What are the critical elements needed to transform a fine sailboat race into a world-class regatta? Great competition, dependable conditions and a beautiful setting certainly help, but to elevate a standard regatta into something bigger than starting lines and turning marks requires a different kind of gravity — one that is organic by nature, steeped in history and organized and conducted in a highly professional manner. Yet even this description misses some critical elements, especially when the regatta is St. Francis Yacht Club’s annual Rolex Big Boat Series (September 14-17, 2017), now preparing for its 52nd edition.

When it comes to determining the fastest guns in the west, Rolex Big Boat Series, hosted by the venerable St. Francis Yacht Club (StFYC), has long served as the left coast’s pivotal proving ground. Of the 40 regattas StFYC hosts each year, Rolex Big Boat Series is the signature event and enjoys a proud 52-year history of testing competitors’ skills in the demanding, rewarding conditions of San Francisco Bay. Registration is now in full swing for the 2017 rendition of the regatta (September 14-17, 2017), and competitors are encouraged to sign up early to ensure their spot on the starting line.

St. Francis Yacht Club is prepared to host another great event, this time welcoming the new glamour class of the Pacific 52s as it arrives on the international racing stage

Six of 11 class winners honored with Rolex watch and perpetual trophy

Veteran racers rely on local knowledge while others rely on outright boatspeed

All photos © Rolex / Daniel Forster

San Francisco Bay serves up classic conditions for veteran racers

All photos © Rolex / Daniel Forster

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