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2018 BBS Official Thread

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  • 2018 BBS Official Thread

    A little warm up video from the J-125 Timshaver to set the mood....
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  • #2
    Big Breeze & Big Fun Predicted For 4th PAC 52 Stop

    The predictive wind forecasts show bundles of sun and fun for the fleet in the 2018 St Francis YC Big Boat Series sponsored by Rolex. With winds expected in the 15 -25 knot range, temps in the mid 60's to low 70's, the PAC 52 fleet will be battling on the edge and eating up the racecourse in spectacular fashion. The prior 3 Southern California stop in San Diego, Long Beach and Marina Del Rey have provided a great training surface for crews which must now adjust to closer quarters, stronger breeze and unforgiving currents.

    Local boat Frank Slootman's Invisible Hand enters into the 7 race series with a 6 point lead over Austin and Gwen Fragomen's Interlodge for the season championship. Just off the pace, Manouch Moshayedi' RIO and last years season champions, Tom Holthus's BadPak, both eager to reverse earlier fortunes at the start of the season.
    But in this ultra competitive class, nothing is secure until the boats cross the finish, leads are exchanged quite frequently and W's can be counted until the whistle blows. Add to the mix the unpredictable nature of inter fleet interaction, such as the 28 boat strong J-105 class, or the various courses and speeds of the ORR divisions and you have a real high seas 3D chess match brewing in every leg, and nothing can be taken for granted!

    The tactician's and navigators will have their hands full, and teams are loaded with talent in that department. BadPak utilizing local wiz Christopher Lewis along with Artie Means and Bruce Nelson are playing for keeps. RIO counters with local talent Mike Menninger and Justin Schaffer while Interlodge brings in Surfdaddy Morgan Larson and Geoff Ewenson to help predict things before they happen. The Beau Geste tandem of Gavin Brady and Jamie Gale have proven hard to trip up as crew for Invisible Hand and would love nothing more than to prove last years Big Boat Series win on BG was not just a fluke.

    The bottom line with these grand prix boats and their well trained crews is you will have nearly as much fun observing the flawless boat handling, tight roundings, lightning quick sets and takedowns from a nearby vessel, on shore vantage point or perhaps a large steel structure spanning the Golden Gate. HINT: There are more courses going in and out the gate than ever this year and when was the last time you rode your bike on the west side or took a nice stroll on the east side?
    Racing commences at 11:00 on Thursday with 2 per day with the grand finale, the Bay Tour scheduled for 11:00 Sunday.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


    • #3

      SAN FRANCISCO, CA — In sailing, as in life, most important contests are won and lost in the days and weeks preceding the starting guns, and the St. Francis Yacht Club’s 54th annual Rolex Big Boat Series (September 12-16, 2018) is no exception. All 76 teams that have assembled ahead of the West Coast’s toughest regatta understand that winning on San Francisco Bay requires absolute top form given the impressive levels of competition, sailing talent, and tightly choreographed teamwork that will be on display once racing commences. For many of the competing teams, this internationally recognized and respected Grand Prix event is the pinnacle of their sailing season and serves as a high-octane finale that’s typically punctuated by ample breeze, challenging tides and currents, world-class racecourse management, and engaging, family-friendly evening entertainment.

      While every Rolex Big Boat Series features highly polished teams, fresh-from-the-loft sails, and some of the West Coast’s hottest sailing hardware, this year’s event is shaping up to offer especially intense one-design and handicap (ORR) racing, with many past winners returning to defend their titles or win back what was once their own.

      If some of the 2017 Rolex Big Boat Series’ most compelling storylines involved the brand-new Pac52 class, one of this year’s hottest stories comes from the J/105 class, whose 2018 scratch sheet includes 28 of these can-do keelboats, making this the regatta’s largest one-design class. Impressively, the class’s scratch sheet also includes former perpetual trophy winners, such as Chris and Phil Perkins’ Good Timin’ (USA 35), Ryan Simmons’ Blackhawk (USA 40), Phillip Laby’s Godot (USA 44), and Bruce Stone and Nicole Breault’s Arbitrage (USA 116) teams. While Perkins won top J/105 honors at last year’s regatta, both Arbitrage and Blackhawk enjoyed top-three finishes at this year’s Aldo Alessio and Phyllis Kleinman Swiftsure Regatta (August 17-19, 2018), which serves as a warm-up event for the Rolex Big Boat Series. This year’s J/105 win is a particularly tough ask.

      Three of the ultra-competitive Pac52s—Tom Holthus’ BadPak (USA 60052), Manouch Moshayedi’s Rio (USA 3545), and Frank Slootman’s Invisible Hand (USA 5202)—from last year’s debut fleet are returning to their familiar battlegrounds and are being joined by Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s Interlodge (USA 5210). Interestingly, Karl Kwok and his Team Beau Geste (IVB 1997) planted a perfect picket fence on their 2017 scorecard but are not returning to defend their title, thus putting this Grand Prix class up for grabs among a group of skippers not happy with second best.

      While J/88 sailors have previously enjoyed handicap racing at the Rolex Big Boat Series, this year marks their first time competing as a one-design class. On the other end of the regatta’s historical spectrum is the time-honored Express 37 class, which represents one of the regatta’s true beating hearts. Sandy Andersen Wertanen and her Eclipse (USA 18495) team are returning to defend their 2017 win, however they can expect plenty of racecourse pressure from Jack Peurach’s Elan (USA 87700) and Mark Chaffey and Heidi Hall’s Loca Motion (USA 18410) teams, which finished in second and third, respectively, at last year’s Rolex Big Boat Series.

      In addition to one-design racing, the StFYC’s 2018 Rolex Big Boat Series will offer the West Coast’s highest-level ORR handicap racing, with 28 boats spread across three highly competitive classes. Here, ORR-A will be populated with boats ranging in size from 48’ to 53’ LOA, while ORR-B and ORR-C will feature a mix of 30- and 40-footers; all three classes are well-populated with previous class winners or bridesmaids.

      The enduring partnership between Rolex and the Big Boat Series will again be reflected in the five gleaming Rolex Submariner Date timepieces that will be awarded to the winners of the five perpetual trophies during Sunday’s Trophy Ceremony, which will take place on the StFYC’s east last at approximately 1600 hours. This year, the ORR-A class will be competing for the St. Francis Perpetual Trophy, ORR-B will be racing for the City of San Francisco Perpetual Trophy, and ORR-C will battling for the Keefe-Kilborne Trophy, while the J/88 class will be sailing for the Richard Rheem Perpetual Trophy, and the J/105 class will be contesting the Commodore’s Cup, the latter of which is especially appropriate given that StFYC’s first woman Commodore, Theresa Brandner, will be skippering her Walloping Swede (USA 157) and flying StFYC colors in this 28-strong class.

      While all sailors would love to earn top honors and—class-depending—help their skipper take home a beautiful new Rolex, they first need to prove their racecourse acumen in the seven races set to unfurl over the course of the regatta. Here, StFYC’s Race Director Jenn Lancaster has 78 possible courses to select from, depending on forecasted and observed conditions, for the six different racecourses that will be run simultaneously.

      “We can’t guarantee the weather, but we can guarantee world-class racecourse management,” says Lancaster, who will be working with the well-respected father-and-son team of Peter and Anderson Reggio, returning as the regatta’s Principal Race Officers. “We have a lot of experienced racers coming back this year, and I’m expecting all teams to be prepared and ready for four big days of intense sailing.”

      The Race Committee is set to fire their first guns for the 54th annual Rolex Big Boat Series tomorrow, Thursday, September 13, at 1100 hours, and—if the weather gods cooperate, will conduct two races per day for the first three days, followed by a longer Bay Tour on Sunday, September 16.
      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


      • #4
        SAN FRANCISCO, CA — It’s not often that Mother Nature’s agenda perfectly aligns with a regatta’s racing schedule, but that’s exactly what unfurled for the first day of racing in the St. Francis Yacht Club’s 54th annual Rolex Big Boat Series (September 12-16, 2018). The 76 participating teams hoisted sail in 12-15 knot breezes and flat seas for their first race of the West Coast’s most prestigious regatta. Warm sunshine and a flooding tide ensured that the good times only compounded as the day unfurled and the breeze slowly but consistently built, eventually just knocking the tops off the waves to punctuate San Francisco Bay with sporadic white caps.

        And while the racers more or less stayed dry (by San Francisco Bay standards, of course), the smiles were visible from multiple boat lengths away as teams put their steeds through the paces, their sails staying powered-up throughout both of the day’s races.

        “I’m really excited about all three ORR classes,” says regatta co-chair Susan Ruhne, about the week’s racing. “It’s the most robust and competitive handicap fleet that we’ve had in years. I’m also excited about the first race of each day, as some fleets will have their finishes off of the Race Deck. This is new and it will bring racing to the clubhouse windows.”

        Sailors competing in Class ORR-B began their day on the Treasure Island racecourse, and while the flood tide effectively lengthened each beat, the fastest teams did a great job finding maximum current relief along the Cityfront.

        “This is my third or fourth Rolex Big Boat Series, but it’s my first time doing it as just the Big Boat Series and not as a pre-Worlds,” says Charlie Enright, who is serving as tactician aboard Julian Mann’s C&C 30, Don’t Panic (USA 30026), and who served as skipper of Vestas 11th Hour Racing in the 2017/2018 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. “We left the dock yesterday afternoon at 4:30 PM and we came back in at 6:15 PM,” jokes Enright about the team’s pre-Rolex Big Boat Series preparations. “We sailed the boat for two weeks in the Caribbean this spring, and the owner Julian Mann, is an old friend and even came and sailed Leg Zero of the Volvo Ocean Race with us aboard Vestas 11th Hour Racing from Plymouth, England to Saint Malo, France.”

        When pressed for the team’s favorite conditions, Enright points squarely at today’s conditions: “We like 18 knots and flat seas,” he says, adding that, “our strategy is to get better as the week goes on, [make] no big mistakes and keep it close, like in golf.”

        These flat, fast waters offered opportunities for huge leaderboard changes, especially in the Pac52s with the straggler in the first race, Invisible Hand(USA 5202), reversing fortunes to win the second. Gary Panariello’s Courageous (USA 77) and Marc McMorris in M Squared(USA 75) mixed up first and seconds in the J/88 fleet. Two boats dominated their classes: David Halliwill’s J/120 Peregrine(USA 25487) in ORR C and Kame Richards’ Express 37 Golden Moon(USA 18488).

        The Express 37 class has served as one of the Rolex Big Boat Series’ true beating hearts for several decades and sailed their second race of the day on the Alcatraz Race Course, out under the Golden Gate Bridge, passing several humpback whales en route and hugging the Bay’s north shores for current relief as they charged into a growing breeze that at times registered as high as 18 knots.

        “We pay no attention to the weather,” says Richards, a former (and repeat) Rolex Big Boat Series perpetual trophy winner. “You can spend a lot of energy on stuff that you don’t have any control over. We leave the dock saying that these conditions are the best [conditions]—we’re not looking for any specific conditions, we just want to go sailing.”

        Instead, explains Richards, the team focuses on the variables that they can directly influence. “Our strategy is good communication—we want to make sure that everyone knows what the next play is, and we want to sail with our heads out of the boat and be ready,” he says. “We’re a group of friends who like sailing together. We prepare [for the Rolex Big Boat Series] with beer can racing at Oakland Yacht Club, and we don’t stress too much about preparing. We have a few new sails, but not lots of practice.”

        While this strategy might not work for all teams, Richards’ two wins today speak volumes for the kinds of onboard communication that he and his friends have developed and fostered over their years of racing—and winning Rolex watches and beer-can races—together. “Our measure of success is good mark roundings,” says Richards. “It’s not about finishing in first, second or last place; it’s about sailing the boat well. That’s always our goal. There are some very good sailors here and it’s a non-trivial regatta, so we’re going to do the best that we can do.”

        Judging by all empirical evidence, Richards and his Golden Moon team can be proud of more than just their day’s mark roundings, but with five additionally scheduled races over the next three days of sailing, complacency has no spot aboard any boat in any Rolex Big Boat Series class.

        Racing continues tomorrow, Friday, September 14, with the first guns scheduled to sound at 1100 hours, and sailors should again enjoy similarly great late-summer winds and (relatively) flat flood-tide waters tomorrow.

        Full Results
        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

 Photo Gallery


        • #5
          Day One Provides Excellent Thrills for PAC52 Fleet At 2018 Rolex Big Boat Series

          Day One Provides Excellent Thrills for PAC52 Fleet At 2018 Rolex Big Boat Series

          Sunshine, big currents, and wide variety of winds provide the PAC 52 a superb variety of challenges in the 1st two races of the StFYC Big Boat Series sponsored by Rolex. A short delay to low tide preventing the deeper draft boat kept the 52’s from starting until noon on the Alcatraz Course for race one. In near billiard table flat conditions thanks to a healthy flood, the fleet march straight up the course toward the 1st mark, Point Diablo just outside the Golden Gate. In 8-12 knots, the boats made quick work of the leg, working their way to the current relief of Lime Point in the shadow of the North Tower. While the land mass provides current relief, the towering bluffs also provide wind turbulence and the line between breeze and no breeze can be very fickle.

          Tom Holthus’s BadPak and Manouch Moshayedi’s RIO started off with impressive speed and led the boats to Lime Point, working very close to shore, with Austin Fragomen’s Interlodge in close pursuit. Coming in from a more center Bay approach, Frank Slootman’s Invisible Hand arrived just in time to receive a surprise starboard tack maneuver courtesy Interlodge which forced them into the no wind zone, helplessly watching Interlodge pull away.

          Rio would lead BadPak around the weather mark at Point Diablo by 18 or 19 seconds and Interlodge by 2 minutes and The Hand by some 5 minutes… So much for close competition, right?

          While Rio led the fleet on the downhill run back to the Alcatraz Gate, BadPak closed the gap significantly and rounded just a couple boat lengths in Rio’s rear-view mirror. Meanwhile Interlodge had halved the deficit at the gate while The Hand utilized their downhill speed in an attempt to climb back in the race. Unfortunately for them, matter turned south when a headsail kerfuffle forced the to sail bald headed for 10 or so minutes while the corrected matters. When it rains, it pours.

          Rio was well on their way to another first place mark rounding as the reached Lime point again and worked their way along the previously mentioned wind /no wind zone. That when BadPak pounced, short tacking RIO with a starboard maneuver that sent RIO into Irons. OUCH… BadPak would round Diablo Point with a 45 second advance, But Rio was NOT giving up. A quick Jibeset and Rio was in better current and stronger wind near the North Tower and looked primed to reel them in. The lead, however was just two great, advantage BadPak, giving them the 1st bullet of the regatta.

          Race 2, now at the Treasure Island Course saw The Hand’s bad luck streak continue, receiving a rare OCS at the start and forcing them to give the fleet another advantage. With winds now perking up to the high teens, the fleet worked their way up the Alcatraz cone, moving toward the City Front and the mass of J-105’s short taking along the shoreline in the building ebb. The breeze had switched to a distinctively SW direction and with the ebb, was now in the 25 plus knot range. Between the moving landmine of boats headed west, another fleet of fast moving asymmetrical boats from ORR B were blasting east, living on the edge indeed, the sound of glass vs carbon impact never did occur, amazing in itself.

          The boats arrived at the 1st weather mark, Blackaller with RIO just ahead of Interlodge and The Hand. They set in puffy 20 plus knots in tight formation and had traveled a few hundred yards before chaos took hold. With a loud bang heard for some distance, RIO’s spinnaker tack blew and while attempting to mitigate the kites wild ride, spun out forcing Interlodge to perform an emergency gybe to avoid collision and moments later The Hand had to throw the helm over to avoid collision.

          Amazingly, The Hand benefited greatly, recovering quickly and taking the lead on the long ride down the edge of the Berkeley shoals with Interlodge nipping at their heels. RIO meanwhile would wrestle with their kite for the next few minutes, Allowing BadPak the chance to catch and pass as they worked their way down the course. Rio would get back in control and on her feet, with her and BadPak closing the gap at the leeward mark, and the fleet became unified again!

          A long windward beat back out the Gate to Point Diablo saw the boat stay on the north side in waning food and much lesser winds. They rounded Lime Point in close proximity and were greeted by another blast of 20 plus knot wind and very choppy water. The hand would round 1st with a 5-6 boat length lead over Interlodge and RIO and BadPak in close pursuit. The ride back under the gate and to the finish in front of the StFYC was one to write home about, a full on fire hosing gallup with boats hitting the low 20’s with spray blasting far and wide, and sailors grins even wider…
          The day ends with all boats tied at 5 points each… all in 1st…
          It doesn’t get any tighter or better than this…

          " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

 Photo Gallery


          • #6
            Cant beat September In SF!


            • #7
              I heard there were some other boats racing too.


              • #8
                Say it aint so!

                I could get used to the dockside delivery of joyous cups of cold beer.

                Nicely done!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by solosailor View Post
                  I heard there were some other boats racing too.
                  I'm under contract with the PAC 52 class and have my duties...

                  Took a few frames of others passing by, even a J 105 start with no OCS! But time is limited at this point.

                  Posting the official BBS report as you see above...
                  " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

         Photo Gallery


                  • #10
                    Nice work PB!


                    • #11
                      DAY 2 BBS Official Report

                      SAN FRANCISCO, CA — What goes up must come down, but the flat, fast conditions that greeted sailors at Day One of the 54th edition of the Rolex Big Boat Series, hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, California (September 12-16, 2018), continued on Day Two, following a short postponement to let the breeze gather. But once the starting guns began sounding, racers were rewarded for their pre-racing patience by a flood tide and 10 to 15 knots that built all day. The net result of westerly wind cooperating with tide was long beats juxtaposed with blistering runs, bow spray and big grins aboard the boats that gathered on San Francisco Bay to contest the West Coast’s most prestigious regatta.

                      “It’s been awesome!” says Gary Panariello, skipper of the J/88 Courageous (USA 77), about conditions. “It was a long way upwind—it took days. I needed to shave! But downwind was super quick with the flood tide.”

                      all images ©Daniel Forster/ROLEX

                      San Francisco Bay’s legendary breeze was the gravity that pulled Panariello to the Bay Area from New York City. First in his fleet after four races, he’s clearly adapted well to his new hometown. “If we can just dial up [the wind] it would be awesome!” he says with a smile reflective of the week’s phenomenal conditions and his team’s enviable 2-1-3-1 scorecard. Tied for points with Marc McMorris’ M Squared (USA 75) and only three points ahead of Aya Yamanouchi’s Benny (USA 79169), means he’ll have to keep working to hold his place.

                      “Everyone in the fleet has been having a great time, irrespective of where they are in the fleet,” says Betsy Weiler, who is serving as Panariello’s strategist. “On Day One we finished both races within one boat length of M Squared.”

                      M Squared’s McMorris echos Weiler’s sentiments, even if the two crews are fierce on-the-water rivals. “It’s been lots of fun,” he says. “It’s a great group and great competition. It’s our first year having our own start, which has been terrific.” As for strategy, McMorris is succinct. “Stay fast,” he says with a knowing smile.

                      While the flat waters have been making for long uphill legs for the sailors, the swiftly flooding tides haven’t exactly been making racecourse management easy. Here, however, the StFYC’s highly experienced teams of professionals and volunteers, as well as the father-and-son team of Peter and Anderson Reggio, the event’s Principal Race Officers, have a steady pulse on an otherwise highly complex situation.

                      “No two races are ever the same,” says Anderson Reggio. “That’s what makes it interesting in my mind. StFYC provides a great venue. It’s one of the most well set-up facilities for running an event of this style. The volunteers are amazing, and they provide us with a level of confidence that we can do what we need to. I don’t mean to say the company line, but the quality of the sailors, from the Pac52 class to the largest class—the J/105s—is great and is a testament to time spent sailing on the Bay. You become a hardened person sailing here.”

                      En route to becoming hardened, however, sailors inevitably take their drubbing on the Bay. John Clauser’s One Design 48 Bodacious (USA 48005), sailing in class ORR-A, snapped its rig near the hounds in the day’s second race. That leaves a handful of hardened rivals to duke it out. Today’s racing brought two firsts for Skip Ely’s Santa Cruz 52 Elyxir (USA 28474), two seconds for Dave MacEwen’s Santa Cruz 52, Lucky Duck (USA 28729), and two thirds for Michael Moradzadeh’s Santa Crux 50, Oaxaca (USA 8927), indicating how the ORR-A fleet may shake out. Class ORR-B is currently being controlled by Dorian McKelvy’s J/111 Madmen (USA 17), who is seven points ahead of Daniel Thielman’s Melges 32 Kuai (USA 7676) and 13 points up on Zachery Anderson’s J/125 Velvet Hammer (USA 51517).

                      Despite their moniker, Frank Slootman’s Pac52 Invisible Hand (USA 5202) and his crew are leaving plenty of visible fingerprints on their scorecard, which currently reads 4-1-1-1, putting them first in class followed by Manouch Moshayedi’s Rio (USA 3545) and Tom Holthus’ BadPak (USA 5210). Likewise, Kame Richards’ Golden Moon (USA 18488) continues to dominate the Express 37 class with a posted score of 1-1-1-2, followed by Mark Dowdy’s Stewball (USA 18278) and Jack Peurach’s Elan (USA 87700).

                      Among the stacked J/105 class, after four races, Jeff Littfin’s Mojo (USA 119) is currently sitting in first, followed by Tim Russell’s Ne*Ne (USA 3) and Chris and Phil Perkins’ Good Timin’ (USA 35).

                      While ORR-C may be last on the scratch sheet, alphabetically, this does nothing to lower the competition levels among these talented sailors.

                      “We’re having a very good time, and we’re better prepared this year,” says Gerard Sheridan, skipper of Elan 40 Tupelo Honey (USA 28908), who returned to Rolex Big Boat Series last year after a short hiatus. “We’ve got some new sails, new rigging and we’ve got a couple of new people, but we gelled really quickly into a team. I’ve been happy with the crew work.”

                      When asked if it’s sailing well in an StFYC event or winning a shiny new Rolex for their skipper that serves as the bigger crew incentive, Sheridan laughs. “The latter!” he says. “But win or lose, people really look forward to racing in the Rolex Big Boat Series. It’s the club’s premiere event and everyone wants to race in it, so winning a Rolex would just be the icing on the cake. But participating in the Rolex Big Boat Series—it’s something that we all look forward to each year.” David Halliwill’s J/120 Peregrine (USA 25487) is currently first in the ORR-C class, followed by Stephen Madeira’s J/120 Mister Magoo (USA 28289) and Thomas Furlong’s Club Swan 42 Elusive (USA 4216).

                      Racing is set to continue tomorrow, Saturday September 15, with two more races, followed by Sunday’s single long-course Bay Tour and the 2018 Rolex Big Boat Series awards ceremony on the StFYC’s East Lawn at 1600 hours.

                      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

             Photo Gallery


                      • #12
                        BBS Day 3 Official Report

                        SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Strong airs and freshening white caps greeted the third day of racing at the 54th edition of the Rolex Big Boat Series, hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club. Long uphill bashes in three to four-foot seas and 20 knots, gusting higher, were rewarded with blistering downwind runs and adrenaline-saturated kite rides juiced by a flooding tide.

                        “I’d say these conditions are typical of San Francisco Bay, but the courses are so much longer that it’s testing people’s endurance,” says Jenn Lancaster, StFYC’s Race Director. “We tried to improve the reaching angles on the course for the handicap boats, and it’s been exciting to see them perform. These fleets are really competitive this year.”

                        While there’s no shortage of competitive personalities or inter-class contentions at the Rolex Big Boat Series, a classic rivalry on display is between Skip Ely’s Santa Cruz 52 Elyxir (USA 28474) and Dave MacEwen’s Santa Cruz 52 Lucky Duck (USA 28729) in the ORR-A handicap class. This duel peaked in the 2018 season during the StFYC’s 2018 Aldo Alessio and Phyllis Kleinman Swiftsure Regatta (August 17-19, 2018), when Ely’s crew arrived in Scotch plaid duck hunter’s garb, a cheeky stunt that earned the team the regatta’s best-dressed award, while MacEwen went home with the first place trophy.

                        “They’re our “frenemies,” and they’re awesome people,” says MacEwen about his multi-year contest with Ely and his battle-hardened crew. While this competitive relationship had previously remained a mostly private, inter-boat affair to determine the fastest Santa Cruz 52 on the Bay, it transcended generations today as all ORR-A boats carried a junior sailor aboard for the day’s racing.

                        “The juniors are used to sailing in heavy air, so the conditions weren’t eye-opening, but doing 17-18 knots downwind must have been different,” says MacEwen. When asked about the impetus for returning the elevator to the ground floor, MacEwen explains that he and the other ORR-A owners are simply repaying childhood debts. “We need to encourage the kids to get into big boat sailing,” says MacEwen. “They’re the next generation.” After six races, Ely’s Elyxir is leading the hunt in the ORR-A class, followed by MacEwen’s Lucky Duck and Michael Moradzadeh’s Santa Cruz 50, Oaxaca (USA 8927).

                        The Pac52 class wasn’t taking juniors out sailing, but these cutting-edge monohulls certainly commanded plenty of racecourse attention. “I don’t think that anyone can say that they have sailed a great race in the Pac52 class,” says Gavin Brady, tactician on Invisible Hand (USA 5202), after the regatta’s first four races. “That shows you how tough the Bay can be.”

                        “At most other regattas you spend the first day or two getting a feel for who is fast, but in the Pac52 class it’s all guns blazing from the start,” says Brady. “In the Pac52 class, Invisible Hand and BadPak are more optimized for downwind, whereas Interlodge and Rio are more optimized for upwind sailing. It’s subtle. We even know each other’s tactics.” With two days of bullets, Invisible Hand is topping the four-strong Pac52 leaderboard, followed by Manouch Moshayedi’s Rio (USA 3545) and Tom Holthus’ BadPak (USA 60052)

                        While the 2017 Rolex Big Boat Series saw one additional boat in the mix, according to Brady this hasn’t changed the cutthroat competitive nature of this Grand Prix class. “It’s almost harder this year, because there are less points up for grabs.”

                        Available points are less of an issue in the 28-strong J/105 class, which is the 2018 Rolex Big Boat Series’ largest one-design class. “It’s a little bit of chaos, a little bit of analytical planning and a lot of guts,” says Ian Charles, skipper of the J/105 Maverick (USA 385) about what it’s like to be on the helm on a 28-boat strong Rolex Big Boat Series starting line.

                        When queried about the hardest aspect of driving a J/105 on a racecourse with 27 other identical boats in the West Coast’s most prestigious regatta, Charles, who races with his wife, Natalie, pointed to the entire experience as the crux. “It’s everything,” says Charles. ”You’ve got to have your eyes on everything, the crew, the lines, right-of-way situations, tidal influences—you’ve got to process a lot of information at once.” After three days of racing, he’s sixth in the standings, with Jeff Littfin’s Mojo (USA 119) in the J/105 class’ pole position, followed by Tim Russell’s Ne*Ne (USA 3) and Ryan Simmons’ Blackhawk (USA 40).

                        Competition was also predictably fierce across the Express 37 and J/88 one-design classes, as well as in the ORR-B and ORR-C handicap classes. Kame Richards’ Express 37 Golden Moon (USA 18488) is currently topping the results page, followed by Mark Dowdy’s Stewball (USA 18278) and Sandy Andersen Wertanen’s Eclipse (USA 18495). Among the J/88s, which are enjoying their first Rolex Big Boat Series as a one-design class, Gary Panariello’s Courageous (USA 17) heads into the regatta’s final day in first place, with Aya Yamanouchi’s Benny (USA 79169) and Marc McMorris’ M Squared (USA 75) close astern. In the handicap classes, Dorian McKelvy’s J/111 Madmen (USA 17) dominates ORR-B, followed by Daniel Thielman’s Melges 32 Kuai (USA 7676) and Zachery Anderson’s J/125 Velvet Hammer (USA 51517), while in ORR-C, David Halliwill’s J/120 Peregrine (USA 25487) is commanding headlines, followed by Stephen Madeira’s J/120 Mister Magoo (USA 28289) and Thomas Furlong’s Club Swan 42 Elusive (USA 4216).

                        Racing is set to conclude tomorrow, Sunday, September 16, with one long Bay Tour race, followed by the Rolex Big Boat Series awards ceremony at 1600 hours on the StFYC’s East Lawn.

                        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

               Photo Gallery


                        • #13
                          After a decade + doing this regatta on either J 120’s or Swiftsure I’m going sporty this year on the FT10 it’s been a great 3 days of heavy weather sailing. Long beats against the flood and short screaming runs. Only the bay tour left to go. Booigty,Booigty,Booigty lets go racing.


                          • #14
                            Hell, Hath No Fury Like SF Bay in September

                            Saturday September 15 came in like a Lion and went out with a bang! With a strong residual ebb sucking out of the Bay, and winds ripping in in the 20-25 knot range at the start of play, the awe factor was pegged to the 11 mark on the Spinal Tap volume scale. Picking up where they left off the day before, the PAC 52’s moseyed over to the Alcatraz starting area for a 13.8 nm Course 7 breakfast. A big beat up to Point Diablo, a long run down to 21 just behind Alcatraz, back out the Gate again to Point Diablo and then finish off Treasure Island.

                            Frank Slootman’s Invisible Hand gave the rest of the fleet a head start with the their 2nd uncharacteristic OCS, but quickly jumped back in the game.
                            Manouch Moshayedi’s Team on RIO wasted no time taking advantage of the gift and led the fleet up past Lime Point and out to the weather mark with authority, extending the lead with Austin Fragomen’s Interlodge, Invisible Hand and Tom Holthus’s BadPak all launching into 20 plus knot hoot east towards the leeward mark. RIO would stretch their lead during the next weather leg back out the Gate to Punta Diablo, with The Hand now the closest pursuer, and BadPak now in 3rd with Interlodge dropping back to 4th. The super-fast blast down to the Alcatraz finish yielded no changes, aside from perhaps a huge sigh of relief and some giggles of joy.

                            After a short break in the lee of Alcatraz for a quick bite, a little warmth and big dose of ammonia salts like aroma, the fleet moved east to the Treasure Island start for the 24.3 nm Course 5 Bay Tour. The morning ebb, for the most part had now given way to a building flood, and the temps had not budged from the chilly low 60’s and wind remained brisk. While the flood provides a flatter playing field, it also lengthens the length of the field making the 24.3 mile course feel more like 30.
                            The Hand would take quick command of race 6, with RIO in close pursuit, followed by BadPak and Interlodge as they favor the north side of the Bay and worked their way around Lime Point and back out the Gate. “We visited Point Diablo 4 times today” Frank Slootman would later explain” I think I have seen it enough”! Invisible Hand would round the oft visit Point Diablo in 1st, launching quickly and blasting back in the with RIO then BadPak and Interlodge fallowing suite.

                            That next leg, a monstrous romp down the bay crossed several zip codes before turning back west after rounding mark 4 just north of Treasure Island. The fleet would then return back to Point Cavallo in the same order as before blasting on a power reach to Fort Mason the continuing to Blossom Rock. With one last beat to go, the fleet worked their way west on last time, through the cone of Alcatraz and north toward Harding Rock before working back out the Gate to Point Diablo before getting on final adrenaline rush ride back in, hitting low 20’s on the fun meter and wowing sailing fans awaiting at the St Francis.

                            Invisible Hand would win the race, adding another bullet to their other 3, with Rio taking second, BadPak adding a 4th 3rd to their score card and Interlodge a 4th. The tally sheet for the regatta has Invisible Hand currently in 1st with 10 points, Rio in Second with 15, BadPak in 3rd with 17 and Interlodge in 4th with 19. Racing resumes on Sunday with the one race finale, “Bay Tour” Just what the doctor ordered!


                            " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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                            • #15
                              Day 2 Rolex Big Boat Series: The Hand Is Quicker Than The Eye

                              Friday’s racing on the Bay was greeted with cooler yet colorful weather as an early season weather front rotated offshore pulling in subtropical high elevation clouds from the south, and lower elevation stratus from the north. Racing for the PAC 52 class began off of Treasure Island, with course 14, an 11.5-mile jaunt up to Fort Mason, back to the starting area gates, back to Fort Mason return to the Gates and an upwind finish off the StFYC.

                              With wind in the low teens the fleet engaged in a quick taking duel to the Alcatraz cone, seeking relief from the steady flood. Frank Slootman’s Invisible Hand shot out to an early lead which the protected up the course with Manouch Moshayedi’s RIO, Austin Fragomen’s Interlodge and Tom Holthus’s BadPak in close pursuit. The teams rounded Alcatraz and utilized the windward cone for a short spell before cross the flood and working their way around the temporary mark and setting kites for the quick dash back to the gates off Treasure Island.

                              The Hand refused to relinquish their lead, despite valiant efforts by RIO, Interlodge Badpak. The boats would round the leeward gate in that order in quick fashion and repeat the aforementioned course with little drama yet tight crossings yielding no remarkable lead changes before finishing off the StFYC. The end of Race 3 would have Invisible Hand taking their 2nd bullet of the regatta with RIO taking a 2nd Interlodge in 3rd and BadPak in forth… Yet an infraction protest later would result in a DSQ for RIO.

                              Moving over to the Alcatraz Course for Race 4, the RC set the fleet off course 31, and 18nm mini bay tour that would take the fleet up to a weather mark, back below Alcatraz, then up to Cavolo Cove then down to Treasure Island and then a long beat out the Gate to Point Diablo before a fast reach to the finish off the Race Deck.

                              Things got interesting at the start, with boats from the J 105 fleet attempting to get an early read on the stiff currents at the start combing with a dredge barge working their way towards the pin end. Still the PAC 52’s managed to get off cleanly with westerly’s now in the high teens, they gobble up the 1st weather leg in short order. They arrived at the 1st weather mark in very tight fashion, The Hand perhaps a boat length in the lead, With RIO, Interlodge and BadPak all rounding simultaneously. The stiff current made the rounding even tighter, forcing Interlodge to roll over the mark and giving them some 360 practice.

                              A run back downhill ensued with the Hand and RIO taking the most direct route, a tricky gauntlet through the J-105 starting area, Interlodge opting for a safer but long ride north and BadPak taking a flyer going south around The Rock. When the fleet reunited, The Hand would have a 10 second lead over RIO, 15 second on Interlodge and 30 second on BadPak.

                              RIO would not give in so easy and managed to claw their way back, arriving at the 2nd weather mark off Cavallo Point a few boat lengths ahead of The Hand with Interlodge and BadPak very close behind. A tight reach had the 52’s blasting towards Fort Mason without kites, where a second dredge barge had set up shop, proving additional amusement, combined with a herd of Jet skiers converging simultaneously as the fleet approached. Interlodge, sensing an opportunity, set their kite and bore off, getting around RIO and The Hand momentarily, before the others followed suite, making for a great but short dash for the next mark.

                              A neck and neck battle between The Hand and Interlodge followed as the boats made their way to the last leeward mark, but then things changed drastically. Interlodge bore off and head towards Blossom Rock instead of “7”, a bit of confusion as which course they were on, giving the other boats a gift. The fleet would arrive at “7” at the same time as the Express 37’s and begin the last long uphill beat towards Point Diablo.

                              The ride up was uneventful, save for a fleet of ORR boat running past with theirs kite fully loaded, until the waters off Yellow Bluff where things got very blustery, waking the crews from the long ride on port. The Hand would exit the Gate and round Point Diablo with a sizable lead over RIO and BadPak, which were in a neck and neck battle for 2nd, Interlodge resigned to running sweep for this leg in 4th. A fast run back in under the Gate and The Hand would take their 3rd bullet of the regatta, Rio in second, BadPak in 3rd and Interlodge in 4th.
                              Standings now for the series has Invisible Hand in 1st with 7 points, BadPak and Interlodge tied at 11points each and RIO one point back with 12.
                              " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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