Friday, March 22, 2013

Book a Last Minute St. Barths Regatta Vacation

English: Våsgspel an 8mR yacht from Finland sa...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous -- anybody remember that show from back in the day? It was about how the super rich enjoy their money. While the current economic climate has made emulating the rich and famous lifestyle a bit harder, it's still possible to get a taste of the high life on the Caribbean Island of St.Barths in the French West Indies. 

It's the kind of place where you'll nearly trip over supermodels on the beach (or people who could have been supermodels if they wanted to), indulge in expensive fine dining, and spend a small fortune on bathing suits and beach wear. Or, if you're not ready for those kinds of indulgences, it's the kind of place where you can go and celebrity and people watch and get a glimpse of how the 1% lives. There are lovely seaside vacation villas that look like they were plucked from the French countryside, near local markets where you can buy fresh fish and produce. And while that's simple, it often beats glitz, glamor and high-priced entertainment.

Regattas are a great way to experience the luxurious lifestyle that St. Barths offers, whether you're ready to spend a lot or not. They're big events that include a lot of festivities. Plus, whether you're part of the 1% or the 99%, you can get to know some of the captains and crew, yacht builders, and other vacationers interested in the sport. A regatta is a great way to make new friends and have new experiences.

Here are three upcoming events that you might want to check out, if you're looking for a spring break far from the ordinary.

St. Barths BucketRegatta, March 28 - 31. This annual event, now in its 27th year, attracts the best yachts from around the world. The top sailing yacht builders -- Perini Navi, Royal Huisman, Holland Jachtbouw, Alloy Yachts and Vitters -- have all played a role in ensuring this race keeps its non-commercial atmosphere. You'll be overwhelmed by the beauty of these magnificent yachts speeding across the blue Caribbean waves--not corporate sponsorship banners.

Les Voiles de St. Barth, April 8 - 13.  This regatta features six classes of sailboats and yachts. As with the Bucket Regatta, there are a variety of events, parties and festivities associated with the regatta.

West Indies Regatta, May 3 - 5.  This event features Caribbean boatbuilding. Through the 1970s, the West Indies had sailing boat builders whose skills had been passed down for centuries. As with many things, those traditions faded as islands modernized. But they haven't died off completely, and the West Indies Regatta is a perfect celebration of these ancient and valuable skills. It's well worth attending.

Some tips for watching a regatta:

·        Dress in light layers. You'll be spending a lot of time near the water. While it will get warm, it's the Caribbean; after all, you might encounter cool breezes or chilly air in the morning. You can always shed and add layers, but if you simply go in your swimsuit, you might be in for trouble. Bring a few extra things to wear can also help protect against sunburn.

·        Bring binoculars. The yachts are at sea, and it will be hard to distinguish them or follow them without a pair for each person in your party.

·        Bring a camera with a telephoto lens. Regatta pictures can be some of the most dramatic you'll ever take. Be prepared.

After the regatta, relax in your pool.
Attending a regatta will be an experience you'll never forget. Captains and crew are passionate about their sport and will be more than willing to share their stories of the sea with you. Then, once the sailing is done and the yachts are docked, you can enjoy everything else St. Barths has to offer.

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