2011-08-11 / News

Wetherill, Beavertail prime spots for air show

A vintage War World II Airshow featuring the Texas Flying Legends will follow racing at the ninth annual Newport Bucket Regatta on Saturday, Aug. 27, and Sunday, Aug. 28.

From 4:30 to 5 p.m. on each of those days, the Coast Guard will literally stop boat traffic off Fort Adams and Castle Hill as the public enjoys the spectacle. The Newport Bucket Airshow celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the Bucket Regattas (held in Newport and St. Barth’s); it will feature six rare WWII vintage aircrafts including Last Samurai, one of only two Japanese Zeros still flying in the world; the FG-1D Corsair Whistling Death; the P-40K Aleutian Tiger; two P-51D Mustangs Dakota Kid II and Little Horse; and the Mitchell B-25 Bomber Betty’s Dream.

“We’re always trying to think outside the box and figure out how to make the Bucket Regattas exciting for participants and spectators,” said Tim Laughridge, co-founder and director of the Newport Bucket Regatta. “In the past, the Bucket Regattas have been much more private events, and this year with the Texas Flying Legends making a debut in Newport, we can get the local community down to the waterfront and more involved than ever before.”

The Newport Bucket is the sister regatta to the St. Barth’s Bucket held each spring and is known for a legendary combination of thrilling big-boat racing and memorable shore-side celebrations set in the spirit of the Corinthian ideal. With 20 yachts registered to compete in Newport – including J Boats Velsheda and Ranger, the 37 meter Dubois/Fitzroy Moonbird, 42 meter Frers/Royal Huisman Hyperion and 35 meter Fontaine/Holland Jachtbouw Whisper – the regatta will once again live up to its reputation for hosting some of the world’s finest yachts afloat. Ironically, they are competing not for a fancy silver trophy but for bragging rights and a highly sought-after tin bucket. The event is open to yachts over 100 feet LOA with the exception that those in the Demi Class can be 76 feet or over for 2011, in recognition of the earlier days in the regatta when the yachts competing were smaller.

A public viewing will be available at the Quonset Air Museum from noon to 7 p.m. both days of the Airshow and will include access to the planes and pilots along with a viewing of the launching and recovery.

Best vantage points for spectators are Fort Adams, Castle Hill and Brenton Point State Park in Newport; and Fort Wetherill and Beavertail in Jamestown.

The first Bucket regatta was organized in Nantucket, Mass., in Aug. 1986. Between 1986 and 2001, the Nantucket Bucket flourished, becoming a premier Mega Yacht Regatta that invited owners and crews of the world’s largest sailing yachts to sail to peak performance in a safe venue, in the spirit of wholesome competition. The concept of pursuit racing was brought to life by the Bucket, with each yacht assigned its own start time on a clear starting line for safety, and the start time calibrated to induce the yacht’s speed handicap. Consequently, the first yacht to cross the finish line, wins. Following the announcement that 2001 was to be the last Nantucket Bucket, the founders passed the torch to the present Bucket Organizing Committee: Hank Halsted (Exeter), Ian Craddock (Italy) and Timothy Laughridge (Newport). The summer venue was shifted in 2002 to Newport where the event has since been hosted by the Newport Shipyard.

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