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North Sails 2021 Innovation - LEADERBOARD

Final call for entries in the 2022 Rolex Big Boat Series

by St. Francis Yacht Club 30 Aug 18:54 PDT September 14-18, 2022
Rolex Big Boat Series © Sharon Green / Rolex

No sailor enjoys seeing summer furl her sails, but for teams participating in Rolex Big Boat Series, the season's end means four days of world-class sailboat racing on San Francisco Bay. The West Coast's most competitive and prestigious regatta will be hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, California, from September 14-18, 2022. With less than one month to go, owners are testing new sails, tuning their rigs and calling in their A-list crews, while StFYC prepares for the biggest sailing event of the year.

For interested-but-not-yet-registered owners, the window for entry closes at 2359 hours this Wednesday, August 31. Likewise, all owners are reminded that the deadline for completing the docking form is September 1.

With 81 boats entered and Covid restrictions relaxed, StFYC is planning for a return to this nearly 60-year-old event's pre-pandemic scale and splendor.

"St. Francis Yacht Club is excited to welcome racers to the first large-scale Rolex Big Boat Series since 2019," says Peter Gilmore, 2022 Commodore of St. Francis Yacht Club. "The wait was long but necessary, and we are ready to celebrate sailing's amazing culture on one of the world's greatest natural racing venues."

Rolex Big Boat Series is StFYC's signature event, and the club constantly strives to evolve and improve the experience for all participants. Changes for the 2022 edition include adopting handicap rules established by the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC); adding a four-person Rules Committee; retaining Platinum-level status with Sailors for the Sea's Clean Regatta's program; and establishing StFYC's new Yacht Club Trophy.

The decision to contest the 2022 event under ORC handicap rules furthers StFYC's reputation as a leader in international yachting. "Rolex Big Boat Series has a long history of evolving its rating rules to stay on sailing's leading edge, and our move to ORC keeps us on pace with other prestigious international events," says Susan Ruhne, Chair of Rolex Big Boat Series. "It also makes it easier for visiting yachts from other coasts or countries to come compete."

This change will apply to all handicap classes except the Classics, which will still race under ORRez rating certificates. A newly established Rules Committee will be on hand to advise Race Committee on matters ranging from ORC rules interpretations to class divisions and scoring, while largely operating behind the scenes. As one committee member noted, "if we're successful we will be invisible."

2022 marks the third year Rolex Big Boat Series will be a Platinum-level Clean Regatta with Sailors for the Sea, the organization's highest designation. Meg Ruxton, the regatta's Sustainability Chair, is directing attention to the many ways regatta participants and attendees can help lessen sailing's environmental wake. Ruxton has invited local marine-based nonprofit groups to the Regatta Plaza to engage with attending sailors and guests, a program that was well received at last year's event.

"Racers will have the opportunity to learn more about the environmental groups' important marine-conservation projects, and about ways they can get involved as volunteers, supporters and partners," says Ruxton. "We hope these groups will help racers appreciate the wonderful marine life that is below their keels."

All participants are encouraged to visit the Regatta Plaza to connect with these groups, and engage with the many regatta sponsors on the scene, including Mustang Survival and Pirates Lair, who will be selling official regatta gear. Post-racing beer will be flowing and Mount Gay is back to shake up rum cocktails for the Friday night party.

Sailors, families and fans are all encouraged to attend Sunday's awards ceremony where marquis sponsor Rolex will award timepieces to select divisions, to be announced at the Wednesday Commodore's Reception.

In addition, this year a brand-new trophy will also be contested. "The Yacht Club Team Trophy is awarded to three boats from the same club that earn the highest cumulative result," says Ruhne. "To be eligible, a club's finishers must include at least one ORC boat, one that's racing in a One Design class and a third boat from any class. We hope this will encourage more visiting clubs to come and sail on San Francisco Bay."

For visitors travelling to the regatta, organizers are encouraged that the country has finally reached a better, safer place in terms of Covid. StFYC recognizes that the pandemic isn't over, and, as such, will host all large gatherings in outdoor spaces. Racers and visitors are no longer required to show proof of vaccination, but StFYC kindly requests that all attendees have a negative Covid test result before arriving at the regatta. Anyone who isn't feeling well is politely asked to remain at home.

Rolex Big Boat Series has a long history of conjuring breeze-on, big-grin sailing. StFYC's race committee can't control the wind, but they can ensure world-class racecourse management and an onshore staff with a well-earned reputation for serving-up iconic hospitality.

Click here to register now.

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