Bucket Regatta – Been there done that!!

JK6 – Hanuman

I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about this one.  The regatta itself was a fantastic spectacle, with some of the most amazing large boats that I’ve ever seen.

Sailing on a 100 foot boat was an eye opener.  Certainly something that I’d always wanted to do.  But, having done it now, I think given the choice between doing it again and sailing in an Etchells regatta, the Etchells would win every time.

“Racing” boats this size (especially with an all amateur crew) which we and most other boats seemed to have is really a game of survival.  Safety first, racing second, and the social side was never far away.

Most of the people on our boat had never sailed together, and our crew was made up of friends of the owner/captain/and other full time crew members.  A very friendly group (especially the three talented Swedes that worked the bow), but without much practice all maneuvers were done very slowly by “normal” racing standards. Happily, we sailed four days and nobody onboard was injured and more impressively I don’t think anything was broken.

Everything on the boat is operated via electric winches or hydraulics driven via the boats electrical system.  A generator is left running all day, which is especially nice as it also helps to run the air conditioning!!.  The main is hoisted by pushing a button at the helm station.  The jib is unfurled/furled by pushing another button.  Want to ease the vang??  Push a button.  Etc, etc, etc.  It’s sort of like sailing your house while playing a video game.

Smoked salmon, prosciutto, and chicken baguette sandwiches are served by the crew twice during each race, and snacks are served in between!!  That I can get used to…

I ended up trimming jib/spinnaker on our practice day.  The winch drums that I was working were so big that I could barely reach around them with both arms.  They had three gears operated by two foot buttons, and the fastest gear basically threw the sheet line at me as fast as I could tail it.  The jib sheets were probably close to 1″ in diameter.  Everything was huge.  And, just thinking about anything that might break was a scary thought!

During the the racing, I was navigating.  Sort of fun, kept me involved through the entire race, but again made the entire experience seem more like a video game than “really” sailing a boat.

Ultimately, the best part of the event was meeting a bunch of new people and running into lots of friends from home.

It’s now time to shift gears and start getting serious about our trip back to Newport.  Our goal is to be in Newport by May 15th.  Deb and I will be home in California for the last week in May and first week in June.

Tons of pictures posted at Jim’s Bucket Regatta Photos

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