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Registration opens for the 2022 Rolex Big Boat Series at St. Francis Yacht Club

by St. Francis Yacht Club 25 Feb 2022 11:13 PST September 14-18, 2022
Rolex Big Boat Series © Sharon Green / Rolex

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.

Considered the most prestigious regatta on the West Coast, Rolex Big Boat Series attracts competitors from around the country and the world for four days of racing on San Francisco Bay. Winners of select fleets are awarded perpetual trophies and Rolex timepieces.

Scheduled for September 14-18, 2022, the following fleets are invited to compete in this year's regatta:

  • One-design boats of the J/105, J/88, J/70, Express 37 and Cal 40 classes;
  • Monohull boats with a LOA = 30' and a current ORC International rating certificate;
  • Classic boats built prior to 1955 with a LOA = 48' and a current ORRez rating certificate.
"We are really looking forward to opening our doors for Rolex Big Boat Series and welcoming sailors who have the grit to compete here. If you enjoy a good test on the water and a good time ashore, this regatta is not to be missed," said Peter Gilmore, 2022 Commodore of St. Francis Yacht Club, who intends to race his Cal 40 Longboard and hopes to see other owners of this popular West Coast design on the starting line.

Last year's Rolex Big Boat Series was held amidst a range of local and state pandemic-related regulations that did little to dampen spirits, with over 80 boats competing and nearly 1,000 owners, crew, club members and guests in attendance. "St. Francis Yacht Club is prepared to cater a full complement of racing and socializing within the regulations required, which are easing statewide as California transitions to treating Covid as an endemic issue," noted Gilmore.

In 2021, post-racing socials and the trophy ceremony were hosted outdoors and will be again in 2022, while the legendary Thursday night Rolex Owners Dinner and Saturday night Crew Dinner will be inside the clubhouse overlooking unbeatable views of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

A notable difference for 2022 is a discount for registrations received before May 15. Furthermore, any boat registering after July 31 will be charged a late entry fee of $250.

"We work with the City of San Francisco's Recreation and Parks Department and the San Francisco Small Craft Harbor to secure docking space for boats that come to compete, and the city has significantly increased their fees for 2022," explained Adam Corpuz-Lahne, Senior Sailing Director of St. Francis Yacht Club. "To host this event at the highest level we've increased our entry fees, but we are also offering an early-bird discount to offset this reality for owners. We're rewarding those who signal early their intention to compete, as that makes it easier for us to plan a successful week of sailing, socials and entertainment. Owners who take advantage of this discount will see no increase in entry fees over their 2021 entry."

St. Francis Yacht Club has also changed the rating rule it uses for handicapping boats. Monohulls that do not fall into any of the one-design classes will be racing under rating rules established by the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) rather than the Offshore Rating Rule (ORR), which has been used for the past several editions of the regatta. Handicap divisions will be split according to ORC rules and ORC International rating certificates will be required to compete. The 2022 Rolex Big Boat Series will likely feature three ORC divisions and fleet splits will be posted on the Tuesday prior to the start of the regatta.

"We've changed rating rules many times since the inauguration of this regatta in 1964," said Susan Ruhne, Chair of Rolex Big Boat Series. "After soliciting input from sailors and owners who've competed in the past, we decided it was time to embrace what has become the dominant rating rule internationally and on the East Coast. The St. Francis Yacht Club's mission is to be a leader in yachting and we hope this move entices more boats and owners eager to go up against the best in West Coast sailing."

The Classics division, for yachts built prior to 1955 and greater than 48 feet in length, will continue to race with ORRez rating certificates. "The ORRez rating has us so closely matched, last year the first three boats were one point apart," noted Beau Vrolyk, 2022 Vice Commodore of St. Francis Yacht Club, who has been racing his Alden schooner Mayan since the Classics division was established in 2019.

He wouldn't miss it for the world this year. "Racing Mayan in the Rolex Big Boat Series has been fantastic. The racing couldn't have been any closer and the camaraderie is terrific! We are looking forward to hitting the starting line with our old friends and some new faces in 2022."

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