Entry surge for Rolex Big Boat Series 2015
Published on May 31st, 2015
For the past 51 years, many sailors have spent their summers racing, practicing, tweaking their boats and training their crew for the Big Boat Series, a marquee regatta held every September on San Francisco Bay. For 51 years, the Bay has served up sublime racing conditions while the St. Francis Yacht Club (StFYC) has rolled out the red carpet, providing top-end race management and an unbeatable post-race venue.
Fifty-one years is a long time for any event to sustain its allure, and judging by the larger-than-usual list of early entries, the 2015 Rolex Big Boat Series (RBBS) on September 17-20 is on course for another fantastic year of racing.
“Having over forty entries sign up this early is a great indication of the competition we’re going to see in the fall,” says StFYC Race Manager Lynn Lynch. “Not only are we seeing early sign-ups; we’re seeing a variety of boats and fleets, including a surge in some new fleets.”
There will be at least four J/boat classes represented – J/125, J/120, J/111 and J/105 – with a particularly strong presence from the J/105s, which are hosting their North American Championships in conjunction with RBBS. In keeping with sailing industry trends of recent years, the regatta is introducing a new PHRF sportboat class for 35- to 40-foot boats. At this point, the fleet of competitors also includes six boats over 50 feet and seven boats that are additionally registered for the Transpac Honolulu Race in July. There are entrants hailing from as far away as Hawaii and Mexico.
According to Regatta chairperson Susan Ruhne, the reason the Rolex Big Boat Series remains a marquee event is threefold: location, location and location. As a sailing venue, the conditions of San Francisco Bay in September are unbeatable. As a Yacht Club, the St. Francis offers a combination of stadium-style viewing directly adjacent the racecourse and ample, elegant space for post-race events. It has also perfected the complexities of race management, combining world-class PROs, high-end race managers and a pool of race committee volunteers 200 deep.
“On top of all that, having Rolex as our sponsor allows us to take this from a race to an all-out event,” says Ruhne. Now in its tenth year of sponsorship, Rolex lends a level of notoriety to any yachting event with which it associates, putting the Big Boat Series in the same class as the Sydney to Hobart Cup, the Swan Cup and the Fastnet. Rolex also provides specially engraved timepieces to the winners of the regatta’s coveted perpetual trophies: the St. Francis, the City of San Francisco, the Richard Rheem, the Keefe-Kilborn, the Atlantic and the Commodore’s Cup, all of which remain on display at the St. Francis Yacht Club.