There’s an old adage that it’s best to have a comfortable seat when the music stops. While nobody is overly concerned with creature comforts at an athletic competition, all teams wishing to secure their spot on the starting line of the Rolex Big Boat Series (September 14-17, 2017), hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club, are kindly reminded that the entry-deadline music officially stops on September 6, 2017. Given that St. Francis Yacht Club is expecting 100 teams from around the world, this hard-and-fast entry deadline ensures that the Race Committee can properly execute the west coast’s premier regatta.
Once teams secure their “seat” at this regatta, they can look forward to four days of well-organized racing on San Francisco Bay’s jaw-dropping natural amphitheater, directly in front of the Club. On these waters, Marin County, Alcatraz Island, Angel Island and the Golden Gate Bridge provide the backdrop as Mother Nature tests competitors with a constantly changing set of tidal and meteorological challenges.
“September is the sweet spot for weather,” said Jim Kiriakis, Commodore of St. Francis Yacht Club, who added that while it can get breezy in the afternoon, the Bay rarely delivers “nuclear” conditions in September. “The day develops from morning’s tranquility into a dynamic performance-art project that’s cloaked as a serious competition.”
Others agree. “Nothing comes close to the consistent high-octane conditions provided by late summer on the San Francisco Bay,” said Julian Mann, owner and skipper of the well-sailed C&C 30, Don’t Panic (USA 30026). “Add in the interesting mix of courses and challenging current conditions, and the Rolex Big Boat Series makes for some really exciting sailing.”
While every class is highly competitive at Rolex Big Boat Series, all eyes will be on the newly launched Pac52 class, which will make its Rolex Big Boat Series debut as a one-design class. Six Pac52s are expected to enter by the time the entry-deadline music stops, including Victor Wild’s Fox (USA 55052), Karl Kwok’s Beau Geste (IVB 1997) and Manouch Moshayedi’s Rio (USA 3545).
“It’s massive to have the brand new Pac52 yachts coming to Rolex Big Boat Series in force,” said Commodore Kiriakis. “Classes are living, breathing organisms that shift with technology and momentum, and Pac52s are currently the apex predators of the sportboat food chain.”
In addition to Pac52s and a MOD70, St. Francis Yacht Club’s Rolex Big Boat Series regularly attracts other offshore-worthy sleds including Lorenzo Berho’s Kernan 70 Peligroso (MEX 55555), “fast 50s” including Skip Ely’s Santa Cruz 52 Elyxir (USA 287474), Michael Moradzadeh’s Santa Cruz 50 Oaxaca (USA 8927), and Sy Klienman’s Schumacher 54, Swiftsure (USA 16), plus a spread of Farr 40s, J/120s and Express 37s, and an assortment of turbo-charged PHRF boats such as Melges 32s and C&C 30s.
“For me the C&C 30 is a fun and challenging boat in all conditions, and I find it to be the most rewarding right here at home on the Bay,” said Mann. “In less than 12 knots of breeze we’re a displacement keelboat, in 12-16 knots we’re in a transitional planing mode, and in 16+ knots we’re fully on the step. Anyone who’s familiar with the Bay knows that, come late summer, that means we are consistently planing most every afternoon.”
Likewise, anyone familiar with St. Francis Yacht Club’s entry channel and inner harbor knows that tidal action can backfill it with sand. Good news: the harbor will be dredged in late August to accommodate deep-draft boats at the Rolex Big Boat Series.
While the Bay has a longstanding tradition of delivering great conditions in mid-September, the only guarantees are this: the entry-deadline music will stop on September 6; the event will commence on September 13; St. Francis Yacht Club’s Race Committee will conduct a world-class regatta; and this year’s Rolex Big Boat Series fleet will race for six perpetual trophies, each of which comes with a Swiss-made Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner Chronometer.
Rolex, the leading brand of the Swiss watch industry, is headquartered in Geneva and enjoys an unrivalled 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 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, 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 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.