Posted by: yachtcrewsing | August 20, 2011

Preparing for the Upcoming Newport Bucket Regatta Race

Coming up, on the weekend of August 27th, is one of the most eagerly anticipated events in the yachting calendar- the Newport Bucket Regatta. This event brings together some of the largest sailing yachts in the world and pits them against each other in a wildly thrilling, fun and yet hugely competitive two day race. Most boats, us included, have a large race crew who come in to supplant regular crew members, specializing as foredeck bosses, navigators, safety officers and general race crew. We have nearly thirty men and women flying in from the U.S., the Bahamas and throughout Europe to participate in this four day event- two practice days and two days of racing. I will further expound on the finer points in the next week of posts, provided that I have the time.

The way that it financially works is that most race crew are unpaid, and are required to cover their transportation costs and hotel fees. Beyond that, everything is paid for. We have uniform long and short sleeved t-shirts printed for the event, restaurants booked and paid for all nights of practice and racing, sandwiches and lunch items prepared for when we are sailing during the day and even breakfast items available for when they arrive onboard in the mornings. It is a fun, social event that most people (understandably) look forward to for the entire year.

Today was spent entirely buying supplies for the bucket, requiring us to drive the entire greater Newport area to go to several specific shops. Firstly was a restaurant supply store in order to obtain the requisite size and colour disposable coffee cups (apparently anything but plain white cups are ‘not classy enough.’ Who knew?), transparent thick plastic cups to contain morning fruit salad, and sandwich papers to wrap up lunch wraps. Finding every disposable item we needed was a good start to the morning’s shopping extravaganza.

Next up was the regular grocery store purchases- snacks and drinks required during racing. The chief stewardess and I got a shopping cart and headed straight for the aisle housing cases of water. She found the list she had made on her Blackberry of grocery quantities and proclaimed that we needed 400 liters of normal water and 200 of vitamin water. We stood there with our one little shopping cart and realized that with half liter bottles in packs of 24, we would need roughly 33 cases of water and 17 cases of vitamin water. To say that one cart was insufficient would be a terrific understatement.

Four shopping carts and two store employees later, we arrived at the checkout. Our carts were piled high with the cases of water (even though we decided to only purchase half of our originally intended amount), napkins, nuts, an array of mini chocolate bars worthy of a 7-Eleven, juices, and other snacks for during the race days. And that wasn’t even the hard part- packing this all into our (albeit massive) crew SUV proved to be the true organizational challenge.

After unloading all of those goods, with help from all of the deck boys, we set out yet again. We blitzed through the hardware store for some random items (mostly engineering related) and Home Depot to purchase protective materials for the interior (for when we go into our yard period from September to November). The last order of business was clothing- Old Navy to buy some long pant for all of the crew for the yard period and Helly Hansen for khaki colored girls shorts for the race days.

We returned to the boat a little after 5 o’clock with our arms full, the boat credit card thoroughly used and the galley area packed with items needing to be put away.

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