March 23, 2015

Beautiful Bucket Weather

The Bucket provides a rare chance to get up close and personal with some of the world’s greatest megayachts. This photo shows Jeff, one of our crew from Northern California, getting a close-up shot of Marie, a Hoek 180 that was the overall winner of last year’s Bucket.

©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC

About the only thing that could have made the 20th annual St. Barth Bucket for megayachts more perfect would have been another couple of knots of wind. After all, the 36 boats from 91 to 194 feet in length were diverse and fantastic, the skies were blue, and the seas were flat. The average wind speed decreased over the course of the three days of racing from about 16 knots to about 11 knots. Even the behemoths weighing up to 550 metric tons move surprisingly well in such light conditions, but another five knots would have been better.

As if the spectacle of yachts worth tens of millions of dollars going at it weren’t enough, for three days the fleet and spectators were treated to the sight — and one full-on show — of nine World War II planes recreating bombing runs and dogfights. They came within 300 feet of us on ’ti Profligate, their radial engines roaring.

If you’re a sailor, the Bucket certainly belongs on your bucket list.

Did We Give Them Good Charter Advice?

“My wife Pam and I met on Baja Ha-Ha #2 back in 1995,” writes Jim Yares. “Obviously it was a great experience for us. But now we’d love to get Latitude’s advice on where to charter with our family. Our son is 17 and our daughter is 15. This would be our last big family adventure before our son heads off to college. The kids have loved our two-week trips to the Delta and weekends at Angel Island, but they have never done a bareboat charter. So what should it be, the British Virgins, Tahiti or Croatia?”

Our first choice would be the British Virgins because: 1) There are so many islands so close together. 2) It’s mostly if not all flat-water sailing. 3) There are many other things to do. No wonder it’s the charter capital of the universe.

Although the British Virgins don’t allow highrise hotels or mega-resorts, you’ll find plenty of tasteful waterside development, such as Pusser’s Landing, at Soper’s Hole, Tortola.

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Our second choice would be Croatia, once again because there are lots of places to visit that are relatively close together. But our feeling is that if you’re going to go all the way over there to charter, it would be better if it could be part of a longer visit, such as if your kids were doing a summer backpacking trip around Europe a few years from now. There is nothing wrong with Tahiti, but we’d still put it third for a first-time charter.

We know lots of Latitude readers charter all over the world. What do you think of our recommendations?

And your hosts for the Tuesday Evening Safety Meeting movie are… Indara
©2015Latitude 38 Media, LLC Scott and Monica of the Seattle, WA-based Gulfstar 44 Scott Free (Baja Ha-Ha class of 2009) and Eric and Christine Stephan of the Gig Harbor, WA-based Norseman 447 Indara (Baja Ha-Ha class of 2000) are pictured above, having made preparations for movie night — with an ancient boarding ladder, some duct tape, a few hangers, and a monitor — on Dock 4 at Marina Palmira in La Paz.
It says something about the quality of the boats in a liquidation sale when the specialist marine auctioneer is more excited about a handful of ancient cars than dozens of vessels.