Wild Oats XI near finish (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
|DOUBLE TRIPLE WITH ICING ON THE TOP
|Robert Oatley’s Wild Oats XI was announced this morning as the Overall Winner of the 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart. It had become clear overnight that none of the yachts still at sea could better the corrected time established by the 30.48m (100 foot) maxi skippered by Mark Richards. Wild Oats XI has repeated its historic performance of 2005, when it secured the treble of Line Honours, Overall Winner and Race Record.
Aside from Rani, in the very first race, Wild Oats XI is the only yacht ever to have achieved this impressive display of dominance. She has now done it twice. Bob Oatley was understandably impressed: “The main aim was the fastest time. To get the handicap too was fantastic, a real bonus. Getting the record trip was really the icing on the cake.”
By 15:00 AEDT on 29 December, 13 yachts had finished the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart including two of the international entries: KLC Bengal from Japan and Ambersail from Lithuania. Last year’s winner, Loki, has so far come closest to unseating Wild Oats XI. Finishing last night at just before 21:00 even she was two hours adrift on corrected time. Black Jack, which arrived an hour before Loki, lies in third overall. Chris Bull’s Jazz holds fourth.
Victorian yacht Calm had appeared to have the best opportunity of the yachts destined to arrive before dawn today. Needing to finish before 01:31, she was behind schedule yesterday afternoon. Owner Jason Van der Slot believed they would pick up pace but had not counted on stalling close to the finish: “We parked for two hours off Tasman Island and for an hour in the Derwent. We were aiming to finish in time to win and up to Tasman Island we were on track. It had all gone according to plan until then.” She eventually finished at 06:06 this morning and holds fifth place.
Five yachts have retired so far and, for the 58 yachts still racing, a difficult evening lies ahead. In the lee of northeastern Tasmania there is a substantial wind shadow. From midway down the eastern seaboard to Tasman Island spindrift is flying off 3 metre waves in a 26 – 36 knot west-southwesterly. These conditions are forecast to prevail through much of 30 December too.
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Wild Oats approaching the Hobart finish for 2012 Line Honors (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)
|On the morning of 28 December 2012, Wild Oats XI once again stamped her name in the Rolex Sydney Hobart history books. From the moment the start gun fired on Boxing Day the silver wraith seemed intent on condemning her rivals for line honours to the position of also-rans. Wild Oats XI’s finish time of 1 day 18 hours 23 minutes and 12 seconds sliced 16 minutes 58 seconds off her own record. Another commanding performance in a race she has begun to treat as her own.
Without doubt skipper Mark Richard’s crew of thoroughbred racers had some luck, but their race was not without problems. The first night saw the wind drop in the scheduled transition and her opponents close down the lead she had worked to establish during the afternoon. The crew held their nerve and once the northeasterly settled in they were off.
Ragamuffin-Loyal’s endeavours to stay in touch with Wild Oats XI were hampered by a headsail gear failure from which the 100-foot maxi never recovered; Syd Fischer’s equally accomplished crew forced to accept the unwelcome role of bridesmaid. Ragamuffin-Loyal finished almost five hours behind Wild Oats XI. Had the apparent error of starting the race too early been converted to a penalty, her crew’s sense of disappointment would have been complete. Fortunately, the International Jury found that race officials failed to notify Ragamuffin-Loyal after five minutes that they had jumped the start, leaving the crew unaware that they should have returned and restarted.
By 20:30 AEDT only four yachts had completed the 628 nm course. Lahana rounded out the maxi contingent just before 19:00, while Black Jack was the first mini maxi some 40 minutes later. Loki and Ichi Ban will be next home. None have so far been capable of posting a time that knocks Wild Oats XI off the overall podium position. The door may be open for a smaller yacht if the weather obliges. Calm, Jazz, Quest and Shogun look best placed to foil a second triple crown. They need the wind to shift substantially in their favour, something it has singularly failed to do so far.
Wild Oats XI near finish (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
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MALUKA OF KERMANDIE the smallest yacht in the fleet (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
The 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart got underway in exceptional conditions. The forecast southerly breeze providing the perfect angle for a spinnaker start and run down the harbour. The angle would prove less kind as the yachts exited the Sydney Heads and made their turn towards Hobart, finding the 20 – 25 knots now firmly on the nose. Mark Richards and Wild Oats XI looked to be in no mood to be interrupted in her bid to claim a sixth line honours, blasting off the line and showing Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin Loyal a clean pair of heels before popping out of the Heads comfortably in the lead.
An interesting night lies ahead. The decision how far to head out to sea was the first conundrum facing the crews. So far the bulk of yachts appear firm in the belief that staying inshore, and inside the rhumb line will pay better. Only, one or two boats have shown a determination to head offshore for any length of time. Mike Broughton, navigator on Chris Bull’s Jazz, felt ahead of the start that the fleet would do well to stay inshore for the initial section of the race, certainly until the major swing in wind direction expected during the night. This transition should see the wind back to the northeast and will have the yachts running under spinnaker for an extended period.
Start of the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart
Earlier this morning, Gordon Maguire, tactician on Stephen Ainsworth’s Loki, indicated some of their pre-race routing suggested the bigger yachts could profit enormously from the predicted northeasterly. If it arrives on cue, they could bite a huge chunk out of the course during the hours of darkness and be lying off Green Cape by mid-morning on the second day, 27 December. The small boats, meanwhile, such as race veteran Roger Hickman’s Wild Rose, might only find themselves parallel with Jervis Bay as dawn breaks. The difference in power between segments of the fleet will be all too apparent at this juncture.
Wild Oats XI leads out of Sydney Harbor (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)
WILD OATS XI, after the start
At 17:30 AEDT Wild Oats XI was 8 nautical miles north east of Kiama travelling at 12 knots, with some 50 nm under her belt after 4.5 hours of sailing. Any thought of setting a new record seemed to be on hold as navigator Adrienne Cahalan called in to report the wind speed dropping as evening arrives. Ragamuffin Loyal lies within striking distance just astern. Lahana, Ichi Ban and Black Jack round out the top five on the water. Conditions have been wet and hard on crews during these first few hours and the measure of performance differential between front-runners and back markers is clearly demonstrated by Charlie’s Dream. Averaging just 3.4 knots, Peter Lewis and crew were parallel with Botany Bay having knocked a mere 13 nm off the 628nm course distance.
Black Jack charges down the harbor (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
The start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart is like few other yacht races. The natural amphitheatre formed by the deep-water harbour offers great viewing potential from the water, at water level from the beaches and coves, and grandstand opportunities from higher ground. Every Sydney-sider has a favourite location, and South Head must be one of the most popular and dramatic. A huge crowd always assembles to watch the fleet barrel down the harbour and make the sharp out into open water. This year’s spectacle was worth the effort involved. After a dreadful Christmas Day, when rain and wind battered Sydney, Boxing Day has been a joy. Blue sky and reasonably warm temperatures brought the locals out in their thousands to cheer the determined and enthusiastic crews off on their compelling adventure.
Crowds on the South End enjoy the spectacle. (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)
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Syd Fischer and Tony Ellis (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
The 68th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race promises to be one for the true believers; if you admire people who constantly challenge your values, fire your imagination, refuse to quit when the going gets tough, can’t be told that they are too old, are too stubborn to give it away and who keep coming back for more, then this year’s race is a Christmas present you’ll never forget.
At centre stage of the race, again run by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, is Sydney yachtsman Syd Fischer, a national living treasure who is still in the grip of finish line fever. At the age of 85, when most men of his age might be shuffling around a retirement village in their slippers with their trousers braced up around their chest, Fischer wants to win line honours in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht race – again.
He’s taken over the boat to do it, Investec Loyal, last year’s first across the line. The 100-foot super maxi becomes the latest iteration of Fischer’s Ragamuffin series, Ragamuffin Loyal.
Syd – lean, leather-skinned, laconic, highly competitive and still the subject of discussion for his exploits on and off the water – personifies Sydney: he won’t lie down.
The challenge he mounts at the front of the 80-boat fleet caps off an indifferent year for Australian sport internationally, a disastrous year for world cycling, but a great year for Australian sailing.
We had success at the Olympics with Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page in the 470 Men’s, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen in the 49er, Tom Slingsby in the Laser and Olivia Price, Nina Curtis, and Lucinda Whitty in the Women’s Match Racing in the Elliott 6. The TV coverage at the superb Weymouth venue has reinvigorated interest in sailing and helped to demystify it for non-sailors.
Fischer will be on his 44th Sydney-Hobart. He has already won line honours wins with Ragamuffin in 1988 and 1990, with an overall win in 1992 aboard an updated Ragamuffin.
This year he is leasing Investec Loyal with a view to knocking off five-time line honours winner and race record holder (1:18:40:10 set in 2005) Wild Oats XI, whose skipper, Mark Richards, is just young enough to be his grandson.
Last year Loyal, skippered by owner Anthony Bell, beat Wild Oats XI in the fourth closest finish in the race’s history; three minutes and eight seconds.
This month Richards and Wild Oats XI recaptured a psychological advantage over Fischer by taking line honours in the 180 nautical mile Cabbage Tree Island Race, when Ragamuffin Loyal had to drop her mainsail after a pin dropped out of the port runner block. Sailing with a scratch crew, Fischer made repairs, but was unwilling to risk the rig. It must be noted she was eight miles behind Oats at the time and contesting her first ocean race with Fischer.
Prior to winning last year’s race, Loyal was second across the line in 2010 and fourth in 2009. Not only has Fischer leased Loyal for the next two Hobart races, he will buy it outright when the lease runs out.
For this year’s Hobart race, Fischer will have right-hand man, Tony Ellis, and David Witt as boat captain. Ellis will sail his 46th race (one behind the record), but will sail his 40 together with Fischer, while Witt was one of Australia’s best known 18ft skiff sailors in the 90s. He made the transition to ocean racing, via the great events: the Rolex Sydney Hobart, Melbourne-Osaka double-handed race and the Volvo Ocean Race.
Asked at today’s official launch if there are many arguments between him and Fischer on the boat, Ellis said: “We’ve had plenty of cross words over the years – but it stays on the boat.” Does Ellis win any of the arguments? “Syd’s won a few arguments with me,” Ellis quipped.
When asked about the crew that will be onboard for the Hobart race, Ellis said, “We’re going to have a pretty well rounded crew by the time we get to the start line… Andrew Cape (multiple Volvo Ocean Race and Rolex Sydney Hobart yachtsman) is going to come and navigate for us. The last time we sailed together (the 1992 Hobart), we won the race overall.
Geoff Huegill, the Aussie swimming legend and former butterfly world record holder, is back, sailing aboard the same boat he did his first race on in 2010; Ragamuffin Loyal. “To be part of a crew that has such great experience behind them is something that I am really looking forward to,” he said.
“Once you’ve got the bug for sailing it really gets you – the teamwork aspect is an opportunity that I really enjoy,” Huegill commented.
The hardest part of his first race, the retired swimmer said, was “Sleep deprivation – but I’m used to it now, because I have a 10 month old baby,” he said.
Owner, Bob Oatley, has gone back to the drawing board with Wild Oats XI after her defeat in the Derwent last year. Oats had been no match for Loyal in light weather. She keeps her retractable daggerboards that were fitted before last year’s race, but she has a new retractable, centreline fin, three metres aft of the bow.
The aim of all three is to reduce leeway, but they are each used in different phases of light weather sailing, the forward fin being used first before being retracted. In addition, there is a new fitting on the bulb of the keel, whose role is to minimise ‘tip vortex’, curling water at the tip of the bulb that can reduce lift.
Skipper, Mark Richards said at the official Rolex Sydney Hobart launch today, “Last year’s race was a great race all the way until the finish, but Loyal was quicker in light air – and we’ve made some radical modifications to rectify that. We’ve tested the new set-up and it’s
This then is the battle royale to which we can look forward to at the front of the fleet, the old bull versus the young bull for the fastest boat at sea, but there will be other contenders.
Peter Millard and John Honan’s 98ft maxi Lahana is back after finishing third across the line in 2010 and 2011. Also on the front row of the grid is Grant Wharington’s Wild Thing, which took line honours in 2003, when she was named Skandia. The 98 footer has undergone modifications ahead of the race, including being lengthened to 100 feet.
Last year’s overall race winner, Stephen Ainsworth’s Reichel/Pugh 63 Loki, is back to defend her title and still appears to be the boat to beat. In August, the CYCA boat broke the 13 year-old record for a conventional yacht in the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Race and won the race outright. This month she won the CYCA’s Cabbage Tree Island Race and she goes in to the Rolex Sydney Hobart as the pre-race favourite.
On board again are sailing master Gordon Maguire and navigator Michael Bellingham. Ainsworth has also declared this is his last. He will be selling Loki and spending future Christmases with his family (unless he suffers the Fischer Syndrome at some stage).
Fischer first took line honours in 1988 in a gale-strewn race that ended with one of the smallest boats in the fleet, the Davidson 34, Illusion, win the race outright. Illusion is back as well this year, this time in the hands of Kim Jaggar and Travis Read.
The two bought the boat in April and, according to Jaggar, have spent more on its reconfiguration than the actual purchase. They are seeking to reduce the boat’s rating by going to a masthead kite, smaller headsails and a longer spinnaker pole. It will sail with a crew of eight.
“We’d like to beat Hicko (Roger Hickman’s Wild Rose) and Simon (Simon Kurts’ Love & War),” Jaggar said, “but it has to be right race for us.”
Love & War is always a sentimental favourite for handicap honours in the race. Peter Kurts won the race in 1974 and 1978 and, after his death in January 2005, son Simon gave the nod for his navigator Lindsay May to sail the wooden boat to Hobart the following year.
May sailed her to an emotional third win in 2006 and is back in his role as navigator, while Peter’s son Simon will skipper the yacht with his 21-year-old son Phillip having his second crack at the race.
Bob ‘Robbo’ Robertson’s top performing Queensland yacht Lunchtime Legend is on a mission, coming off a win in the Magnetic Island Race Week series and second in both the Audi Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach Race Weeks.
“This is our year; we have to do it this year,” Robertson said, having built and launched the Beneteau 40 in time for the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart race and scoring a highly creditable third in IRC Division 4 after scoring the exact same overall time as Andrew Saies’ same design Two True (SA) and in the company of pacesetters of the calibre of Hickman’s Wild Rose (NSW) and David Rees’ Whistler from Tasmania.
This time, Lunchtime Legend has a younger crew fired up, Robertson says, after the Australian successes at the London Olympics: “That has done so much to get young people involved again in sailing. I reckon our average age will be 20 years lower than in the 2011 race.”
This is a strong fleet of 80 boats: four maxis and nine previous winners of the major trophy, the Tattersall’s Cup, presented to the overall winner.
Joining Illusion, Loki, Love & War, Wild Rose and Wild Oats XI in the previous winners’ club are Geoff Boettcher’s 2010 winner Secret Men’s Business 3.5, Andrew Saies’ 2009 winner Two True, which is one of four South Australian entries, Bob Steel’s 2008 winner Quest and Luna Sea, which won the nightmare 1998 race as AFR Midnight Rambler, which is now in the hands of James Cameron.
Anthony Lyall’s Cougar II, which was second overall in 2008 in the hands of Victorian Alan Whiteley, leads the Tasmanian contingent in this year’s race. She has just won the Maria Island Race in record time and claimed the treble of record, line honours and overall win.
All states and the ACT have boats in the fleet with the NSW fleet numbering 43, Victoria 13, Queensland nine, Tasmania and South Australia four each, WA two, the ACT one and there are four overseas entries.
The overseas boats include the first Lithuanian entry, Ambersail (Simonas Steponavicius), a Volvo 60 that had been the Assa Abloy training boat for the 2001/2 Volvo Ocean Race.
Beneteaus make up the biggest design contingent, 12 of them, all in the 40-foot range. Two True and Lunchtime Legend will be up against the other form boat, the reigning Blue Water Point Score champion, Darryl Hodgkinson’s Victoire and the chartered Balance, now known as Peugeot Surfrider, which will feature a mostly French crew headed by Sebastien Guyot.
Once again, David Kellett will lead an experienced team on the Radio Relay Vessel (RRV), JBW, which accompanies the fleet to Hobart each year, generously loaned again by John Winning. Young Endeavour will act in the role of Communications Support Vessel to the RRV this year, under command of LCDR Michael Gough, Commanding Officer STS Young Endeavour.
The CYCA’s annual race starts at 1pm AEDT on Boxing Day, December 26 on Sydney Harbour. The fleet will sail from two start lines off Nielsen Park. The start will be broadcast live on the Seven Network throughout Australia, webcast live to a global audience on Yahoo!7 and the Australia Network throughout the Asia Pacific Region.
By Bruce Montgomery, Rolex Sydney Hobart media team
THE 2012 RACE
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Secret Men's Business 3.5, Overall Winner (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster )
It was a bright and windy morning today when boat owners, crews, friends and family gathered on the lawn of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania in warm sunshine for the official prize-giving for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2010. The races’ rich 66-year history provides for an impressive collection of race booty: intricately crafted silver trophies, hand-carved half models, and unique awards. His Excellency, the Honourable Peter Underwood, Governor of Tasmania, was on hand again this year to present the awards, along with Hobart’s Lord Mayor Rob Valentine; David O’Bryne, representing the Premier of Tasmania; the CYCA Commodore Garry Linacre; RYCT Commodore Graham Taplin; Patrick Boutellier of Rolex Australia; and Barbara McGregor, from Tasports.
Rolex Sydney Hobart Trophies (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster )
This was one of the more “classic” Rolex Sydney Hobarts in recent years because of the heavy weather and rough seas that boats and their crews encountered—a hallmark of this well-known ocean race. The race started with a ‘Southerly buster’ during the first night, with the fleet of 87 starters encountering winds that reached 40 to 50 knots. Those gale-force winds and the resulting monstrous seas took their toll and saw a steady stream of boats retire due to steering damage, torn sails and engine problems, and for one unlucky yacht, a dismasting. After two days, 18 boats were forced out of the race, retiring because of the adverse weather conditions and resulting damage to boat and equipment. Following that, boats and crew had to contend with getting across the notorious 100 nautical mile wide Bass Strait. By the race end, winds lightened somewhat and boats at the back of the fleet had trouble getting enough wind to get up the ten-mile stretch of Derwent River to the finish line in Hobart. Race favourite, Robert Oatley’s 100-foot maxi Wild Oats XI picked up the line honours as expected for a fifth time. In the end, it was the medium-sized boats that had the advantage, such as the 51-footer, Geoff Boettcher’s Secret Men’s Business 3.5, which was the overall handicap winner of this year’s race. The yacht won IRC Overall and IRC Division 1 titles. About the race, Boettcher said, “It was a boyhood dream to win this race. I just can’t believe I’m here.” He also thanked his talented and dedicated crew for their help. “These boys are fantastic,” he said.
Secret Men's Business Crew ( Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster )
The Reichel Pugh 51 was extensively modified last year, and Boettcher attributes these modifications to helping with the win. “With the modifications we were able to point much better, and we increased the hull length while we were at it,” he said. A highlight of this morning’s presentation was when Investec Loyal maxi yacht skipper Sean Langman received the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia Trophy for second overall on elapsed time. Showing true sportsmanship at its best Langman said, “I’d like to acknowledge every single competitor in this year’s race, which was more a test of the human condition than just a boat race.” Langman went on to say that, as he often does, he greeted the last boat, Wave Sweeper, when it arrived into King’s Pier Marina, “To me that boat really epitomises what this race is about. Wave Sweeper stopped off in Eden and dropped off an injured crew. They had a whole lot of damaged sails, but still pushed on.” When Langman saw them arrive, he said they looked dejected for coming in last. In a touching tribute Langman said, “But to me, they really came in first. I’d like to give the crew of the Wave Sweeper a hearty congratulations for their effort.” While their can only be one winner, Langman’s attitude—that just finishing the race makes you a winner resonated with the father and son team aboard the US entry, Dawn Star. Keen sailors and competitors Bill and Will Hubbard shared a life long dream of sailing in a Rolex Sydney Hobart, what has become known as the world’s toughest ocean going race. The 76-year old Hubbard said of the race, “I can honestly say it was the worst race and the best race I’ve ever done—and that’s the honest to God’s truth. The second day was hell on earth. I’ve never been so unhappy and thought that I made a major error in judgment.” Bill Hubbard, 26, said the race was, “Wet! It was a test of endurancem but we got here.” At one point during the race south, Dawn Star was hit by a freak wave and knocked down, sending two crew members overboard. “Their safety gear keep them from being lost,” admitted the younger Hubbard. And with a twinkle in his eye, the sunburned and unshaven elder Hubbard looked back on the adventure that was the 2010 Rolex Sydney Hobart and said, “The fourth day was the most fantastic day on the water we’ve ever spent. The wind was perfect. The weather was perfect and in that night every star in the sky was out. It was beautiful.” The Polish Trophy is presented to the yacht travelling from the furthest point to compete. This year’s winner was Alberto Biffignandi’s One Life, which was sailed on an extended cruise by family and friends from Santa Margherita Ligure to Sydney. Biffignandi said the name of his boat is meant to inspire others. The affable Italian said, “You only have one life; you should go now or you never will.” The entries for this the 66th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race included six international yachts from the USA, UK, Italy, France, as well as two partly crewed Russian boats, and entries from seven of the eight Australian states and territories.
Wild Oats , Line Honors Winner (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster )
RESULTS LINE HONOURS Wild Oats XI, Robert Oatley (NSW/AUS), Reichel/Pugh 100 IRC OVERALL Secret Mens Business 3.5, Geoff Boettcher (SA/AUS), Reichel/Pugh 51 DIVISION LEADERS IRC Div 0: Jazz, Chris Bull, (VIC/AUS), Cookson 50 IRC Div 1: Secret Mens Business 3.5, Geoff Boettcher IRC Div 2: Victoire, Darryl Hodgkinson (NSW/AUS), Beneteau First 45 IRC Div 3: Paca, Philippe Mengual (NSW/AUS), Beneteau First 40 IRC Div 4: Ray White Spirit of Koomooloo, Mike Freebairn (QLD/AUS), S&S 48 PHS Div 1: NSC Mahligai, Murray Owens & Jenny Kings (NSW/AUS), Sydney 46 PHS Div 2: Flying Fish Arctos, Martin Silk (NSW/AUS), McIntyre 55 Sydney 38: Eleni, Tony Levett (NSW/AUS), Sydney 38 ORCi 1: Jazz, Chris Bull ORCi 2: Victoire, Darryl Hodgkinson ORCi 3: Copernicus, Greg Zyner, (NSW/AUS), Radford 12 Cruising: OneLife, Alberto Biffignandi, Italy, Amel
Ringing In The New Year At The Finish In Hobart (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster )
1 Wild Oats XI Finished 02:07:37:20 11.3
Bob Oatley NSW 28 Dec, 8:37pm
2 Investec LOYAL Finished 02:11:11:34 10.6
Sean Langman (19) NSW 29 Dec, 12:11am
3 Lahana Finished 02:14:09:44 10.1
Peter Millard (1) NSW 29 Dec, 3:09am
4 Ichi Ban Finished 02:16:52:55 9.7
Matt Allen (21) NSW 29 Dec, 5:52am
5 Wild Thing Finished 02:17:15:29 9.6
Grant Wharington (23) VIC 29 Dec, 6:15am
6 Ran Finished 02:17:22:55 9.6
Niklas Zennstrom (1) England 29 Dec, 6:22am
7 Limit Finished 02:21:30:31 9.0
Alan Brierty (7) WA 29 Dec, 10:30am
8 Loki Finished 02:21:33:16 9.0
Stephen Ainsworth (13) NSW 29 Dec, 10:33am
9 Rodd & Gunn Wedgetail Finished 02:23:44:50 8.8
Bill Wild (6) QLD 29 Dec, 12:44pm
10 Living Doll Finished 03:00:18:35 8.7
Michael Hiatt (5) VIC 29 Dec, 1:18pm
11 Shogun Finished 03:00:18:54 8.7
Rob Hanna (4) VIC 29 Dec, 1:18pm
12 Jazz Finished 03:00:20:19 8.7
Chris Bull (3) NSW 29 Dec, 1:20pm
13 Pretty Fly III Finished 03:00:33:18 8.7
Colin Woods (4) NSW 29 Dec, 1:33pm
14 Secret Men’s Business 3.5 Finished 03:00:42:10 8.6
Geoff Boettcher (21) SA 29 Dec, 1:42pm
15 Terra Firma Finished 03:07:27:42 7.9
Nicholas Bartels (7) VIC 29 Dec, 8:27pm
16 Ragamuffin Finished 03:07:43:15 7.9
Syd Fischer (41) NSW 29 Dec, 8:43pm
17 Vamp Finished 03:08:36:59 7.8
Mikhail Muratov/Roger Hickman (33) Russia 29 Dec, 9:36pm
18 Merit Finished 03:09:18:53 7.7
Leo Rodriguez (2) QLD 29 Dec, 10:18pm
19 Titania of Cowes Finished 03:12:11:29 7.5
Richard Dobbs United Kingdom 30 Dec, 1:11am
20 Chutzpah Finished 03:13:03:30 7.4
Bruce Taylor (29) VIC 30 Dec, 2:03am
21 Victoire Finished 03:15:41:40 7.2
Darryl Hodgkinson NSW 30 Dec, 4:41am
22 Ocean Affinity Finished 03:15:42:52 7.2
Stewart Lewis (3) QLD 30 Dec, 4:42am
23 Extasea Finished 03:15:44:39 7.2
Paul Buchholz VIC 30 Dec, 4:44am
24 AFR Midnight Rambler Finished 03:17:04:53 7.1
Ed Psaltis (29) NSW 30 Dec, 6:04am
25 Cadibarra 8 Finished 03:20:46:20 6.8
Paul Roberts (7) VIC 30 Dec, 9:46am
26 Helsal III Finished 03:23:17:17 6.6
Rob Fisher (17) TAS 30 Dec, 12:17pm
27 St Jude Finished 03:23:31:37 6.6
Noel Cornish (3) NSW 30 Dec, 12:31pm
28 Valheru Finished 03:23:42:32 6.6
Anthony Lyall (9) TAS 30 Dec, 12:42pm
29 Patriot Finished 03:23:56:51 6.5
Tony Love (5) QLD 30 Dec, 12:56pm
30 NSC Mahligai Finished 04:00:09:23 6.5
Murray Owen (4) NSW 30 Dec, 1:09pm
31 Patrice Six Finished 04:00:17:51 6.5
Tony Kirby (25) NSW 30 Dec, 1:17pm
32 Dodo Finished 04:00:26:32 6.5
Rick Christian NSW 30 Dec, 1:26pm
33 Wasabi Finished 04:01:50:30 6.4
Bruce McKay (1) NSW 30 Dec, 2:50pm
34 Krakatoa II Finished 04:01:57:34 6.4
Rod Skellet (11) NSW 30 Dec, 2:57pm
35 Tevake II Finished 04:02:02:10 6.4
Angus Fletcher (1) VIC 30 Dec, 3:02pm
36 Paca Finished 04:02:08:45 6.4
Philippe Mengual (1) NSW 30 Dec, 3:08pm
37 Eleni Finished 04:02:59:17 6.3
Tony Levett (6) NSW 30 Dec, 3:59pm
38 Another Challenge Finished 04:02:59:46 6.3
Chris Lewin(3) VIC 30 Dec, 3:59pm
39 Zen Finished 04:03:27:06 6.3
Gordon Ketelbey (7) NSW 30 Dec, 4:27pm
40 L’Ange De Milon Finished 04:03:30:58 6.3
Jacques Pelletier France 30 Dec, 4:30pm
41 L’Altra Donna Finished 04:03:59:53 6.3
Andy Kearnan NSW 30 Dec, 4:59pm
42 Copernicus Finished 04:04:14:22 6.3
Greg Zyner (3) NSW 30 Dec, 5:14pm
43 She’s The Culprit Finished 04:04:21:29 6.3
Todd Leary (2) TAS 30 Dec, 5:21pm
44 LMR Solar Finished 04:04:38:13 6.2
Michael Martin (2) NSW 30 Dec, 5:38pm
45 Local Hero* Finished 04:04:46:09 6.2
Peter Mosely NSW 30 Dec, 5:46pm
46 Secret Men’s Business #1 Finished 04:05:03:05 6.2
Ross Trembath (13), Rob Curtis (4) NSW 30 Dec, 6:03pm
47 Flying Fish Arctos Finished 04:05:15:17 6.2
Martin Silk (1) NSW 30 Dec, 6:15pm
48 Ray White Spirit of Koomooloo Finished 04:06:48:11 6.1
Mike Freebairn (7) QLD 30 Dec, 7:48pm
49 Shepherd Centre Finished 04:07:44:11 6.1
Hugh Torode (1) NSW 30 Dec, 8:44pm
50 Scarlet Ribbon* Finished 04:09:03:06 6.0
Richard Buxton VIC 30 Dec, 10:03pm
51 Obsession Finished 04:09:06:57 6.0
Nikita Brilliantov NSW 30 Dec, 10:06pm
52 Chancellor Finished 04:09:13:20 6.0
Ted Tooher (5) NSW 30 Dec, 10:13pm
53 Geomatic Joker Finished 04:09:16:49 6.0
Grant Chipperfield (1) VIC 30 Dec, 10:16pm
54 Onelife* Finished 04:10:26:35 5.9
Alberto Biffignandi Italy 30 Dec, 11:26pm
55 Allegro Finished 05:00:54:11 5.2
John Taylor (15) NSW 31 Dec, 1:54pm
56 Mille Sabords Finished 05:00:56:38 5.2
Stephane Howarth VIC 31 Dec, 1:56pm
57 Wahoo Finished 05:00:56:54 5.2
Graham Mulligan NSW 31 Dec, 1:56pm
58 Aurora Finished 05:00:58:56 5.2
Jim Holley (22) NSW 31 Dec, 1:58pm
59 Crossbow Finished 05:01:07:53 5.2
David Stenhouse (1) & David Cutcliffe (5) NSW 31 Dec, 2:07pm
60 Abracadabra Finished 05:01:18:49 5.2
James Murchison (6) NSW 31 Dec, 2:18pm
61 Blunderbuss Finished 05:01:21:40 5.2
Tony Kinsman QLD 31 Dec, 2:21pm
62 She Finished 05:01:22:34 5.2
Peter Rodgers (15) NSW 31 Dec, 2:22pm
63 Dawn Star* Finished 05:01:47:36 5.2
William Hubbard III USA 31 Dec, 2:47pm
64 CIC Secure Inca Finished 05:02:26:31 5.1
Noel Sneddon (5) ACT 31 Dec, 3:26pm
65 Young Ones Finished 05:02:56:59 5.1
Ian Miller (2) VIC 31 Dec, 3:56pm
66 Illusion Finished 05:03:00:36 5.1
Jonathan Stone NSW 31 Dec, 4:00pm
67 Charlie’s Dream Finished 05:03:39:49 5.1
Peter Lewis (2) QLD 31 Dec, 4:39pm
68 Polaris of Belmont Finished 05:03:42:56 5.1
Chris Dawe (6) NSW 31 Dec, 4:42pm
69 Wave Sweeper Finished 05:06:08:30 5.0
Morgan Rogers (2) NSW 31 Dec, 7:08pm
Alchemy III* Retired – at Port
Jarrod Ritchie TAS
Bacardi* Retired – at Port
Martin Power (8) VIC
Brindabella* Retired – at Port
Jim Cooney NSW
Calm Retired – at Port
Jason Van der Slot (5) VIC
Exile* Retired – at Port
Rob Reynolds (1) NSW
Jazz Player* Retired – at Port
Andrew Lawrence (1) VIC
Nautical Circle* Retired – at Port
Matthew Prentice (1) NSW
Nemesis Retired – at Port
Jeffery Taylor USA
Pirelli Celestial* Retired – at Port
Sam Haynes NSW
Salona II* Retired – at Port
Phillip King (13) NSW
Scarlet Runner* Retired – at Port
Robert Date (2) VIC
Shamrock* Retired – at Port
Tony Donnellan (1) VIC
Shining Sea* Retired – at Port
Andrew Corletto (1) SA
Southern Excellence* Retired – at Port
Andrew Wenham (4) NSW
Swish* Retired – at Port
Steven Proud (3) NSW
Two True* Retired – at Port
Andrew Saies (5) SA
Wot Eva* Retired – at Port
David Pescud (19) NSW
Yuuzoo* Retired – at Port
Ludde Ingvall (7) NSW
Local Hero – awarded 30 minutes redress under RRS 62.1(c) for coming to the assistance of Bacardi
Scarlet Ribbon – cruising division boat
Onelife – cruising division boat
Dawn Star – 40 minutes redress granted under RRS 62.1(c) for locating and sinking a liferaft lost from Titania of Cowes
Alchemy III – boom damage
Bacardi – broken mast
Brindabella – damaged mainsail
Exile – steering damage
Jazz Player – damaged mainsail
Nautical Circle – Engine problems
Pirelli Celestial – Sail damage
Salona II – Steering Problems
Scarlet Runner – Sail damage
Shamrock – damage to rudder bearing
Shining Sea – Broken Rudder
Southern Excellence – At Sydney
Swish – radio damage – heading to Sydney
Two True – Engine problems
Wot Eva – engine problem
Yuuzoo – torn headsail
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Jim Mitchell's Vinctore Was Named Overall Rolex US IRC National Champion (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
“This is a very emotional win for me,” said Jim Mitchell (Zurich, SUI), owner of the Custom 52 Vincitore, upon winning the 2009 Rolex Big Boat Series. “At the end of racing, when I looked at my Dad, who was out on the chase boat, we both had a tear in our eyes. The speech I gave on the first day was that we have a passion for sailing, a passion for friends and family, and we will let the results speak for themselves.” At the Rolex Trophy Ceremony this evening, winning skippers in six of the 11 classes competing were awarded one of six St. Francis Yacht Club Perpetual Trophies. In front of the owners, crew, family and friends of the 97 competing boats, those six skippers also were presented with a Rolex Submariner timepiece in recognition of their accomplishments.
As winner of IRC A class, Mitchell was awarded the St. Francis Perpetual Trophy. “I didn’t know it was the original trophy,” said Mitchell, clearly taken aback by the priceless silver piece dedicated in 1964, and deeded to the premier handicap division. “That’s a pleasant surprise. It brings a tear to my eyes. That’s so awesome.”
The St. Francis Yacht Club awarded its six Perpetual Trophies this evening at the Rolex Trophy Ceremony where each of the skippers was presented with a Rolex Submariner timepiece in recognition of their accomplishments. Class winners, from left: VELOS, Owner: Kjeld Hestehave Class: IRC B; GOLDEN MOON Owner: Kame Richards Class: Express 37; GOOD TIMIN' Owner: Chris Perkins Class: J 105; TUPELO HONEY Owner: Gerard Sheridan Class: IRC D; SOOZAL Owner: Daniel Woolery Class: IRC C; VINCITORE Owner: Jim Mitchell Sr. / Jim Mitchell Jr., Class: IRC A (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
As the top performing IRC rated boat, Vincitore – with tactician Norman Davant and helmsman Chris Dickson – was named the overall Rolex US-IRC National Champion, and Mitchell was presented with a Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece to mark the occasion. “We are bringing Vincitore back again next year,” he promised. Tom Akin & Mark Jones’ (San Francisco) chartered TP52 Flash finished in second with John Kilroy (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Samba Pa Ti in third.
The St. Francis Yacht Club race committee planned the day’s final Bay Tour, but with light and inconsistent wind direction, racing was abandoned for the four IRC classes, along with the 1D35 and J/120 classes. The six races completed through yesterday (Saturday) stood as the final results.
The City of San Francisco Trophy, one of the two golden spades used to break ground for the Golden Gate Bridge in 1933, was awarded to Kjeld Hestehave’s (Richmond, Calif.) 73-foot Velos. Since the very first race, the largest boat entered in this regatta dominated his opponents in IRC B class with six straight race wins. Dale Williams’s (San Francisco) Kernan 44 Wasabi finished in second place, with Sy Kleinman’s (Saratoga, Calif.) Schumacher 54 Swiftsure II in third place, tied on 16 points with Wasabi.
“This win is 12 years in the making,” said Hestehave. “We were here in ’97 and ’98, and we got two second places that year. We were here two years ago and got killed by everyone.” Hestehave explained that he prepared Velos, the Greek word for velocity, for the Pacific Cup, fairing the bottom and getting it tuned. Originally, he planned to participate in StFYC’s annual Stag Cruise, which historically follows the Rolex Big Boat Series, but when he realized there wouldn’t be enough berths at the club’s Tinsley Island location, he brought Velos up from San Diego for the occasion. “We were here so we thought we might as well race the boat,” he recalled. “With 22 crew onboard, that’s a lot of drink tickets and a lot of sandwiches, and tonight is going to be very expensive.”
J105 Class Chris Perkins and Good Tiimin ( Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
Dan Woolery’s King 40 Soozal (Alamo, Calif.) won the IRC C class and the Richard Rheem Perpetual Trophy, which was established in 1972 in memory of Richard Rheem whose famous yacht Morning Star was the elapsed time winner in the 1949 and 1955 Transpac races to Honolulu. Gold Phoenix, the J/44 chartered by James Bishop (Jamestown, R.I.), finished in second, while Tim Fuller (Marietta, Calif.) and the J/122 Resolute finished third.
Only two entries had straight wins in all races: Velos, in IRC B, and Gerard Sheridan’s Elan 40 Tupelo Honey in IRC D class. “I’m feeling great, we really wanted it this year,” said Sheridan, who lives in San Francisco, but grew up in County Galway, Ireland. “We trained for it and the crew is outstanding. Every single one deserved to be on the crew, I’m delighted for myself and for my crew.” This is Tupelo Honey’s fifth Rolex Big Boat Series. It won its class in 2005 and finished second in the other years. Clearly happy to have won an IRC class at this year’s regatta, the 45th annual, he said, “I think IRC is saving big boat racing around the world. It’s giving a new sense of purpose to racing and serious big boat campaigns. Handicap racing is never perfect, but this is close to perfect.” Sheridan was awarded the Keefe-Kilborn Trophy, which was established in 1976 to honor Harold Keefe and Ray Kilborn.
On the North course racing started late, but with a short-lived band of wind, the race committee was able to shorten the course and finish the Melges 32, Express 37, J/105, Beneteau 36.7 and Cal 40 classes.
The Melges 32 class was racing for its national championship. Philippe Kahn’s (Belvedere Cove, Calif.) Pegasus had to retire yesterday due to an equipment malfunction, but they were back on form today, winning the seventh and final race, putting them into fourth overall. Andy Lovell & Burt Benrud’s New Orleans-based Rougarou won the six-boat class and the title. Local sailor Don Jesberg and his Viva was second overall, with Stephen Pugh and Taboo in third.
Although Bartz Schneider won today’s final race in the Express 37 class, it wasn’t enough points to topple Kame Richards (Alameda. Calif.) and Golden Moon from the number one spot. Schneider’s Expeditious finished in fourth overall behind Mick Shlens and Blade Runner in second, and Michael Maloney’s Bullet in third. Richards also won the Atlantic Trophy. Established in 1978, the trophy features the ship’s bell of the yacht Atlantic, long-time Transatlantic Ocean record holder (1905). The bell was donated by John C. “Jack” Morris, and the trophy by Jack H. Feller Jr.
The Commodore’s Cup, which was established in 2004 to be awarded to the largest one-design fleet, was awarded to the winner of the J/105 class, Chris Perkins’ Good Timin’. “Honestly, Bruce Stone sailed a great series,” said Perkins of the fleet. “He only had one bad race and won three out of seven sailed. His Arbitrage is clearly one of the quickest boats. Everyone would agree he is quicker than us.” So what would Perkins credit his team’s win to? “The challenge in a 25-boat fleet is consistency,” he continued. “We didn’t have any big mistakes and that is what made the difference for us.”
Masakazu Toyama and Crew (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
While they may not have taken the overall 1D35 class win, Japanese entry Ebb Tide was clearly a crowd favorite and stepped onto the prizegiving stage to massive cheers and chants. Owner Masakazu Toyama has sailed the Rolex Big Boat Series for the past three years, each time in a different class, and this time the team’s efforts paid off with a trophy for 2nd in 1D 35. Toyama says he’d love to live in San Francisco one day, “It’s fun, and we will be back” he said with a big smile. Gary Boell and Diablita won the 1D35 class, Barry Lewis’ Chance won the J/120 fleet and Bill LeRoy and Gone with the Wind won the Cal 40 class.
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Samba Pa Ti IRC A Overall Winner (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
After a large area of thunderstorms moved through this morning, the over 1,000 sailors competing in day three of the Rolex Big Boat Series were given a new challenge: light wind and minimum visibility through the dense fog hanging low on the water. As locals are apt to exclaim – ‘It’s never like this in San Francisco’ – a theory confirmed by spectators lined along the sea wall and second-story viewing bleachers at St. Francis Yacht Club.
An on-time racing start by the StFYC volunteer race committee, lead by PROs Kevin Reeds (Annapolis, Md.) and Hank Stuart (Rochester, N.Y.), gave the 97 competing boats two races for a total of six races. Tomorrow’s final race – known fondly as the Bay Tour – will cap off a solid four days on the water.
Flash, the TP52 skippered by Tom Akin & Mark Jones, won the day’s first race, finished third in the second, and now stands in second overall in IRC A class, one point behind class leader Vincitore, the custom 52 owned by Jim Mitchell (Zurich, SUI) and driven by Chris Dickson. John Kilroy’s TP52 Samba Pa Ti finished 3-1 and is now in third overall.
The fastest boat around the IRC B racecourse today was Kjeld Hestehave’s (Richmond, Calif.) 73-foot Velos. Since the very first race, the largest boat entered in this regatta continues to dominate the class. It now looks untouchable with six total points. Sy Kleinman’s (Saratoga, Calif.) Schumacher 54 Swiftsure is tied on 16 points with Dale Williams’s (San Francisco) Kernan 44 Wasabi. “We are more than thrilled to be there,” said Williams, who figures he has competed in at least 20 Big Boat Series in his career, winning in 1999 with a previous boat named Wasabi. However, this Wasabi is brand new, designed by the same group who created Williams’ last boat the 70-foot Peligroso. “It’s really easy to sail,” he said. “We’re surprised how fast it goes. There’s a retractable sprit, but no spreaders, no runners, no reaching struts and no after guys. It’s fast at 12,900 lbs. with 6,700 lbs of ballast. It’s everything we thought it was and more.”
Willims set up a StFYC duel for second place tomorrow between his Wasabi and Swiftsure, giving the overall nod toward Velos. “That is a very well-sailed boat,” said Woolery. “They deserve to be out front. It’s been a lot of fun and really nice to sail against them and Swiftsure.”
Bustin Loose Sydney 38 Class Overall Winner (Photo by Rolex/Daniel Forster)
Soozal, the King 40 owned by Daniel Woolery (Alamo, Calif.), continues to lead the IRC C class, with James Bishop (Jamestown, R.I.) and the J/44 Gold Phoenix moving into second overall ahead of Tim Fuller (Marietta, Calif.) and the J/122 Resolute.
“Today’s first race was a pivotal race for us. We didn’t know what to expect,” said Woolery. After corrected time, the relatively new boat took first place and then a second in the day’s second race. “The second one was a little more difficult,” continued Woolery. “Our jib goes up on a jib lock and it didn’t stay up on the lock. So, as we went to the bottom mark, our plan was to go into Alcatraz and through the Cone. We were behind Gold Phoenix and we thought ‘Let’s go into the cone.’ We were right behind them and immediately the jib fell down, and that forced us to tack over to clear it. We tacked back and as soon as we did, we realized we weren’t going to make the Cone, so we tacked over to the beach first. Phoenix did as well. When all was said and done we were seven seconds corrected in front of them. At that point the race became between us and TNT.
“If TNT had gotten second and not us, then that would have brought Phoenix a little closer in the gap” said Woolery. “We were in great tacking duels, and managed to tack our way up to Phoenix. We were a minute and a half behind when that whole engagement started, and we put almost a minute and a half on them. Overall we’re feeling really good.” Soozal has a four-point lead over Gold Phoenix going into tomorrow’s final race. “We’re going to win tomorrow,” he predicted.
Gerard Sheridan’s Elan 40 Tupelo Honey continues to dominate IRC D class with two more bullets. The San Francisco-based boat won both of today’s races on corrected time and, barring any mishaps tomorrow, stands to take the overall win. “Tomorrow we will go out and race like we like to race, which is fairly conservatively,” said Sheridan. “We don’t want to take any major risks.” This is Tupelo Honey’s fifth Rolex Big Boat Series. It won its class in 2005 and finished second in the other years. “At the start of the year I decided I wanted to win Big Boat this year,” he continued. “It’s the premier regatta on the West Coast, and here at the St. Francis, the race management is impeccable.”
In the grand-prix Melges 32 class, vying for its National Championship this weekend, New Orleans-based Rougarou looked unstoppable blazing downwind. With two more wins today – to add to a series scoreline of 1-2-1-5 – the team lead by co-owners Bert Benrud and Andy Lowell needs to finish fourth or better to win the title. Philippe Kahn’s (Belvedere Cove, Calif.) Pegasus encountered trouble in the first race and dropped out to expedite repairs. The team plans to be back in the race tomorrow. Local sailor Don Jesberg and his Viva is in second overall, with Stephen Pugh and Taboo in third.
Expeditious (Photo by Daniel Forster)
Class leaders from yesterday that held onto the lead in other one-design classes include Pat Patterson (Angwin, Calif.) and Summer and Smoke in the Beneteau 36.7; William LeRoy (Tiburon, Calif.) and Gone with the Wind in the Cal 40; Kame Richards (Alameda. Calif.) and Golden Moon in the Express 37; and Chris Perkins (San Francisco) and Good Timin’ in the J/105 class.
The other two one-design classes saw a change in leadership with Barry Lewis’ Chance gaining a slight edge over John Wimer’s Desdemona, now in second place, in the J/120 fleet, and Gary Boell and Diablita taking over from Alex Farrell (Mountain View, Calif.) and Alpha Puppy in the 1D35 class. Alpha Puppy fell to third place, while Ebb Tide, chartered by Masakazu Toyama (Tokyo, JPN), moved into second.
J44 Gold Phoenix Won Race 6 In the IRC C Class (Photo by Daniel Forster)
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Double Bullet for Golden Moon On The First Day of The Rolex Big Boat Series ( Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
In Italian, the word Vincitore means ‘the winner’ so Jim Mitchell and his multi-national crew took the theme to heart by winning both races in IRC A class on the opening day of the Rolex Big Boat Series. Over 1,000 sailors on 97 boats in 11 classes are competing through Sunday, September 13. “I wouldn’t miss this regatta for anything,” said Mitchell, who grew up in Chicago but now calls Zurich (SUI) his home. “It was one of our crew’s birthdays yesterday, Dallas Kilponen, and I think our two bullets are the best present we can give him.” All of the IRC class leaders – Kjeld Hestehave’s Velos (Richmond, Calif.), Daniel Woolery’s King 40 Soozal (Alamo, Calif.) and Gerard Sheridan’s Elan 40 Tupelo Honey – joined the two-bullet club today, in the IRC B, IRC C and IRC D classes, respectively. All four divisions of IRC handicap-rated boats also are competing for the Rolex US-IRC National Championship.
The other two groups vying for national championships are the Express 37 and Melges 32 classes. For Burt Benrud, this is not only his first Rolex Big Boat Series but also his first season in the Grand-Prix one-design class. “This is our first big outing and we could have not picked a better location,” he said. Benrud, with co-owner Andy Lovell (New Orleans, La.) and crew on the Melges 32 Rougarou, won the day’s first race, took a second in the second and now sit in first overall in the six-boat class. “We are sailing under the Southern Yacht Club flag, and we are very proud to be able to represent our hometown.” Don Jesberg (Mill Valley, Calif.), the recent winner of the class’s North American championship, is in second place overall on his Viva, followed by Stephen Pugh’s Taboo (Sausalito, Calif.).
Melges 32's Taboo and Pegasus Cross Tacks (Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster)
“We actually had our first Express 37 National Championship regatta in 1986,” said Bartz Schneider, the class fleet captain and president, and skipper of Expeditious, currently in fourth place overall. “This is our 20th national championship at the St. Francis. In 1990 we had our first National Championship as part of the Big Boat Series, and except for 2001, we have had it as part of the regatta every year.” Leading the nine-boat class is Kame Richards’ (Alameda, Calif.) Golden Moon, with Elan, owned by Bill Reiss (Oakland, Calif.), in third. Schneider summed up the fleet leaders: “Golden Moon will be tough, with Bay tide guru Kame Richards at the helm. Elan will be very competitive. And Blade Runner (Mick Schlens, Los Angeles, Calif.), with their name already on the trophy several times, is always a possible threat.”
The largest one-design fleet is the J/105 class with 25 boats. Returning champion Donkey Jack, owned by Robert Conrads (San Francisco), took 13-6 in two races and is now eighth overall. Bruce Stone’s Arbitrage won the day’s first race, while Adam & Guillemette Spiegel’s Jam Session won the second, putting them into second overall behind class leader, Jeff Litfin & John Case’s Mojo.
Cal 40's Comtete For The First Time As A One Design Class ( Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster )
While many of the competing boats are from the Bay Area and California, some hail from ports across the US and abroad. Lorenzo Berho and his J/145 Raincloud hail from Mexico City, Mexico and are in sixth overall in IRC B. “Raincloud is a Mexican family and friends boat that has changed our lives, and also has helped us fulfill several dreams,” said Berho, who only started sailing five years ago. “We had a great experience in last year’s Rolex Big Boat Series that we decided to come back in spite of the difficult economic times, and for most of us that means traveling from Mexico City. The organizers are great and the competing boats are really friendly. Last year we got fourth place in our fleet so we would love to get a third place this year. We know that most of the fleet is very competitive and there are many experienced sailors with local knowledge. I am turning 50 years old on September 15, so I chose this regatta as my birthday present. There is nothing better than sailing with my family and best friends in the most outstanding Bay of the world.”
Jim Mitchell is another perfect example of the international aspect present here in San Francisco for racing. Now living in Switzerland, he launched Vincitore a year and half ago in New Zealand and when asked about his international crew – New Zealand’s Chris Dickson and Simon Minoprio among them – considering that many of the other entries in the race are locals, he quickly said, “Not us, we’re like the United Nations!”
When asked what makes him come back each year to San Francisco for the Rolex Big Boat Series, Jim said, “It’s just so much fun, the competition is great, you have the city, the weather- it’s always windy, constant wind. I really wanted to bring my boat to Europe and sail some races over there,” he continued, “but I want to sail with family and the guys from New Zealand like sailing in Chicago, San Francisco and the Caribbean. Bringing the boat here is just so fantastic and I’m glad to be here.”
Mister Magoo Leads The J120 Class After Day One ( Photo by Rolex / Daniel Forster )
This evening competitors celebrated the first day of racing at the Rolex Party where the first daily video was shown. The regatta ends with Sunday’s final Rolex Trophy Ceremony where specially engraved Rolex timepieces will be awarded to the St. Francis Yacht Club’s six Perpetual Trophy winners.
About St. Francis Yacht Club
Founded in 1927, St. Francis Yacht Club, within view of the Golden Gate Bridge, is a year-round host of over 40 regattas on San Francisco Bay. The club is renowned for its expertise in running world and national championships.
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