: Adela
  • Gazelles: Visione

The 2015 Bucket also featured an amazing air show, with very low passes of the St Jean airport:

Complete program of the 2015 St Barths Bucket:

  • WEDNESDAY, 18 March
    • 5:00 – 6:20 PM – SuperYacht Racing Association (SYRA) AGM (le Brigantin)
  • THURSDAY, 19 March
    • 9:00 – 10:00 AM – ORCsy Presentation and Q&A (le Brigantin)
    • 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM – RACE OFFICE OPEN / REGISTRATION at the Bucket Marquee (BMQ)
    • 5:00 – 5:30 PM – CAPTAINS’ BRIEFING (BMQ)
      – Maximum 4 per yacht (mandatory for captain, safety officer & racing tactician)
    • 5:30 – 6:00 PM – Racing Rules & Appendix SY Review (BMQ)
    • 6:00 PM – BUCKET BAR OPEN (BMQ)
    • 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM -FLEET WELCOMING PARTY (BMQ)
      – Cocktails / Hors d ’Oeuvres / Music
      – OWNERS’ RECEPTION – Invitation Only (Location TBA)
  • FRIDAY, 20 March
    • 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM – RACE OFFICE OPEN (BMQ)
      – Media Registration / Log and GPS tracker drop-off post racing
    • 8:30 – 9:00 AM – PRE-RACE BRIEFING (BMQ – Stage)
      – Mandatory for captain, safety officer and racing tactician
    • 11:00 AM – BUCKET BAR OPEN (BMQ)
    • 5:30 PM  – BUCKET BAR OPEN (BMQ)
    • 7:00 – 7:10  – DOCK PARTY & FLEET OPEN HOUSE (BMQ) Details TBA
  • SATURDAY, 21 March
    • 8:00 AM– 8:30 AM – RACE OFFICE OPEN (BMQ)
      – Media Registration / Log and GPS tracker drop-off post racing
    • 8:30 – 9:00 AM- PRE-RACE BRIEFING (BMQ – Stage)
      – Mandatory for captain, safety officer and racing tactician
    • 11: 00  AM – FIRST SIGNAL – RACE 2
    • 4:00 PM (approximate) – AIR SHOW, Air Show over Shell Beach (immediately following racing – time of show to be announced on RC VHF channel)
    • 5:30 PM – BUCKET BAR OPEN (BMQ)
    • 7:00 PM – 7:10 PM – DAILY AWARDS PRESENTATION
    • 7:00 PM – 11:30 PM  – BUCKET BASH (BMQ) Salsa Latino Theme / Cocktails and light fare / Live Music by Sol
  • SUNDAY, 22 March
    • 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM – RACE OFFICE OPEN (BMQ) Media Registration / Log, GPS and Pantaenius laser rangefinder drop-off post racing0
    • 8:30 AM – 9:00 AM – PRE-RACE BRIEFING (BMQ – Stage) Mandatory for captain, safety officer and racing tactician
    • 11:00 AM – FIRST SIGNAL – RACE 3
    • 6:30 PM – 9:30PM – COCKTAILS (BMQ)
      – FINAL AWARDS CEREMONY & CELEBRATION
      – Cocktails / Music / Awards (Hôtel de la Collectivité – across the harbor)

Previous St Barts Bucket race winners

18th Edition of Bucket Regatta – March  2013

  • 36 boats took part
  • Top honors went to Adela, a 55-meter schooner designed by Dykstra Naval Architects and built by Pendennis, and leader in the Mademoiselles class. Dykstra had a great day at the races as his J-Class replica, Hanuman, built by Royal Huisman, was also a winner. Unfurled took the Gazelles class, and Georgia was the best of the Grandes Dames.

19th Edition of Bucket Regatta – March 28-30, 2014

  • 40 entries
  • Winner of the 19th Edition:
    • Grandes Dames: Altair
    • Mademoiselles: Bequia
    • Elégantes: Marie
    • Gazalles: Nilaya

Videos:

The Bucket ’14

St Barths Bucket Regatta from Andromeda.

J Class – St. Barths Bucket 2013

SY Marie – St. Barths Bucket Regatta 2011

Both Les Voiles and the Bucket bring a lot of animation to St Barths. These events are true to the character of our small island: Enjoying the best of life, without being pretentious.