Backstage At The 2012 St Barth Bucket
1:30am on the night of Saturday to Sunday. The second day of racing is history. The concert on the dock is over, and a few sailors are just leaving the Baz Bar or Bagatelle, after celebrating their victory or their defeat in the convivial spirit of the St Barth Bucket.
On the other side of the Port of Gustavia, across from the magnificent sailboats anchored at the Quai de la République, three men are hard at work under the light of three large fixtures set up under a tent pitched on the Quai Rockefeller. Without their help every night, there are those who could not set sail in the race the next morning.
As soon as they cross the finish line, the crew sends a tender to bring these magicians out to the boat. Once aboard, they analyze the situation: Is it possible to repair the shredded spinnaker or the ripped jib overnight? Do they have enough fabric… or enough time?
Tonight there are only five sails to repair, compared to seven the night before. The challenge is not insurmountable, but exhaustion is setting in. Some of these sails weigh more than a thousand pounds… two of the sewing machines gave up the ghost the night before... that leaves just one in working order and hopefully it will make it through!
This year, Bjorn, who repairs “small” sails and awnings for local sailboats during the year, had requested reinforcements from his partner, North Sails. They sent him fabric and one of their specialists from a nearby island.
It is 2:40am. The last of the hand stitching is completed. Just a few hours of sleep before the boats come back to pick up their necessary “tools” for the day. No sails, no Bucket! Thank you, guys.