I cleared customs and immigration and paid my weekly fee to the lagoon authority and had my papers (which the Dutch call a "Vertrekpass") to exit Sint Maarten. I took the 10:30 outgoing bridge and headed around the southern part of St. Martin towards St. Barths. The wind was almost directly on the nose so I put up a token bit of mainsail to minimize rolling and motored there. As I approached the island the fleet of racers appeared on the far side, rounding Île Fourchue and bearing down on me as I tried to cross their line at 5 knots compared to their double or triple my speed; this wasn't helped by a big squall passing through and whipping up the wind and reducing visibility to just a hundred feet or so. I did have the radar turned on but I was still a bit worried since I was a motor vessel and the sailboats had right-of-way.
I slowed down to pull in the dinghy painter and prepare the anchor and had some people in a big boat with a French flag waving and shouting at me and it took me a bit to understand that I was blocking their view. Since there was obviously nobody else aboard my boat I don't know if they really expected to stop everything I was doing and race back to the helm to give the boat some power in order for them to get back to their drinks and viewing; but I wasn't going to do so and when I finished the setup forward I motored slowly onwards to look for a mooring ball or anchor spot while they made unmistakable hand gestures. I couldn't find a suitable spot in close so, in moment of vindictiveness, I anchored to their starboard side and put out just enough chain to guarantee that I was between their boat and the photo opportunity view of the racers framed by two islands.
“The Bucket” is a race for the mega- and super yachts and this year I believe that most, if not all, of the “J Class” racers are taking part. My spot in the anchorage was too far away from the action for me to make out names of the yachts, but they certainly all looked impressive as they raced by in the middle distance. My anchoring location, apart from blocking the view of my nemesis boat, was so far outside the main anchorage that it was quite rolly and the waves were hitting the back of the boat and causing slamming. So I lifted the anchor shortly before 16:00 and intended on heading into Gustavia where I would most likely meet Mark from “Sea Life” later on in the evening. As I got the anchor fully lifted I saw a day-tripper catamaran which had been anchored close ashore leave as well and I chose to take a good spot with known conditions rather than the open roadstead at Gustavia which would probably also be crowded. I convinced myself that I'd use my new powerful dinghy to head into town (knowing that by the time I got settled down I'd be too lazy to make the trip).
As I'd known would happen, after anchoring and going swimming and then paddleboarding around a bit and then doing some stainless polishing I was left with just enough energy to thaw out a steak and make a simple dinner on the BBQ.


Departing Sint Maarten I left Sint Maarten on the 10:30 bridge heading to St. Barths
(2017-03-17 10:30:15 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/5.3, 1/320s] ISO 100)
Departing Sint Maarten
Maltese Falcon of Ile Fourchue The Maltese Falcon with full sails going downwind around Ile Fourchue
(2017-03-17 12:59:29 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/7.1, 1/250s] ISO 100)
Maltese Falcon of Ile Fourchue
Squall of St. Barths This squall brought strong winds and low visibility just as I was crossing the race line with the fleet bearing down on me, causing more than a little stress
(2017-03-17 13:01:00 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/7.1, 1/250s] ISO 100)
Squall of St. Barths
Sleek Salperton This is a very sleek sailing yacht with trim lines and I'm sure that she's a fast sailer as well
(2017-03-17 14:06:59 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/7.1, 1/100s] ISO 100)
Sleek Salperton
From my vantage point in the anchorage at Anse Colombier on St. Barths I could see the remaining regatta racers come towards the finish
(2017-03-17 14:09:07 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/8.0, 1/1250s] ISO 100)
"Bucket" racers seen from Colombier
Clouds in Colombiert This squall washed some of the salt from my decks but passed quickly
(2017-03-17 16:53:09 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/11.0, 1/640s] ISO 100)
Clouds in Colombiert
Mary A I see Mary A. around quite a bit and think that she is chartered out for day trips
(2017-03-17 16:53:33 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/11.0, 1/200s] ISO 100)
Mary A
Limitless in Colombier The megayacht is the biggest one that can fit into Simpson Bay, thanks to the owner paying for the drawbridge to be widened. She came in at sunset and seemed to fill the whole anchorage
(2017-03-17 17:12:59 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/22.0, 1/25s] ISO 100)
Limitless in Colombier
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