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2019 Big Boat Series: The Heat is ON!!!

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  • 2019 Big Boat Series: The Heat is ON!!!

    A couple high pressure ridges parked themselves over the Pacific to the east and south of the San Francisco Bay Area
    effectively shutting down the seabreeze rushing in through the Golden Gate and across San Francisco Bay for the 1st two days
    of the Rolex Big Boat Series. Only late in the afternoon when the interior valley REALLY heats up is the enough of a vacuum to allow
    for a gentle onward push close to the surface, resulting in a couple hours of 12-16 knot winds. Expect this to last through Friday before
    a low pressure system from the north nudges the high a bit, allowing for much more reliable winds Saturday and Sunday. In the meantime,
    crews will just have to sweat it out until the laissez faire winds oblige....

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA — If nature abhors a vacuum, sailors have detested windless conditions since the days of ancient mariners. Fortunately for the 79 boats gathered on the waters of San Francisco Bay to contest the 55th edition of the St. Francis Yacht Club’s signature Rolex Big Boat Series (September 11-15, 2019)—the West Coast’s most prestigious regatta—there’s (historically) little reason to sing the lack-of-wind blues, given the Bay’s notorious reputation for delivering breeze-on racing. Unfortunately for these same sailors, today delivered one of the Bay’s rare, windless mornings forcing the StFYC’s Race Committee to make the difficult decision to downshift from the day’s two planned races to a single afternoon race, allowing the fleet to press gang the gathering sea breeze into service while dodging the unseasonably warm onshore temperatures enshrouding the city.

    “The forecast is uncharacteristically light this week because of the nice weather,” said Graham Biehl, the StFYC’s Race Director, who explained that, typically speaking, high temperatures in the city equate to light airs on the Bay. “So, we have plans to run shorter races. It’s the reason that we have so many courses to choose from,” he said, adding that he and his team have 43 racecourse permutations available. “We don’t like to shorten courses—this is tricky for the racers—so we choose courses that are on the shorter side.”

    While the AP flag flew for several (atypical) hours from the RC boat, all competitors and organizers understood that the pain was ephemeral.

    “Compared to a lot of other places that lose days to too little wind, too much wind or lightning storms, we have it really good on the Bay,” said Susan Ruhne, Regatta Chair for the 55th edition of the Rolex Big Boat Series. “But I always tell people that days like this are a really good test of a crew’s ability to shift into action when the wind fills in. Good boats are able to just go into race mode so that when the wind fills in, it’s game on.”

    Which is exactly what happened at approximately 1400 hours, local time, when the call was made to send the eight fleets gathered for this high-level regatta on a single race, which started in light airs that gathered to deliver great racing come mid-afternoon.

    While racing was tight across all classes, spectator eyes were riveted to the five-strong Classics class, which is a new addition to this year’s Rolex Big Boat Series. This class is open to vessels that were built before 1955 and measure at least 48’ on their decks. While the regatta’s NOR contains no language requiring the yachts to be visually stunning, all five Classics competing here this week easily tick the “beauty” box, especially as skipper Beau Vrolyk and his crew aboard Mayan (1947), a 59-foot Alden-designed schooner built in 1947, flew a fisherman staysail between their sticks as the long-lined schooner set up for a great start.

    “I’m thrilled that we are finally bringing Classic racing to the highest level on San Francisco,” said Vrolyk. “Our Bay is the best place to race these old beauties, they enjoy strong winds and crush chop.”

    Crushing chop might not have been the game of the day, however Mayan—a yacht that was formerly (and famously) owned and extensively cruised by David Crosby of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young fame—is no stranger to big conditions. “Mayan’s reputation was earned cruising, something she is truly wonderful at,” said Vrolyk. “I think my wife Stacey and I were the first to ever race her. We’ve done our homework to bring Mayan up to speed, but the competition is not only beautiful, it’s fast!”

    While the Classics class enjoys the distinction of being the regatta’s newest class, the venerable Express 37 class, which first competed in the Rolex Big Boat Series in 1990, has the equally proud distinction of having continuously competed in the last 29 editions of this prestigious event.

    “The history of the Express 37 fleet is remarkable and synonymous with the Rolex Big Boat Series history of recent years,” said Shawn Ivie, the owner and skipper of Limitless (USA 18513). “I love the class’ history and pedigree, which why I am an owner today.”

    As for his odds of ending up on the northern border of the results page come Sunday’s award ceremony, Ivie, who has won his fair share of sailboat races but who’s only competed in one previous edition of the Rolex Big Boat Series, was realistic. “The competition is stiff in the Express 37 class,” he continued. “My shipmates and I will be racing against Kame Richards’ Golden Moon, Bartz Schneider’s Expeditious, and Jack Peurach’s Elan; all have over 10-plus years of experience racing San Francisco Bay. The learning curve is huge!”

    Once the sea breeze finally arrived, the Race Committee selected courses that were heavy on tactical challenges but relatively shy on miles. This smart move ensured great racing on an afternoon when the ebbing tide opposed the westerly breeze, making for sluggish upwind and downwind legs. For the Classics, this meant starting off the StFYC’s beautiful Race Deck and sailing an 8.8-mile course between the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. Mayan was first to cross the finish line, just edging past fellow Classics Ocean Queen and Water Witch. Terry Klaus’ Brigadoon (888) took first place, followed by Vrolyk’s Mayan (1947) and Dewey Hines’ Ocean Queen (USA 177), the latter being a yacht that competed in the inaugural 1964 edition of the Rolex Big Boat Series.

    For the Express 37s, this meant an 11.3-mile course starting on the Alcatraz racing area and featuring a downwind finish in front of the Race Deck. Kame Richards’ Golden Moon (USA 18488) had the honor of racking up the Express 37 class’ first picket. Golden Moon was followed across the finishing line by Bartz Schneider’s Expeditious (USA 18478) and Jack Peurach’s Elan (USA 87700).

    “We always say that, while we can’t conrol the weather, we can deliver world-class race course management,” said Ruhne. “Today was a great example of this. We didn’t like skipping the day’s first race, but it was worth it to ensure fair and even racing across the Bay.”

    Racing continues tomorrow, Friday, September 13, with the day’s first guns slated to sound at 1100 hours. The weather forecast is calling for even warmer onshore temperatures, but with San Francisco Bay’s ability to deliver afternoon sea breezes and the StFYC’s earned reputation for delivering great race course management, racers can plan on exercising patience before quickly pivoting into race mode when the wind gods finally relent.

    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  • #2
    Scorcher today!

    May not get a race off!


    • #3

      The RC did a great job of waiting it out Thursday and Friday got in 1 race each day. Saturday was back to normal with 2 races and bits of broken 105’s scattered across the bay. Bring on the bay tour!!

      Photo credit Tone Cinn
      Last edited by war dog; 09-15-2019, 07:41 AM. Reason: Felt like it


      • #4
        The 12th Man Kite Takes On SF Bay

        The Crew of Express 37' Spindrift V sporting their new bullet proof "12th Man Kite" demonstrate a variety of non conventional methods of deployment....

        Apparently, the wind gods of San Francisco Bay, Home of the 5 time World Champion 49ers were not impressed....

        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

 Photo Gallery


        • #5
          3 In Report: RBBS Concludes In Fin Fashion

          SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Generally speaking, Fridays that fall on the 13th don’t enjoy a strong reputation for events unfurling smoothly, and when it coincides with hot, onshore temperatures in San Francisco, the situation on the Bay can become light, patchy, or even downright breathless. Such was the case today for the 79 yachts and crews that have gathered at St. Francis Yacht Club to contest the 55th edition of Rolex Big Boat Series (September 11-15, 2019). The morning dawned bright, blue and warm, with barely a cat’s paw aggravating the Bay. While this certainly wasn’t the lucky start that many competitors were hoping for at a regatta that does not drop races, the day’s silver lining was a weather forecast that promised breeze by mid-afternoon. The AP flag remained hoisted with sailors idling ashore until 1400 hours, when enough sea breeze arrived to allow the race committee to score a single race.

          “The high temperatures ashore make it difficult to run races,” said Graham Biehl, StFYC’s Race Director, noting that today played out much like the first day of racing at this high-level event, with a single—albeit high-quality—race scored in all eight fleets. “But the good news is that Saturday and Sunday look to be typical San Francisco Bay conditions.”

          Competitors made the most of the onshore postponement, but perhaps no crew earned as many style points as some members of skipper Dave MacEwen’s Santa Cruz 52 Lucky Duck (USA 28729), who took turns cruising past the clubhouse riding a surfboard towed astern a power yacht flying the team’s colors.

          all pics © Rolex 2019 RBBS

          Once the AP flag dropped, however, all tomfoolery ceased and the Rolex Big Boat Series race-faces emerged from dry storage. This was especially evident in the ORR handicap classes, which saw action on the Alcatraz Island starting area sailing a 10.1 nautical mile course, specifically selected from StFYC’s library of 43 different Rolex Big Boat Series courses based on its modest distance.
          “Last year we lost our mast in race four,” said Bobbi Tosse, who is serving as navigator aboard John Clauser’s One Design 48 Bodacious+ (USA 48005). “It seems that each prior year there has been something we broke that took us out of trophy contention. So, this year our hopes are to have fun and not break anything major!” Bodacious+ was fortunately spared any Friday the 13th calamities, but Tosse was clear about what he and his fellow shipmates are up against in the highly competitive ORR-A class. “As far as I can see looking at the crew lists, we're the only ORR-A boat without any professional, Group 3 sailors,” he said. “We’re all Group 1, and we plan on prevailing using old age and guile.”

          While a smart tactic for Bodacious+, other boats in the ORR-A class have different ambitions for the regatta. “The boat is brand new,” said Ashley Perrin, a veteran Rolex Big Boat Series competitor and captain aboard Gregory Dorn’s Dehler 46 Favonius (USA 38125), which is making her Rolex Big Boat Series debut. “We’re a young campaign so it would be great to have a steady improvement of results over the series, and being in the top one-third of the fleet would be really great.”

          As for the curveballs that Mother Nature has been throwing at the 2019 fleets, Perrin made it clear that she doesn’t blame the dearth of wind on the calendar date. “The conditions can vary dramatically at the Rolex Big Boat Series and it’s always satisfying if you can sail well in light air and heavy air.”

          Skip Ely’s Santa Cruz 52 Elyxir (USA 28474) corrected out on top of Ray Paul’s Swan 53 Blue (USA 61522) and Lucky Duck in ORR-A and, after a total of two races, Blue sits in first place overall, followed by Favonius and Elyxir.

          Competition was likewise plenty stiff in ORR-B. “It’s a competitive fleet and the boats are exciting, with sport boats and sport-boat-like boats, so it attracts some great talent,” said Rich Jepsen, who is serving as vice president of US Sailing and as tactician aboard Dick Swanson’s J/111 Bad Dog (USA 103). “We’re an amateur crew, so we’ll be happy to stay in contact with the best boat, which I think will be Kuai, the Melges 32, and there’s another J/111 that we spar with, Swift Ness.”

          Staying in the hunt is also the name of the game aboard Flying Jenny (USA 24), skipper Sandra Askew’s brand-new IC37. Unlike most of the ORR-B fleet, the 2019 edition of StFYC’s signature Rolex Big Boat Series marks a series of firsts for Askew, including her first time racing on the Bay. “My crew is very competitive and we want to do well but it’s a brand-new boat and this is our first regatta with her, so we’re excited to see how she goes against the other boats in the fleet.”

          Once the finishing guns fell silent and the handicap corrections applied to finishing times, Daniel Thielman’s Kuai (USA 7676) delivered the day’s best ORR-B performance, followed by Paul Dorsey’s Soto 30 Gentoo (USA 001) and Mark Kennedy’s Melges 32 Nuckelavee (USA 174). This puts Kuai in first place overall for ORR-B, followed by Gentoo and Nuckelavee.

          C lags behind A and B alphabetically, but this does nothing to diminish the level of competition in the ORR-C class, which is competing for the StFYC’s prestigious Richard Rheem Perpetual Trophy and one of the regatta’s four coveted Rolex timepieces.


          “The ORR-C class competition always changes a little each year,” said Thomas Furlong, skipper of the Swan 42 Elusive (USA 4216). “There are always well-sailed boats in the class. Some of these boats have proven themselves in Bay conditions, and, as well-sailed boats that are optimized to the Bay’s challenging conditions, they’re stiff competition.”

          Others agree. “We’ve got two very competitive J/120s and a SunFast 3600 that’s well-sailed,” said Gerard Sheridan, skipper of the Elan 40 Tupelo Honey (USA 28908), about this year’s ORR-C class. “And it’s nice to see the new addition of Raven, Brice Dunwoodie’s C&C 115—they’re welcome in the fleet, and they’re pretty fast downwind.”

          When asked about his thoughts on racing sailboats on a rather inauspicious calendar date, Sheridan made clear that he would happily sail offshore with bunches of bananas aboard. “I’m not superstitious at all,” he said with a smile. “If someone wants to believe, maybe they can make that work for or against them, but I don’t believe it!” After all, it should be noted that Sheridan and crew blew up their kite yesterday, Thursday the 12th, not Friday the 13th.

          All told, Elusive proved to be the quickest horse around ORR-C’s course, followed by Barry Lewis’ J/120 Chance (USA 28484) and David Halliwill’s J/120 Peregrine (USA 25487). Big-picture, Peregrine is perched in first place overall, followed by Chance and Elusive.

          Racing continues tomorrow, Saturday, September 14, with two planned races and a significantly improved forecast, followed by Sunday’s scheduled long-form Bay Tour course.


          The Breeze Is Back at the Third Day
          of the 2019 Rolex Big Boat Series

          SAN FRANCISCO, CA — After two days of light-air racing, Mother Nature finally flipped the fun switch on day three of the 2019 Rolex Big Boat Series, giving all 79 competing teams the kinds of big-air grins that make San Francisco Bay a truly world-class sailing venue. The unseasonably warm conditions that plagued the first two days at this Grand Prix-level regatta mercifully gave way to cooler temperatures and a solid 10-knot sea breeze on the Bay that built during the day’s two races. By the time the Race Committee’s finishing gun fell silent, gusts of 25+ knots were reported by the Golden Gate Bridge.

          “The breeze came back!” said Graham Biehl, StFYC’s Race Director, the relief from the last two days of AP flags and wind holds visible on his now-happy face. “Thankfully the forecast materialized and we got in two races in a row.”

          While breeze-on conditions are especially helpful to the heavily ballasted Classics class and the larger ORR-A and ORR-B boats, the same relief visible on Biehl’s face was evident on the expressions of J/70, J/88 and J/105 sailors, all of whom were more than happy to abandon their cerebral, light-air skills for the kind of heart-pounding, adrenaline-filled downhill rides that draw these One Design teams to this regatta, year-on-year.

          “The Rolex Big Boat Series is a World Championship qualifier for the 2020 J/70 Worlds, and it’s good to see a big fleet,” said Biehl. The winning Open and Corinthian J/70 teams will both receive berths to the 2020 J/70 Worlds (July 27-August 2, 2020), which is being hosted by the California Yacht Club in Marina Del Rey, California. “We haven’t seen much J/70 action on the Bay since the 2016 Worlds, which we hosted at StFYC, so it’s good to see them lining up again.”

          Christy Usher, co-owner and co-skipper of Christine Robin (USA 898), explained that while some J/70 teams competing at 2019 Rolex Big Boat Series have already qualified for the 2020 Worlds, their prize berths transfer to the next fastest finisher if an already-qualified team wins top honors in either the Corinthian or Open divisions. “No mercy is being shown out there,” said Usher, adding that every J/70 team entered the regatta to win, plain and simple. “Everybody wants to go to next year’s Worlds because it’s local—there’s no hassle of traveling to Europe or the East Coast, so these berths are first and foremost in everyone’s minds.”

          Scott Sellers, one of three owners of 1FA (USA 534), which is one of five Corinthian entries amongst the 14-strong J/70 fleet, reemphasized what makes late-summer sailing on the Bay so special. “Tight competition and screaming spinnaker runs all over the Bay are the most memorable parts of Big Boat Series,” said Sellers. Harrison Turner, another one of 1FA’s co-owners, agrees. “This venue is one of the most unique in the world that always delivers high quality racing,” said Turner. “It takes a lot of local knowledge to sail the Big Boat Series…it really places a premium on doing your homework and drawing on previous BBS experiences.”

          John Brigden’s Cool Story Bro. (USA 369) beat Usher’s Christine Robin and Chris Kostanecki’s Jennifer (USA 370) across the line for the day’s first race, with a repeat performance during the day’s second race, besting Peter Cameron’s Kangaroo Jockey (USA 29), followed by Christine Robin. After a total of four races, Cool Story Bro. tops the J/70 class leaderboard, followed by Christine Robin and 1FA.

          While the J/88 class isn’t wrestling for berths to their Worlds, they are competing for top bragging rights in their second running as a One Design class at the West Coast’s most competitive regatta.

          “We definitely feel the pressure, every other team has been working hard to come get us,” said Gary Panariello, skipper of Courageous (USA 77) and the 2018 winner of a Rolex timepiece and the Richard Rheem Perpetual Trophy, which honors the memory of former StFYC member Richard Rheem and his crew aboard Morning Star, which broke the Transpac Record twice—first in 1949, then again in 1953.

          Still, experiencing pressure and having fun are by no means mutually exclusive entities.

          “The best part of racing at the Rolex Big Boat Series is the wildly varying conditions,” said Panariello. “Breeze on and more on, water flowing in every direction, heavy metal moving down through the middle of the race course and lots and lots of boats trying hard to get to the same spot.” And then there’s the matter of managing sight lines and real-time tactics while negotiating a six-strong fleet of identical boats. “Driving the boat downwind in big breeze is super exciting,” continued Panariello. “The big challenge driving is that it's hard to see anything other than the big kite! You need to have great faith that the crew is keeping all eyes out of the boat.”

          Sadly, faith didn’t keep Steve Gordon’s Inconceivable (USA 9) mast vertical during the day’s second race, as the fleet got pounded by heavy conditions on the inside of the Golden Gate Bridge. But, looking outside of the lifelines helped Courageous out-sail David Britt’s Split Water (USA 78) and Jeremy Moncada’s Juno (USA 20) to take the day’s first bullet, while Split Water claimed top honors in second race, followed by Courageous and Jim Hopp’s White Shadow (USA 23). Big-picture, today’s results see White Shadow leading the hunt in the J/88 class, followed by Split Water and Courageous.

          Meanwhile, amongst the 23-strong J/105 class – the regatta’s largest One Design class and racing for StFYC’s Commodore’s Cup perpetual trophy and accompanying Rolex timepiece – competition was as stiff as ever. This began with the day’s first starting line sparring in the Treasure Island starting area, and it continued through two races to culminate in a series of fast, close, downwind finishes off of the StFYC’s Race Deck.

          “It was really interesting and variable out there today,” said Ryan Simmons, skipper of Blackhawk (USA 40), who reported seeing a puff of 30 knots when they were just to the east of the Golden Gate Bridge. “By the second leg of the second race we were seeing winds in the mid-20s, with bigger puffs. Driving was very intense and was all about turning down in the puffs.”

          Blackhawk’s crew proved they are equally adept at winning in a breeze as they are in the light stuff by taking the bullet in the day’s first race. Blackhawk was joined across the finishing line by Ian Charles’ Maverick (USA 385) and Phillip Laby’s Godot (USA 44), finishing the first race in second and third places, receptively. In the second race, Tim Russell’s Ne*Ne (USA 003) earned the win, followed by Blackhawk and Rolf Kaiser’s Donkey Jack (USA 26). After four races, Blackhawk leads the chase in the J/105 class, followed by Ne*Ne and Jeff Littfin’s Mojo (USA119).

          Sadly for the crews of Phillip Laby’s Godot (USA 44), Steven Gordon’s Inconceivable (USA 9) and William Woodruff and Sergey Lubarsky’s Russian Roulette (USA 85), the gusty conditions during the second race proved stronger than their rigs, which succumbed to classic West Coast air loading. Thankfully, no injuries were reported at press time, however, there’s no question that this mishap will sadly prove detrimental to both teams’ hopes of seeing their names etched onto the Commodore’s Cup.

          Racing continues tomorrow, Sunday, September 15, with a scheduled Bay Tour course designed to give crews plenty of opportunities to air-out their upwind and downwind inventories one final time.

          Final Day Report

          San Francisco, CA (September 15, 2019) – Cool onshore temperatures, ebbing fog, flooding waters and a gathering sea breeze greeted the 79 teams gathered on San Francisco Bay to contest the final day of racing at the 55th edition of the St. Francis Yacht Club’s annual Rolex Big Boat Series.

          Despite a slow start to the regatta, courtesy of higher-than-usual onshore temperatures earlier in the week, today’s longer-form Bay Tour course gave teams a chance to whip their horses around the racecourse one last time.

          Given the regatta’s historic run, it’s not surprising that many StFYC members pride themselves on racking up a deep Rolex Big Boat Series resume. “The regatta’s culture has changed as the general culture has evolved,” said Steve Taft, who is celebrating his 45th Rolex Big Boat Series this year by serving as tactician aboard Dave MacEwen’s Santa Cruz 52, Lucky Duck (USA 28729).

          “Back in the day, there was more tradition than now, but you had more tradition in society back then. It’s about keeping up with the times—it’s not like you’re going back in time 30 years when you come sail this regatta.”

          This evolution was especially obvious when one considers the high-level, high-performance racing on the Bay this week. “The sport has evolved and sailors are evolving with it,” continued Taft.

          “Sailing culture changes a little bit every year, and the sailors change a little bit, but I always look forward to getting together with friends from all over the country at the Rolex Big Boat Series. Everybody looks forward to racing on San Francisco Bay.”

          Others agree. “As regatta chair, I respect the regatta’s history and continually look for ways to improve and to continue to deliver the West Coast’s best, most competitive regatta,” said Susan Ruhne, Regatta Chair for the 55th edition of the Rolex Big Boat Series.

          “For example, this year we brought in the Classics class, and we continued developing ORR to make the handicap rule work better for our competitors on San Francisco Bay. And we continued to enjoy strong and faithful participation in the One Design classes.”

          While racing was tight across all classes, there’s no question that the five-strong Classic class commanded plenty of optical attention during the four days of racing.

          “A great addition this year is the Classics,” said Paul Cayard, two-time Olympian and StFYC’s Chairman of the Board, who sailed aboard Dewey Hines’ Rhodes 54, Ocean Queen (USA 177). “We’ve finished overlapped practically every race. It’s really good competition.”

          Stiff competition was a constant across all classes competing, however, four classes—ORR-A, ORR-B, ORR-C, and the J/105s—had the special honor of racing for StFYC’s perpetual trophies and accompanying Rolex Submariner Date timepieces; the winners of the J/70s, J/88s, Express 37s, and Classics were competing for dockside credibility and class honors.

          After five races, Skip Ely and his Santa Cruz 52 Elyxir (USA 28474), racing in the ORR-A, won the St. Francis Perpetual Trophy, which was first awarded at the 1964 inaugural Rolex Big Boat Series, and its attending Rolex.

          It’s Ely’s second Rolex Big Boat Series timepiece in as many years. Elyxir was followed across the ORR-A class’ metaphorical finish line by Ray Paul and his Swan 53-2, Blue (USA 61522), and Gregory Dorn and his Dehler 46 Favonius (USA 38125).

          ORR-B sailors raced for The City of San Francisco Trophy, which consists of one of the golden spades used during the 1933 groundbreaking ceremony for the Golden Gate Bridge. After a total of five races and zero drops, Daniel Thielman and his Melges 32 Kuai (USA 7676) earned a new Rolex timepiece for their skipper, plus their name on trophy.

          Kuai staved-off stiff advances from Zachery Anderson and his J/125 Velvet Hammer (USA 51517) and Paul Dorsey and his Soto 30 Gentoo (USA 001) who finished second and third, respectively.

          ORR-C sailors exchanged serious nautical fisticuffs en route to determining the winner of the Richard Rheem Perpetual Trophy, which honors the memory of former StFYC member Richard Rheem and Morning Star, which twice broke the Transpac Record (1949 and 1953).

          Thomas Furlong and his Swan 42 Elusive (USA 4216) successfully negotiated San Francisco Bay’s tide-riven waters to earn an engravement on this perpetual trophy, as well as its accompanying Rolex. Barry Lewis and his J/120 Chance (USA 28484) and David Halliwill and his J/120 Peregrine (USA 25487) finished in second and third places.

          StFYC’s Commodore’s Cup is awarded to the regatta’s largest One Design fleet, an honor that once again falls to the 23-strong J/105 class. Ryan Simmons and his Blackhawk (USA 40) crew showcased their big-fleet-management skills to win this proud trophy and accompanying Rolex timepiece; they were joined on top of the J/105 class’ leaderboard by Tim Russell and crew of Ne*Ne (USA 003) and Jeff Littfin and his Mojo (USA 119) squad. Simmons’ father, Scooter, also won an StFYC perpetual trophy aboard Blackhawk in 2011.

          While these four classes competed for perpetual trophies and timepieces, the racing was just as tough in other classes. For example, the J/70 class saw 14 boats on the starting lines, making it the regatta’s second-largest One Design class.

          John Brigden and his Cool Story Bro. (USA 369) demonstrated regatta-winning strategy and skills to take home the top prize in this popular class. Cool Story Bro. was joined on the top of the J/70 results page by Scott Sellers, Harrison Turner and Geoff McDonald’s 1FA (USA 534) and Tracy and Christy Usher and their Christine Robin (USA 898).

          Additionally, the top Corinthian and Open J/70 teams at this year’s Rolex Big Boat Series also competed for berths at the 2020 J/70 Worlds in Los Angeles, CA. 1FA and Cool Story Bro. emerged as the Corinthian and Open winners; however, because 1FA already earned their Corinthian berth, this slot will go to Tracy and Christy Usher’s Christine Robin.

          The J/88 made its Rolex Big Boat Series debut in 2018, and the newly launched class returned this year with even more polished skills and tactics, not to mention racecourse strategies honed during last year’s regatta. Ultimately, David Britt and his Split Water (USA 78) took first-place honors, followed by Gary Panariello and his Courageous (USA 77) crew and Jim Hopp and White Shadow (USA 23), who took home second- and third-place finishes.

          The venerable Express 37 class has been a true staple of the Rolex Big Boat Series since their 1990 debut, and—as always—the class featured tight racing and well-choreographed maneuvers. While the class’ mark-roundings were congested, Kame Richards and his Golden Moon (USA 18488) emerged after five races with the lowest number of points to take first place. Bartz Schneider and his Expeditious (USA 18478) and Jack Peurach and his Elan (USA 87700) completed the Express 37’s top-placed trifecta.

          Finally, while all of the Classic yachts competing in the Rolex Big Boat Series were built before 1955, 2019 marks the first time that these elegant ladies have raced in this prestigious regatta. All told, five yachts ranging in size from 50 feet to 59 feet contested this year’s regatta, with Terry Klaus and his 50-foot Herreshoff-designed schooner Brigadoon (888) taking top prize.

          Beau and Stacey Vrolyk and their 59-foot Alden-designed schooner Mayan (1947) and Ocean Queen completed the winner’s circle, but it’s fair to say that all sailed away richer for the experience of having watched these elegant ladies pressing their canvas and leaded ballast against San Francisco Bay’s tide and breeze.

          While all racers care about their results, they also care about sailing on clean, plastic-free water, and StFYC took some significant steps to make their signature regatta a significantly more sustainable event.

          “I was proud that the StFYC received Sailors for the Sea’s Platinum-level status for this year,” said Ruhne. “Seeing refillable water-bottles and the West Marine-sponsored water bottle stations was great. We significantly reduced the amount of single-use plastic waste at this regatta, which is a win-win situation for everybody involved.”

          Racing was held from September 12 to 15.

          " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

 Photo Gallery


          • #6
            That wasn't Andy's 1st rodeo!


            • #7
              A Select Selection Part A

              A handful of frames from the back end of Saturday's shooting. Got a good day with wind from the start and the finger fog
              retreating late in the day and the wind picking up with a generous ebb building late. ORR A exited the gate and the fog mad another push
              back in, and on its leading edge, a strong 25-30 southwest pressure, then suddenly in center of bay, it lightened, but came back with a vengeance
              and that's when all hell broke loose with wipeouts a plenty and several dismastings...

              " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

     Photo Gallery


              • #8
                Never have seen Lucky Duck so lit!


                • #9

                  More fun than a Mike Yastrzemski Homer at Fenway!

                  " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

         Photo Gallery


                  • #10
                    Classic BBS conditions, hot one day and howling the next!