A Couple Feet Higher, Considerably Faster Than

By Kimball Livingston Posted April 11, 2015

The G4 Gunboat — the first full-galley foiling cat — was already a talking point in St. Barth before it beat its tender over from St. Maarten on Friday afternoon, and before a traveling cruiser dropped anchor too close on Saturday morning, dragged across the G4’s anchor rode, scooped it, rode up on it, wound up bow-to between the hulls, with the rode wrapped around the cruiser’s prop and —

With Peter Johnstone and crew looking on from a hill above the harbor, it did not make for a promising break of day.

Or should I not say “break?”

Johnstone and crew went racing down the hill, of course, but if you’re going to have a boat emergency, there are few better places to have a boat emergency than the harbor at Gustavia, shortly before Les Voile de St. Barth, with a fair sampling of the best sailors in the world and the best sailing pros within shouting distance. “Twas the stickiest of wickets, but the community had the problem sorted by the time Johnstone and company made the scene. They even limited the damage to a scratch that won’t show in the many photos to come this week.

So, on one stroll down “Main Street” I heard three conversations on said subject. Hey, it’s a small town. The heroes were the guys who kept it down to a scratch that, well, for this week, who cares?

bulkhead

“Travis,” the captain of the Gunboat, Slim, cracked something like, “Cruisers in crowded harbors have a fatal attraction for carbon fiber.”

Timbalero III, the first G4 (the second just might be going to a name you know) is owned by Eduardo Perez, and it is one of nine multihulls that will be crowding the starting line for race one on Tuesday, 32 feet to 70 feet.

That’s a lot of mobile real estate.

But the winner in personal LOA can only be Jim Clark. The guy who still has Netscape stuck to his name has three boats on the scene: one to race, one to look big, and one to look pretty. Let’s add them up. The race boat is Comanche, skippered by Ken Read. 100 feet. The big one is the sort-of-classic looking Athena. 295 feet. The beauty is the J Class Hanuman, a contemporary reinterpretation of Endeavour II. 138 feet.

That comes to 533 feet of waterline, about four feet short of Azzam, billed as the biggest yacht in the world, as presented on CNN.com . . .

CNN-Azzam
All the people in line for my lifeboat like Jim Clark’s choices better. There’s Hanuman:

Hanuman

And, farthest of all from the bar noise of Gustavia, takking in the sunset at this moment, the three-masted Athena . . .

sunset

But when it comes to photos, I’ve seen better of Hanuman.

And of Athena. And I got nothin’ of Comanche, which was out practicing on Saturday, with two RIBS chasing. Meanwhile, around Gustavia . . .

A lone devotee of les boules practiced in mid-day sun . . .

boule

The same houses are still on the hill . . .

hill

And people will be people.They had room for more. Vive la liberté, égalité, fraternité . . .

people

Chris Bailet and Lauren Battaile demo the spirit du jour . . .

Chris-Lauren

Suns New Jerseys