St Barths Bucket with Edmiston’s Bruce Brakenhoff

Taking place from the 21st to the 25th March this year, the St Barths Bucket is a sailing regatta like no other. Since its birth, it’s always been about sailing. Nothing else. Each year the regatta provides an opportunity for like-minded sailing enthusiasts to gather, pushing the performance capabilities of their yacht, while giving owners a chance to revel in the moment.

The birth of the St Barths Bucket Regatta: A sailing event like no other

To understand the founding principles of the St Barths Bucket Regatta, we need to go back almost 40 years to August of 1986 in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Here, a group of friends gathered for a birthday celebration where discussions naturally led to yacht designs and sailing prowess. This sparked the idea for an impromptu 15-mile race around the Nantucket Sound the next day. The prize: bragging rights amongst friends. To commemorate the winner’s achievement a nearby champagne bucket was picked up and awarded as the trophy – giving birth to the Bucket.

Over the years, the annual race has evolved from a small fleet of yachts between friends, to a large-scale event drawing in a global community of sailors with bigger and more impressive yachts every year. And although it has grown significantly to become a pinnacle racing circuit for superyacht owners, the event’s organisers have kept a tight focus on maintaining the original spirit of camaraderie, ensuring the pleasure and enjoyment of sailing remains the sole focus.

Man waving from a yacht in the st barths bucket race
Luxury yachts getting ready to start the st barths bucket race

Edmiston’s Bruce Brakenhoff & The St Barths Bucket

Edmiston’s Bruce Brakenhoff has been at the heart of the event since it shifted to the beautiful French Island of St Barths in 1995. As the former president of Perini Navi USA, Bruce has been heavily involved in the regatta over the years, bringing his clients and their yachts to the event and competing in the race himself.

For Bruce, sailing doesn’t get much better than this. “Amazing people, amazing location, amazing yachts, amazing everything.” The atmosphere brought through the coming together of the luxury superyacht world is what makes this event everything that it is. For the four days the event is held, the island completely transforms and those fortunate enough to be there, get to be part of something bigger than yachting.

The Bucket itself follows a pursuit racing format and is split into four classes, each with a winner decided by who crosses the finish line first, and with an overall winner, all announced at the final awards ceremony and party on the Sunday. Yachts must be 100ft and over to enter and a team of race experts’ rate and handicap the yachts based on displacement, draft, sail area and other characteristics to insure a fair race. Attendees are decided by the Bucket Stewards who send out invitations to like-minded individuals known to the sailing community. Each year the Bucket regatta designates a portion of the entry fee for donation to a meaningful non-profit program in St Barths.

Two yachts ready to participate in the st barths regatta
Man on a yacht navigating waves in the st barths bucket race

Winning the St Barths Bucket: Preparation, preparation, preparation

From Bruce’s experience, there is one common theme among winners: preparation. All yachts are given an equal chance of winning through staged start times and the classifications they’ve been placed in; it all comes down to tactics. Knowing the course, the winds, the turns, all the finer details are what really matters in this race. And although it’s a friendly competition, everyone wants to win. This sees some of the most notable sailors from around the world at the helm of these superyachts.

Edmiston is a friend of The Bucket and is looking forward to seeing our yacht owners attend this years’ prestigious event. From Edmiston’s fleet, three-time Grande Dames class 3 winner Rosehearty is set to compete in the pursuit race, searching for a historic fourth title and Bruce and his team from the Newport office will be out on the water competing too.

Luxury superyacht ready to compete at the st barths regatta
View of st barths marina where the st barths bucket race is taking place

St Barths is a terrific place to spend the long weekend for sailing enthusiasts. If you want to be involved in the social activities and spectate the event, and most importantly, join in the camaraderie, then non-racing social entries are encouraged by requesting an invitation with the Stewards. If you want more information on the wonderful world of sailing and you’re in St Barths over the race weekend, our team is on the ground and happy to talk.


04 March 2024

Written by:

Jack Hartley