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Rolex Big Boat Series - Stakes high with one race to go

by Barbara McGowan on 9 Sep 2012
J/105 Fleet - Rolex Big Boat Series 2012 © Rolex/Daniel Forster http://www.regattanews.com
Rolex Big Boat Series - A chill in the air did nothing to lessen the heat on the race course at the Rolex Big Boat Series, where 66 boats in eight classes have now completed three days of competition and look forward to the last and longest race of the event. Tomorrow’s 'Bay Tour' race, which traditionally covers 20 or more nautical miles, will solidify who takes home class honors and the six special St. Francis Yacht Club Perpetual Trophies, each accompanied by a specially engraved Rolex timepiece. An IRC North American champion for 2012 also will be crowned.

While four teams have dominated their classes since day one (Vesper in IRC A, Shadow in Catamaran Class, Golden Moon in Express 37, and Double Trouble in IRC C), the decks have been shuffling in the remaining four classes.

The J/105 Class, the largest here at the regatta, has been hosting a different leader every day of the event. Donkey Kong, co-owned by Rolf Kaiser/Shannon Ryan/Steve Kleha (San Francisco, Calif.), took the top spot today with finishes of 7-1, moving yesterday’s front-runner Godot, skippered by Phillip Laby (Oakland, Calif.), down to second place. The two teams share the same point score, so tomorrow’s race will be a gun fight.

'Different people are winning every race, and there are still three or four boats that can actually win the regatta,' said Kaiser, who skippered the boat. 'Today we were really focused on boat speed and tried to make some changes to how we were attacking the races. We’ll go out tomorrow and do our best and see what happens.'

Also seeing a change of fate was the J/120 Class’s defending champion Chance, skippered by Barry Lewis (Atherton, Calif.), which ousted John Wimer’s Desdemona from the first-place position it has held all week. 'In our fleet, it is like this during every Rolex Big Boat Series,' said Chance’s tactician Doug Nugent (San Francisco, Calif.). 'It always comes down to the last race, and it’s always a battle.' Chance’s mainsail trimmer Scott Kozinchik (Fairfax, Calif.) explained that his team’s mission tomorrow is fairly straightforward: 'We have to beat Desdemona. We’re one point up on them, and they are going to come at us hard. If they were to win and we come in second, we would tie, and they would win on the count-back (tiebreaker).'

In IRC D, Frank Morrow’s (San Francisco, Calif.) Hawkeye, which yesterday had knocked off Gerard Sheridan’s Tupelo Honey for the lead, turned in a 3-1 today to stay one point ahead of its now-closest adversary. Tupelo Honey finished 2-2 today in the seven-boat fleet, and with eight points between it and the current third-place finisher, it is simply a matter of who beats whom tomorrow that determines whether Hawkeye or Tupelo Honey wins.

Daniel Woolery’s (Alamo, Calif.) King 40 Soozal climbed back on top today in IRC B after temporarily losing its grip on the lead yesterday to Brad Copper’s Custom Tripp 43 TNT, which now stands in second behind Soozal by two points. The final showdown tomorrow will again be determined by which of these two boats beats the other.

In Catamaran Class, Peter Stoneberg’s (Tiburon, Calif.) ProSail 40 Shadow has wrapped up the series before the last day with today’s powerful performance that added two victories to two more already posted in a thus-far six-race lineup. Stoneberg, who is the commodore of St. Francis Yacht Club, came up with the idea of adding the new catamaran class when it became clear that the Rolex Big Boat Series would be bracketed by two America’s Cup World Series events being held here in AC45 catamarans. When eight teams entered, it was clear the concept had taken off, just as the cats have been prone to do here, mingling with the monohull yachts in a fast, furious and certainly spectator pleasing way as they make their way around courses that often hug the shore.

Sailed since 1964, the St. Francis Yacht Club Big Boat Series added Rolex Watch U.S.A. as a title sponsor in 2005. A specially engraved Rolex timepiece will be awarded to winners in the four IRC classes, the J/105 class and the Express 37 class.


(Top Three Results Follow)
Rolex Big Boat Series

Place, Yacht Name, Type, Owner/Skipper, Hometown, Results, Total Points

IRC A (IRC - 6 Boats)
1. Vesper, TP 52, Jim Swartz, Park City, Utah, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1 (7)
2. Rio, TP 52, Manouch Moshayedi, Corona del Mar, Calif., 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2 (11)
3. Swiftsure II, Schumacher Custom 54, Sy Kleinman, Saratoga, Calif., 3, 4, 3, 3, 3, 4 (20)

IRC B (IRC - 5 Boats)
1. Soozal, King 40, Daniel Woolery, Alamo, Calif., 1, 1, 2, 2, 1, 1 (8)
2. TNT, Custom Tripp 43, Brad Copper, Pt. Richmond, Calif., 2, 2, 1, 1, 2, 2 (10)
3. Swazik, Swan 45, Sebastien de Halleux , San Francisco, Calif., USA - 3, 3, 4, 3, 3, 3 (19)

IRC C (IRC - 6 Boats)
1. Double Trouble, J 125, Peter Krueger, Reno, Nev., 1, 1, 3/SCP, 1, 2, 1 (9)
2. Resolute, J 125, Tim Fuller, Murrieta, Calif., 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 2 (13)
3. August Ice, J 125, Richard Ferris, Tahoe City, Calif., 3, 3, 3, 3, 1, 3 (16)

IRC D (IRC - 7 Boats)
1. Hawkeye, IMX 38 37.1, Frank Morrow, San Francisco, Calif., 2, 2, 1, 1, 3, 1 (10)
2. Tupelo Honey, Elan 40, Gerard Sheridan, San Francisco, Calif., 1, 1, 2, 3, 2, 2 (11)
3. Encore, Sydney 36, Wayne Koide, San Anselmo, Calif., 3, 3, 3, 2, 5, 3 (19)

Catamarans (PHRF - 7 Boats)
1. Shadow, ProSail 40 Cat, Peter Stoneberg, Tiburon, Calif., 1, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1 (8)
2. BridgeRunner, SL33 35, Urs Rothacher, Oakland, Calif., 2, 4, 1, 2, 2, 4 (15)
3. Pegasus-MotionX, Lightspeed 32, Philippe Kahn, Santa Cruz, Calif., 3, 3, 3, 4, 3, 2 (18)


HPR (Exhibition Class - 6 Boats)
1. Double Trouble (HPR), J 125, Peter Krueger, Reno, Nev., 1, 1, 4/SCP, 1, 3, 1 (11)
2. Rock & Roll (HPR), Farr 400, Bernard Girod, Santa Barbara, Calif., 2, 4, 1, 2, 1, 4 (14)
3. August Ice (HPR), J 125 41, Richard Ferris, Tahoe City, Calif., 4, 3, 3, 4, 2, 2 (18)

J 105 (One Design - 21 Boats)
1. Donkey Jack, J 105, Shannon Ryan/Rolf Kaiser/Steve Kleha, San Francisco, Calif., 10, 3, 5, 1, 7, 1 (27)
2. Blackhawk, J 105, Scooter Simmons, Belvedere, Calif., 1, 6, 9, 6, 1, 4 (27)
3. Godot, J 105, Phillip Laby, Oakland, Calif., 5, 5, 4, 2, 6, 8 (30)

J 120 (One Design - 7 Boats)
1. Chance, J 120, Barry Lewis , Atherton, Calif., 3, 3, 2, 4, 1, 1 (14)
2. Desdemona, J 120, John Wimer, Half Moon Bay, Calif., 1, 1, 4, 3, 4, 2 (15)
3. Grace Dances, J 120, Dick Swanson, Los Altos, Calif., 4, 4, 5, 1, 2, 3 (19)

Express 37 (One Design - 7 Boats)
1. Golden Moon, Express 37, Kame Richards, Alameda, Calif. 2, 2/RDG, 2, 2, 5, 2 (15)
2. Blade Runner, Express 37, Michael Shlens, Palos Verdes Est., Calif., 4, 2/RDG, 4, 1, 4, 1 (16)
3. Bullet, Express 37, Michael Maloney, Alameda, Calif., 1, 3, 5, 3, 3, 3 (18)
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