FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- Winter might still be exerting its chilly influence over most of the country, but an undeniable harbinger of the coming sailing season arrived on February 18 when St. Francis Yacht Club, in San Francisco, California, posted the Notice of Race and began accepting entries for its annual Rolex Big Boat Series. The event, now in its 55thedition, is raced on the waters of San Francisco Bay from September 11-15, 2019 and is widely regarded as the one of the world’s most competitive and prestigious keelboat regattas, thanks to the breeze-on sailing, world-class racecourse management, iconic venue and the chance to win a Swiss-made Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner Chronometer and other take-home trophies. Not surprisingly, Rolex Big Boat Series consistently attracts the West Coast’s best sailors and fastest boats since its inaugural event in 1964, and 2019 promises to be one of the most competitive regattas to date.
“Last year we saw 28 J/105s on their own starting line, and the J/88 class made their Rolex Big Boat Series debut,” says Susan Ruhne, Regatta Chair. “Plus, there was great Grand Prix action in the Pac52 class and super-close handicap racing in the three ORR classes. The Express 37 class, which has long been one of the backbones of this regatta, saw just a single point separating the first- and second-place finishers.”
Over the years, StFYC’s Rolex Big Boat Series has amassed a well-earned reputation for breeze-on sailing and long courses that test each team’s level of boat preparation, fitness and training. Racing takes place on two sections of the Bay—the Treasure Island starting area and the Alcatraz starting area—and the Race Committee splits each class’ time between these two starting lines in order to test each teams’ speed and boat-handling skills in all tides, currents and wave patterns.
StFYC’s Rolex Big Boat Series is open to all One Design boats in the Pac52, J/125, J/105, J/88 and Express 37 classes. Any class with six entries by August 1, 2019, will receive their own One Design start. One Design classes that fail to reach this critical mass will be welcome to race in the regatta’s ORR classes, alongside mono-hulls greater than 35’ LOA with a current fully or partially measured ORR certificate.
J/70s are invited with a minimum of 15 boats registered by August 1, 2019. “We’re excited to bring back the J/70s as a One Design class,” says Ruhne. “In 2016 they were there largest One Design fleet to compete, qualifying for the Commodore’s Cup Perpetual Trophy. Since then, the West Coast J/70 fleet has been building in anticipation of their 2020 Worlds held in Southern California.” The top Corinthian and top professionally-crewed J/70 teams at the 2019 Rolex Big Boat Series will both win berths to the 2020 J/70 Worlds.
As any honest stockbroker will admit, “past performance is no guarantee of future results,” and this certainly applies to San Francisco’s world-famous wind machine. Seasoned Rolex Big Boat Series veterans know mid-September is a magical time of sunny, post-summer-fog racing typically defined by light morning winds building to 15-28 knots by afternoon. Irrespective of conditions, says Ruhne, StFYC has world-class racecourse-management skills, allowing them to conduct great racing in all conditions.
While handicap racing is a longstanding pursuit, it takes time for new rules to become well understood by the sailing community and the Offshore Rating Rule, or ORR, is no different. In an effort to help Rolex Big Boat Series competitors better understand this handicap system, StFYC is hosting handicap guru Jim Teeters at the clubhouse on February 20, 7-9pm, for a presentation and to answer questions. “We’re the only club in Northern California that’s really using ORR, and there are a lot of misunderstandings about the rule,” says Ruhne. “We’re trying to be as open and helpful to our competitors as we can be.” The session is free and open to any sailors interested in attending.
Provided that Mother Nature cooperates, StFYC will conduct a total of seven races, with two races per day for the first three days of racing, followed by Sunday’s longer Bay Tour course, featuring a grand-finale finishing line just off of StFYC’s clubhouse.
Registration for this West Coast classic is now open, and teams that enter prior to June 1 will enjoy reduced pricing. Standard pricing applies to teams that enter between June 2 - July 31.
Rolex and Yachting - A natural and supportive partner
Rolex has always sought to associate with activities driven by passion, excellence, precision and team spirit, naturally gravitating towards the elite world of yachting and forming an alliance that dates to the late 1950s. Today, Rolex is Title Sponsor of 15 major international events; from leading offshore races, such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Rolex Middle Sea Race and the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race, through to the highest-level grand prix competition at the Rolex TP52 World Championship and spectacular gatherings at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Swan Cup. The Swiss watchmaker’s close partnerships with the most prestigious yacht clubs around the world, including the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (Italy), New York Yacht Club (United States), the St. Francis Yacht Club (United States) and the Royal Yacht Squadron (Cowes, United Kingdom), are the foundation of its enduring relationship with this spectacular sport.
About St. Francis Yacht Club
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, the StFYC 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 from 2012-2018, and Boardroom Magazine recognized it as the first yacht club to be a Distinguished Emerald Club of the World.
Sailors for the Sea
All of the regattas hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club meet or exceed Gold Level Clean Regatta status from Sailors for the Sea, the world's only sustainability certification for water-based events. St. Francis Yacht Club utilizes a voluntary, self-assessment tool to benchmark its environmental footprint with goals for reducing waste generated by events and continuously improving the long-term sustainability of the club and the environment.