The 18th Annual St. Barth Bucket, three races for yachts from 100 to 289 feet, starts today in building winds. The fleet is down slightly from the previous two years, but it has a superstar five-boat class of J Class Yachts — 130 feet plus — racing by themselves. There hasn’t been such a gathering of the magnificent J Class boats since before World War II.
The J Class fleet sailed an additional race, which was yesterday. Although the wind only blew 8 to 10 knots, the competition was very close until the end. Trailing for much of the 15-mile course, Jim Clark’s Hanuman "pulled a rabbitt out of a hat" by going far left, and took honors. Kenny Read, a veteran of several Volvo around the world races and many other championships, drove and was accompanied by "the Newport mafia." Jim and Kristy Clark’s special guest for the event was Richard Branson.
The biggest yacht in this year’s fleet is Maltese Falcon, famously built for Belvedere’s Tom Perkins. Although Tom no longer owns her, she still looks great. The next largest boats are the magnificent near 200-ft schooners Athos and Adela. We’re not sure if he’ll be driving, but there’s a fellow named Dennis Conner from the West Coast on Adela.
Safety has always been a primary concern for the event organizers, as any collision would likely be a multi-million dollar incident. That being the case, the motto is constantly repeated: "Sail safely first, then fast, and win the party!" Très bien!
Organizers and island officials have also taken steps to preserve the health of everyone from the risk of ‘testosterone poisoning’ created by the presence of so many hard-core male sailors. As such, ‘TP’ filters have been erected around the bars to clear the air, and a special ‘TP’ hazmat team has been formed to clean up any "TP flooding."
Speaking of parties, this is the island’s biggest week of the year, bigger than even New Year’s, so there will be no stopping the parties.
It was exactly 30 years ago yesterday that ‘Her Magesty’ Laurel DeForest of the Olympia, WA-based Balfour 28 Robbie’s Wake popped the cork on a bottle of Champagne in front of a crowd of barefoot sailors, and thus declared that the first-ever Sea of Cortez Race Week had officially begun.
The site was Caleta Partida, and for an inaugural event the turnout was terrific, with roughly 300 people from 84 boats participating in nearly 20 events that included several boat races, a dinghy race, a windsurfing race and a wet T-shirt contest. The whole event was light-hearted and loosely structured, with a focus on family fun rather than over-the-top partying. And even though it was the first event of its kind in the area, both local government officials and businesses lent their support.
If you were there, we suspect you have very fond memories of that week, as we do. Recently, we were perusing the 1984 edition of Latitude 38 that reported on the first Sea of C Race week, and we began wondering, "Where are they now?" So if you were there, please drop us a note by email and let us know what sort of adventures you’ve been up to since then, and perhaps share a few of your favorite Race Week memories. Also, feel free to drop us a few photos from fun times back then or today. We’d love to hear from you.
Official Entry Roster of Sea of Cortez Race Week Numero Uno:
- Perpetua / Rafiki 37 / Stan, Rebecca, Amy Seldor / Point Richmond
- Blue Yonder / Samson 50 / Jay King / San Francisco
- Janus / Peterson 44 / Trish Dutoit / Seattle
- Aurelle / 34 Sloop / Jon Comer, Patti Shore / Santa Barbara
- Ariel / Cal 40 / Dave Lastufka, Kim Harbeck / San Francisco
- Captain J / Columbia 34 / Bob Harrington / Long Beach
- Arlon / Morgan OI 33 / Tom, Bonnle Reiche / Marina del Rey
- Mile High / Robert’s Spray / Jim, Jean Kirby / Valyermo, CA
- La Perla / Santana 22 / Lyn, Linny Kindred / McCaul, ID
- Mar Y Vent / Hardin 45 / Lee Schell / Santa Cruz
- Robbie’s Wake / Balfour 28 / Dale, Laurel Deforest / Olympia
- Grebe / Valiant 40 / John, Randi Sanger / Santa Barbara
- Mary T / Formosa 41 / Mary, Terry Taylor / Portland
- Makai / Cal 29 / Tom, Zelda Shields / Coos Bay
- Sundance / Stevens 40 / NAO Yachts / La Paz
- Mistral / 33 Sloop / Brett, Debra, Dereck Hilton / La Paz
- Freedom / Freedom 44 / Roger, Jody Midura / Portland
- Aquarius / Alberg 35 / “Molly” Mallout / Sausalito
- Wiki Win / Spray 40 / Phil Hollywood, Sandra Hill / Victoria
- Broad Reacher / Freedom 28 / Al MacDiarmid, Jinks Hargrove / Aiviso
- Ptarmigan / Westsail 43 / Jim, Cheryl Beck / Breckenridge, CO
- Yo Ho Ho / S&S 38 / Ken Rogers et al / Newport Beach
- The Trip / lrwin 37 / Ralph Naines / San Francisco
- Evenstar Ill / Cascade 36 / Jean Turrentine / Portland
- Letoile de Mar Lancer 36 / Denise, Mac Yeamen / Oakland
- La Luna / Santana 25 / Steve, Michelle Ott / South Lake Tahoe
- Elusive / Lancer 25 / Michael, Sherry, Ben lrby / Boulder, CO
- Star / Fllcka 20 / Buck, Sally Pedrlck / Steamboat Springs
- Lubeck / Defever 52 / Jeff Corran / San Diego
- Rhiannon / Islander 28 / Randy Gillespie, Mary Ducharme / Kalama, WA
- Yanqui / Dollah / lslander 33 / Vern Rathfelder, Holly Smith / San Francisco
- Indigo / Columbia 26 / Steve, Catherine Wells / Marina del Rey
- Freebird / Montgomery 17 / Marc Hightower / Toyon Bay, Catalina
- Siesu / 37 ft sloop / Burks, O‘Connor, Oakley, Merchi / Santa Cruz
- Prelude / Islander 36 / Terry, Sharon Schultz / Dana Point
- Saratoga / Islander 41 / The Fowler family / Redondo Beach
- Lemoore / Watkins 36 / BiIl, Ann Rose / San Francisco
- Eolo / 55 Cutter / Lee, Paula Washburn / San Diego
- O. D. Jones / 30 Ketch / John Spenser / San Francisco
- Persistence / Peterson 44 / Bob Mills / Guernsey, England
- Sunshine Ltd. / Mercator 30 / Pete Hardy / Olympia
- Whispur / H.C. 34 / Joe, Nancy Smith / San Francisco
- Warpath / Islander 41 / Wally Barber, Scott Knox / Oceanside
- Te Amo / CT 41 / Randy, Judy Von Leeuwen / Barrow, AR
- H. Chihuahua / Falmouth 22 / Jay Ramos / Channel Islands
- Nobility / CS 36 / Joe, Mel Noble / Salem, OR
- Amisted / H.C. 38 / Frank, Judy Lara / Moss Landing
- Meshach / Cat Ketch Trl / Chrlsty / Arizona
- Tamaru / Ferro Ketch / Darlene McQuellen / Victoria
- Willin / Contender / Steve Brown, Robln Gearheart / Lake Tahoe
- Amanda / Alajuela 33 / Dennis Miller / Santa Cruz
- Wet Dream / Downeast 32 / four women / San Francisco
- Liebchen II / Cheoy Lee 40 / Bob Vollmer / Portland
- Serendipity / Garden 51 / Richard Prince / Richmond
- Tumbleweed / Trimaran / Dennis, Dawn Johnson / Puerto Escondido
- Wind Ra / Peterson 46 / Bruce, Nancy, Damon / San Francisco
- Hallelujah / Bristol 38 / Dale, Jean DeWitt / N/A
- Freedom ll / Trawler / Michelle Dehaven / N/A
- Freightraln / Santa Cruz 33 / N/A / San Diego
- Casino / Westsail 32 / N/A / San Diego
- Maverick / Yorktown 39 / N/A / Oxnard
- Destiny / Brigantine 55 / N/A / Anchorage, AK
- Silver Moon / Roseborough / N/A / Sitka, AK
- Windhaven / Rhodes 56 / N/A / Portland
- Sunbar / Samson / N/A / Los Angeles
- New Moon / N/A / N/A / San Francisco
- Moonshadow / 45 Ketch / N/A / Santa Cruz
- Skybird / Perry 35 / N/A / Wilmington, DE
- Daquiri ll / Cal 40 / N/A / N/A
- Nimbus / Bounty ll / N/A / Oceanside
- Misty Blue / Bahama / N/A / Alaska
- Halo / Cape George / N/A / N/A
Kurt Roll of San Diego recently flew to Auckland to join Dietmar Petutschnig and Suzanne DeBose of the Las Vegas-based Lagoon 440 Carinthia for another season of cruising. For the trip, he packed a new Quadcopter equipped with a GoPro camera for ‘helicopter’ video of their sailing. He recently sent us some video from their trip on the way from Auckland to the Bay of Islands, but look at about 1:30 mark of the video — we don’t think he shot it using the Quadcopter. But it’s great a swimming with dolphins video. Kurt promises more.