Rolex Big Boat Series Boosted by One-Design Classes

SAN FRANCISCO – The early entry deadline is less than one month away for the 52nd Rolex Big Boat Series hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club. Of the 47 boats currently entered to race September 15–18, there is a strong showing of emerging one-design classes including the J/70 Class and the C&C 30 Class, which have nine and six boats registered, respectively. Additional one-design classes invited to compete include the Express 37, Farr 40, J/111, J/120 and J/105. The regatta will also conduct starts for boats racing under a variety of rating rules.

“The J/70 Class has become popular because of its ease of use. It’s easy to trailer, easy to launch and requires only a crew of three to race,” said regatta chairperson Susan Ruhne. “The C&C 30 Class is a bit larger at 30 feet, but also has become popular because it has a big-boat feel and offers close racing. We’re excited to host both of these classes.”

Because the J/70 Class World Championship follows this year’s Rolex Big Boat Series by one week, Ruhne expects more of the popular 22-footers to enter. Chris Kostanecki (Ross, Calif.), owner of the J/70 Jennifer, has already signed up and expects up to 40 J/70s will be on the line at the world-renowned regatta.

“I think this year will be particularly dynamic and exciting,” said Kostanecki. “The J/70 Class is using it as a warm-up for Worlds, so all of the top teams should be there.”

Kostanecki says the varied conditions of San Francisco Bay make the regatta a unique challenge. “It’s so much fun; it’s different than any other race,” said Kostanecki. “You’ve got racing along the City front, and the conditions can be gnarly. Sometimes they work against you and sometimes to your advantage, but it’s what makes it such a unique regatta. It’s always one of my favorites of the year.”

While Kostanecki has raced the Rolex Big Boat Series many times, James Madden (Newport Beach, Calif.), owner of the C&C 30 Stark Raving Mad VIII, entered for the first time. The private equity trader has heard a lot about the regatta from his crews over the years but this is the first year his work schedule has allowed him to enter.

“I have always wanted to do it,” said Madden. “I haven’t heard it’s easy. I’ve heard it’s fun, challenging, a fantastic venue and a well-run regatta. I’ve heard the conditions can be challenging. I’ve heard the race committee does good job and the racing is fair, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Madden has owned a series of race boats ranging from 40 to 60 feet, but the C&C 30 is the smallest he’s owned. “I wanted a boat that planes, a sport boat and one that had the upside of class development,” said Madden. “The C&C 30 has a good designer [Mark Mills of Ireland] and a good builder [US Watercraft of Rhode Island]. I got hull number 20, so I had confidence the class would be successful. And it’s been everything promised. It’s a handful, but fast, exciting and challenging. It’s a ton of fun.”

As many as eight C&C 30s are expected to enter and Madden is one of several owners who will ship their boat west after the C&C 30 One-Design North American Championship at New York Yacht Club Race Week Presented by Rolex in Newport, R.I., July 13-16.

All owners are encouraged to enter by the August 1 early entry deadline. Entries received after August 1 will be subject to a late entry fee. For more information visit the Rolex Big Boat Series website.


For more information contact:

Meredith Laitos, Communications Director, St. Francis Yacht Club, 415-820-3706
Carla Uzel, Public Relations Manager, Rolex U.S.A., 212-758-7700



Rolex, the leading brand of the Swiss watch industry, is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and enjoys an unrivaled reputation for quality and expertise the world over. Its Oyster watches, all certified as Superlative Chronometers for their precision, performance and reliability, are symbols of excellence, elegance and prestige. Founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1905, the brand pioneered the development of the wristwatch and is at the origin of numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism invented in 1931. Rolex has registered over 400 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated and independent manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces all the essential components of its watches in-house, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, sports, exploration, the spirit of enterprise, and the environment through a broad palette of sponsoring activities as well as philanthropic programs

About the St. Francis Yacht Club

The St. Francis Yacht Club was founded in 1927 and has been host to many of the most prestigious national and international championships in sailing. With over 40 regattas on its calendar annually, St. Francis Yacht Club is widely regarded as having one of the top racing and race management programs in the country. In addition to enjoying a worldwide reputation for on-water excellence, Platinum Clubs of the World named the St. Francis Yacht Club the Number One Yacht Club in the United States in 2012, 2014 and 2016; and Boardroom Magazine recognized it as the first yacht club to be a Distinguished Emerald Club of the World.