Appealing Alternative to Upward Spiral
Published on March 20th, 2017
The Bucket events, open to cruising yachts whose length 100 feet or greater, have always attracted amazing sailboats. But now in its 30th year, the boats are far more performance oriented with polished and professional crew that once dominated the America’s Cup and other elite titles.
Thirty-eight magnificent yachts from around the world assembled for the 2017 St Barths Bucket on March 16 to 19 which saw the debut of the ‘Corinthian Spirit Class’ – the SuperYacht Racing Association’s latest initiative to avert an upward spiral of investment needed to compete.
Four yachts participated in the new class which involved modified eligibility criteria. With no spinnakers and simplified courses, the need for a big race crew has lessened, and the handicapping philosophy for the new class also eliminates the need to optimize the yacht for racing.
“The Corinthian Spirit Class allows owners to try regattas for the first time without having to do a lot of preparation and hire lots of extra crew,” explained the owner of the Dubois 37m, Escapade.
“It has been perfect for us as the regatta happened to be taking place just as we were coming back from our circumnavigation, so we wouldn’t have had time to prepare for entering the regatta properly,” he continued. “This way I can try it out and then next year maybe the boat will participate with the main fleet.”
From a logistical and cost perspective, Guy Waddilove of 8 Yachts, Escapade’s management company, adds that the Corinthian class is simpler. “It makes a big difference having to book accommodation and flights for two race crew as opposed to 10,” he says.
The sailing yacht sector welcomes new yachts on the water every year, yet stakeholders agree that there is a need to broaden the appeal of superyacht regattas in order to stimulate further growth.
Recognizing this need, the new Corinthian class has the primary goal of attracting new yacht owners to the circuit and growing participation. From what we have seen so far, it offers an appealing alternative to what is viewed by some as increasingly competitive and resource intensive racing.
Source: Superyacht News