Please select your home edition
Hyde Sails 2021 - Basic LEADERBOARD

Rolex Big Boat Series at St. Francis Yacht Club - Day 2

by St. Francis Yacht Club 18 Sep 2021 00:15 PDT September 15-19, 2021
2021 Rolex Big Boat Series © Sharon Green / Rolex

San Francisco Bay served up another round of perfect racing conditions for sailors on the second day of Rolex Big Boat Series at St. Francis Yacht Club. Winds were in the steady teens for the start of Race 3, and held around 20 knots all afternoon, making for quick, dramatic runs for the finish line.

Windward/leeward courses were the order of the day with shorter legs in the morning followed by an afternoon of long stretches across San Francisco Bay to test these competitive fleets. Race Committee flipped the script from Day One, running the three ORR divisions and the Express 37s on the North Course and the three J/boat classes on the Treasure Island Course.

Crews and skippers that did well on Day One were naturally aiming for a repeat performance. Bernard Girod was "hoping to do the same thing as we did yesterday." He and his crew on J/111 Rock & Roll did exactly that, scoring their third and fourth bullets in ORR A. "These are big winds for us, and unfamiliar territory, so it's a bit of a struggle, but we're managing pretty well," said the Santa Barbara-based Girod. "We're still experimenting with our sail inventory in these conditions and managing the currents and chop. But we love it. It's my favorite place to sail in the whole world."

Having previously raced Rolex Big Boat Series in a Farr 400 of the same name, Girod's back with "a more conservative boat with a better rating," said Kevin Wilson, main trimmer. "A lot of preparation went into this," he added, including rating and weight studies, with optimization for winds stronger than what they typically see in their home port. "We've been up here practicing since Sunday. Our tactician, Seadon Wijsen, did a great job and made a couple of nice calls yesterday."

In the J/105 class, Ryan Simmons and Blackhawk had a good day, scoring 1-1 and now sitting in first for their class. Shawn Ivie's Express 37 Limitless also added two bullets to their scorecard, setting them up well as they're concurrently racing in that class's Pacific Coast Championships. In ORR B, Sandra Askew's Flying Jenny was first across the finish line on corrected time with two wins today while John Brigden's Cool Story, Bro. nabbed their third and fourth bullets in the J/70 fleet.

The Bill Lee-designed Merlin was forced off the race course early with a steering issue during Race 4. Before that unfortunate event, owner Chip Merlin, who is based in Tampa, Florida, said, "It was a lot of fun yesterday. It's certainly different on San Francisco Bay compared to the south. And the boat just goes." His intention is to keep racing Merlin on the West Coast, and though she's built for ocean racing, to keep rounding buoys inshore. He said, "It's good for us to get out where the wind is good and go around the buoys. It makes us better sailors."

Looking at the brighter side of things, Merlin's program manager, Brian Malone, was pleased to have been able to attend the event this year after missing it when the team raced in 2019. "It's really cool racing, epic scenery. I'm a tourist, sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge, zipping past Alcatraz at arm's length, and seeing these places you see on TV."

The scenery and sailing still bring a wow-factor for veteran competitor and local resident Dave MacEwen. "I'm a St. Francis member so I love that Big Boat is here. It's such a fabulous sailing destination." Though he's raced in several Rolex Big Boat Series with his Santa Cruz 52 Lucky Duck, this year that name is painted on the hull of his Rogers 46, racing in the ORR A division. "I wanted a boat that could do both inshore and offshore, and finding a boat that can do both is hard. We decided to go faster, wetter and less comfortable," he said. Built in 2007 and purchased in Australia, the Rogers needed a bit of work before racing in this year's Transpac and California Offshore Week. After that, Lucky Duck did some local OYRA tune-up races to prepare to shake it up at Rolex Big Boat Series with sister ship and newcomer Bretwalda 3. And shake it they did during Race 4 when, just moments from the finish line Lucky Duck's spinnaker tore in two. Without enough time to hoist another, Bretwalda 3 swept in from behind, closing the gap and then squeezing between Lucky Duck and the mark, photo-finish style.

"There was room, that was my choice. I'm not sure he was happy about it," said Bretwalda 3's owner Bob Pethick, who is racing here for the first time and is loving the scene, on and off the water.

MacEwen took it well. "It was anti-climactic for us," he said. "It was close, but what a great day of racing." In spite of the dramatic finish, on corrected time, Lucky Duck finished fifth and Bretwalda 3 seventh in Race 4, ending the day with Lucky Duck in third for ORR B, behind Daniel Thielman's Melges 32 Kuai and Sandra Askew's IC37 Flying Jenny.

Racing continues tomorrow at 1100 PST and goes through Sunday. Be sure to tune into livestreams of the finishes, broadcast daily at 1445 on the Rolex Big Boat Series Facebook page.

Results available here...

Related Articles

Young Bennet wins J/22 Match Race San Francisco
This achievement earned him an invitation to the US Match Racing Championship High school senior Connor Bennett won 13 out of his 14 matches in the US Match Racing Qualifier held at the St. Francis YC in the Club's evenly matched fleet of J/22s. Posted on 14 May
Seawanhaka Cup Invited Clubs announced
Larger and more international than at any time since the late 1980's The Long Beach Yacht Club is pleased to announce the invited competitors for the Seawanhaka International Challenge Cup to be held May 31 to June 5, 2022. Posted on 11 May
Early entries begin for 2022 Rolex Big Boat Series
What's on your regatta bucket list? May's flowers might be just arriving after April's showers, but serious owners are already finalizing their racing calendars for what promises to be sailing's most competitive racing season in years. Posted on 3 May
J/125 smokes Lightship Race
A close battle all the way around the race track in San Francisco The Lightship Race, the first of a 10-race series of the Ocean Yacht Racing Association of San Francisco Bay, kicks off the crewed offshore racing in Northern California. Posted on 2 May
Ryan Finn in '2 Oceans 1 Rock' attempt
Smallest boat to try the New York to San Francisco Solo Sailing Record After 92 days at sea, Ryan Finn is expected to arrive in San Francisco on April 20th, 2022 at Richmond Yacht Club on his 36' Proa design sailboat. Posted on 19 Apr
Spring Regatta madness in San Francisco
2022 St. Francis YC offshore racing season launched with the Spring Fest Regatta The 2022 St. Francis Yacht Club offshore racing season launched with the Spring Fest Regatta, April 9-10, with lively competition in spring sunshine and strong westerlies, thrilling spectators along the shoreline and at the Clubhouse. Posted on 17 Apr
US Sailing Association Awards 2022
Honoring contributions to the sport The annual US Sailing Association Awards were celebrated Thursday evening at St. Francis Yacht Club. Award winners were honored for their contributions to the sport of sailing, from racing to race management. Posted on 25 Mar
Registration opens for 2022 Rolex Big Boat Series
The Notice of Race is posted and registration is open The Notice of Race is posted and registration is open for the 2022 Rolex Big Boat Series, hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, California. Posted on 25 Feb
Rolex Big Boat Series to race under ORC
The San Francisco event has been racing under ORR since 2014 On September 15, 2022, when handicap fleets line up to compete in the Rolex Big Boat Series, they will be racing under rating rules established by the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) rather than the Offshore Rating Rule (ORR). Posted on 5 Jan
Doyle Sails: Making it personal - Stu Bannaytne
Stu Bannatyne on how SS foiling technology and Doyle Structureless Luff combine in a new project Thirty years of racking up ocean racing titles plus high-level engineering expertise gave Stu Bannatyne the perfect grounding to help create and refine two of the most important sailing innovations of the current era. Posted on 7 Nov 2021
J Composites 2022 - J99 FOOTERABC Recruiting BTMSea Sure 2021 - FLO - FOOTER