The transition of the former Newport Bucket into the Candy Store Cup Superyacht Edition appeared effortless and suitably fabulous when a dozen of the world’s grandest sailing yachts competed off Newport, R.I. from Friday, July 29 through Sunday, July 31 and benefitted from the combined forces of co-hosts Newport Shipyard and Bannister’s Wharf.
In true Bucket fashion, social activities included a “yacht hop” on Friday night aboard the participants’ yachts, a gathering at Newport’s famous Clarke Cooke House, and a regatta dinner with live reggae music on the grounds of a Newport estate.
“There was an easy camaraderie in the air as sailors from around the world renewed old friendships, but the real story was the spectacle on the water as superyachts such as Adix, Meteor, Columbia, Zenji and Ranger unfurled their sails off Castle Hill to begin racing,” said Newport Shipyard’s Owner Charlie Dana, who also sailed in the event. “It was a jaw-dropping sight.”
After three races over three days, the 92-foot (28m) yawl Bequia won the overall Candy Store Cup (filled with candy and champagne) for having the lowest point score for the regatta. With Tom Whidden (Essex, Conn.) as its skipper and tactician, Bequia also won its Class B with four points earned on two race victories on Friday and Saturday and a second-place finish on Sunday.
“There are a lot of great sailors here and the racing was really close, especially when you consider it was mostly light air,” said Whidden at Sunday’s awards at Newport Shipyard. “The top-five finishers in our class (Bequia, Wild Horses, Sirona, Sapphire and Sejaa) were all within seven minutes on corrected time today after the 13.6 nautical mile race, and yesterday, the top three were within three minutes of each other after a slightly shorter race.” (Friday’s race was the longest, at 15.6 nm.)
Whidden added that the Race Committee’s decision to use a three-minute staggered start for each boat in the class was a good one. The staggered starts were substituted for the “pursuit” starts typically reserved for superyacht racing because of the prevailing wind conditions and the diversity of the kinds of boats in each class. It enabled the starting sequence to be more compact, so that all boats started in the same breeze conditions.
“It was the perfect regatta for this kind of racing, which allows owners and their crews that wouldn’t race otherwise – because of the nature of their boats – to have a regatta experience,” added Whidden. “It’s what is trying to be accomplished with other ‘Bucket’ races around the world. This regatta is going to gain a lot of traction and do very well.”
Adix, a 213-foot (65m) three-masted schooner, won Class A (for the largest yachts) with a third and two firsts. Her magnificent presence on the water (she is still one of the largest sailing yachts built since the 1930s) was shared with thousands of visitors at the annual Newport Jazz Festival when the yacht sailed closely past Fort Adams State Park on Sunday afternoon with nine of her working sails drawing a fresh breeze. Her Captain Paul Goss turned her expertly head-to-wind, next to the massive raft-up of powerboats and sailboats out to hear the music. The Adix crew calmly doused the sails and tidied up on deck before the yacht ducked into Newport Harbor to head back to Newport Shipyard.
And with that, the conclusion that had once been foregone became officially validated. The “new” Candy Store Cup 2016 Superyacht Edition had successfully embraced all of the beloved traditions of Bucket-style racing: safe, fun racing for these stunning yachts; a spectacle like no other for those watching; and a casual, fun atmosphere for participants.
“Sure, there were winners, and they were deserving winners, because it didn’t come easy,” said Peter Craig, whose company Premiere Racing runs this and other superyacht regattas around the world, “but Charlie Dana, the Dana family and David Ray (owner of Bannister’s Wharf and also a yacht owner/sailor who founded the original Candy Store Cup) know that it’s not all about winning and losing. Owners and crew want great racing, yes, but they also want a special social side of things, too. The vibe here has been superb, and they’ve got something excellent to build on.”
Royal Huisman, Perini Navi, Vitters and Rybovich, which are major players in the superyacht industry and were all stewards of the Newport Bucket, remain sponsors of the Candy Store Cup Newport. Supporting sponsors of the event are Pantaenius Insurance, North Sails, Sentient Jet and Southern Spars / Future Fibres.
Candy Store Cup 2016 Superyacht Edition
Finish Positions, Yacht, Type, Length, Builder, Designer:
1. Adix – Schooner – 213’ (65m) – Astilleros PdM / Pendennis – Holgate and Dykstra NA
2. Meteor – Schooner – 170’ (52m) – Royal Huisman – Dykstra NA
3. Ranger – J Sloop – 138’ (42m) – Danish Yacht – S&S / Dykstra NA
4. Columbia – Schooner – 141’ (43m) – W. Starling Burgess / John W. Gilbert and Sons
5. Zenji – Ketch – 184’ (56m) – Perini-Navi – Ron Holland
6. Sunleigh – Sloop – 105’ (32m) – Jongert – Tony Castro
1. Bequia – Yawl – 92’ (28m) – Brooklin Boat Yard – Stephens
2. Wild Horses – Sloop – 75’ (23m) – Brooklin Boatyard – White
3. Sirona –Sloop – 72’ (22m) – Martin Marine – Tripp
4. Sejaa – Sloop – 82’ (25m) – JFA, Chantier Naval – Judel and Vrolijk
5. Sapphire III – Sloop – 75’ (23m) – CNB 76 – Philippe Briand
6. Audrey II – Ketch – 89’ (27m) – Jongert – Jongert
by Barby MacGowan