My Travel Blog

The “Bucket” Sailboat Race | Mediocre Finish But Great Adventure!

We managed to avoid the lightning, but in the light winds the fleet was able to catch up.  For the first race we eked out third in class and seventh overall.  The slower boats sailed a shorter course and were able to avoid the squall, which is why they did better.

On our tail and catching up.


Close racing at the Bucket.


For the second race we had another good start.  The first leg was a close reach, and our brain trust decided we needed the Code Zero.  It was the right sail for the conditions, but it’s always been a very troublesome sail to raise and lower.  Unfortunately our Code Zero lived up to its reputation.  The sails furling mechanism didn’t work properly, and it took over 15 minutes to raise. When it was time to take the sail down, rather than furling it, we had to take it down by hand and stow it on deck.  The next leg of the race was hard on the wind and we were heeled way over.  There was so much water washing over the deck that even though the sail was tied down the incredible water pressure broke a station.  Most of the sail went over the side.

Windy reach.


A Swan 112 making some spray.


Rolling along in the Caribbean trades.

It took the strength of 10 crew members to get it back on deck.  By the time we had the Code Zero safely re-tied the race was over for us.  Rather than trying to catch up, which would have been complete waste, we cruised around the course and took a DFL, (Dead F—ing Last).

For the third and final race I’m not sure the crew’s heart was really into it after the results from the day before.  We had some tough breaks on the course, and ended up with a mediocre finish.  We didn’t do as well as we had hoped, but the nice thing about the Bucket is, it doesn’t really matter.  Everyone had a great time.

150ft. Rebecca.


160ft. Hyperion.


170ft. Kokomo.


203ft. Hetarios that dropped out after the first race due to damage after hitting the bottom.


289ft. Maltese falcon.

Tomorrow we sail to St. Maarten where we pick up a direct flight to Paris and then catch a commuter flight to Amsterdam.

(Note – some of these images were taken during prior Bucket races because I’m too damn busy to take any pictures in my new position at the starboard primary winch.)

-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave” – 
a Chuck Palmer Adventure novel


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.