The Green Road to Rolex Big Boat Series

Meet four boats that are doing triple duty: Transpac, Ocean Clean-Up, Rolex Big Boat Series

By Meredith Laitos, Communications Director

Every year after the Transpac, Hawaii greets competitors with a fabulous celebration. In time, the mais tais deplete and the leis dry up and the sailors are left asking, “What’s next?” For five boats in the fleet, it is a time to swap crew, reprovision, make minor repairs and set their sails from whence they came—California—where they will next race in the Rolex Big Boat Series. Of those five, four are also participating in the Ocean Clean Up, the largest ocean research expedition in history. As these boats sail from one race venue to another, it seems only fitting that they should give back to the ocean that supports their sport.

The Ocean Clean Up’s “Mega Expedition” is comprised of 30 vessels crossing the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in parallel between Hawaii and Los Angeles. The fleet will cover 3,500,000km2, collecting more plastic measurements in three weeks than have been collected in the past 40 years combined. This remarkable mission was instigated by 19-year-old Boyan Slat in 2013. It is the most successful non-profit crowd funding campaign ever, having raised $2.2 million from 38,000 contributors and 160 countries.

Among the cleanup crew are four boats that are bound for Rolex Big Boat Series hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, CA: Patches, Resolute, Varuna, and Timeshaver. Many of these boats provided reports from the Transpac regarding the troubling amount of garbage they encountered while crossing the Pacific.

Transpac winner, and StFYC member, Manouch Moshayedi, aboard Rio100, told the Club, “From California to Hawaii is one continuous trash trail. There is not a moment that you don’t see something in the water. It’s very dangerous—any of this debris could take your rudder or the keel off. We did a number of evasive maneuvers to avoid it and once even backed-down to stop the boat and shed the keel of a fishing net. It’s a real shame.”

At press time, the fleet was mid-way across the Pacific, targeting to reach Los Angeles within a couple of weeks. From there, the handicap racing boats will swiftly make their way north to San Francisco to join in the competition for the 2015 Rolex Big Boat Series. 

Triple Duty

The following boats competed in the Transpac, are cleaning up the Pacific in the Ocean Clean Up, and are racing in the Rolex Big Boat Series: 

Patches, TP52. Finished Transpac 3rd in Division 2, 11th overall

Timeshaver, J/125. Finished Transpac 6th in Division 4

Resolute, J/125. Finished Transpac 2nd in Division 4. Raced double-handed

From owner, Tim Fuller: Our doublehanded Transpac could be summarized in on word: tough. I was relieved to pass the Diamond Head buoy and finish. It was also an emotional moment capped off by my wife who was not going to make the trip to HI, but surprised me. It was a pleasure to sail with my double-handed partner Erik Shampain who has now endured 3 Transpacs with me alone. We mesh together well sailing, and have a great friendship.

I was only in Hawaii for a few days to get back to the mainland to catch up with my family before school started. Those few days getting the boat cleaned up and ready for the delivery to San Francisco were tougher than the race I think! 

Varuna, Rogers 46. Finished Transpac 3rd in Division 4 

From owner, Chris Hemens: This is my 3rd Transpac, 2nd as an owner. I am still learning the boat and improving our sail inventory. We are very pleased with our performance with a 3rd in ORR, and a 2nd in HPR. We sailed with friends and were the only Corinthian Boat in our division. 

Since the race has three starts, all we can do is win our day. Of the 19 boats that started on Thursday, we were 3rd overall. Hamachi (1st in our Division) sailed a spectacular race, and Resolute’s performance (double-handed, 2ndin our Division) was second to none.

We’ve had a great year all around. We finished 1st in class and 1st overall in the 2015 Island Race (NHYC/SDYC) and 1st in class in the 2014 Rum Runner (BYC/SDYC). We spent five days in Hawaii and my skipper is now making the return crossing, taking samples as conditions allow. Our goals for the 2015 Rolex Big Boat Series are to have fun and win our class.

August 15 Early Entry Deadline Approaching 

Saturday, August 15, marks a pivotal day for competitors of the 2015 Rolex Big Boat Series hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club. It is both the deadline for an early-entry discount and the final day for one-design fleets to secure registration. As of press time, 79 boats are entered to race, with the following one-design fleets on target to compete: J/111, J/120, J/125, Melges 24 and J/105. There will also be fleets racing under a variety of ratings, including ORR, PHRF Sportboat and HPR.