Spectators will once again have front row seats to watch some thrilling racing action of the 49th edition of the Rolex Big Boat Series that will take center stage on San Francisco Bay as the first sailing event succeeding the 34th America’s Cup. Running from September 26-29, the event is hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club and this year serves as the HPR National Championship, the J/120 North American Championship and the IRC West Coast Championship as well as the Melges 24 Pre-World competition, which immediately precedes the Melges 24 World Championship
IRC-C Fleet Start
'With 37 Melges 24s already registered plus a strong contingent of High Performance Rule (HPR) boats and a first-ever class for the J/70, this year’s Rolex Big Boat Series is shaping up to be the sport boat regatta of the year,' said St. Francis Yacht Club Commodore Jim Cascino, who has owned and raced a J/120 at prior Rolex Big Boat Series events but will skipper his new J/70 EOS this time. 'You could say that much of the ‘big’ in Big Boat Series for 2013 is about big fun and big speed coming in small (boat) packages.'
Daniel Woolery's King 40 SOOZAL in the IRC-B Class
Regatta Chair Norman Davant reflected that in sailboat racing as a whole there has been a migration from one-off designs in the 50-60 foot range to smaller one-design boats and light displacement production boats. For almost five decades, the Rolex Big Boat Series has embraced new developments in the sport while continually working to expand the diversity of its fleets. Last year, for example, the event added Performance Multihulls to its mix of IRC, HPR and One-Design racing.
'There is still plenty of ‘big’ in the Rolex Big Boat Series, even though several smaller classes have been invited this year,' said Davant, explaining that the minimum boat length at the Rolex Big Boat Series traditionally has been 30 feet, but with the America’s Cup racing filling up the bay with so much activity in August and September, lots of sailors with smaller boats have been feeling 'squeezed out.' 'There’s only so much racing runway out there,' said Davant, 'and we felt it was the right time to allow these fleets to join our event and do what they love: race in San Francisco. We’ve developed new courses based on computer-generated models to provide the sport boat fleets challenging racing that will also give spectators fantastic viewing.'
Peter Krueger's J 125 DOUBLE TROUBLE in IRC-C
A dedicated spectator-friendly race track has been set up for the J/70s and Melges 24s. 'It will be fast, exciting, racing along essentially the same track as the America’s Cup race courses, with the starts and finishes in front of the club and major viewing areas,' said Davant, adding that the regatta’s two other popular courses have undergone a complete overhaul, featuring a mark just outside the Golden Gate Bridge and another starting area off of Alcatraz Island.
Recognized as one of the premier West Coast regattas, the Rolex Big Boat attracts professional and corinthian sailors from around the world. With 75 boats currently registered, over 100 boats are expected to compete in the 2013 event. The four-day regatta includes daily prize givings for all classes, and six coveted awards--accompanied by Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner timepieces for skippers--are given for best performances in specific classes. The trophies, which remain on display at St. Francis Yacht Club, are: the St. Francis Perpetual Trophy, City of San Francisco Trophy, Richard Rheem Perpetual Trophy, Keefe-Kilborn Perpetual Trophy, Atlantic Perpetual and Commodore’s Cup.
J 120s DESDEMONA and CHANCE
For the NOR and more information, go to Rolex Bigboat Series. Find us on Facebook St. Francis Yacht Club Racing, and follow @bigboatseries. Regatta registration and competitor details can be found at Event Website.