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Thursday morning before the action starts. Sanity, from San Diego, is one of 21 J/105s registered. ©2011 norcalsailing.com
Rolex Big Boat Series Gets Underway
September 8, 2011
No two Rolex Big Boat Series are ever the same. The key components, the race boats themselves, change from year to year.
Fast, Farr and Big
The average size of the Big Boats just got smaller, as the 12-boat Farr/Mumm 30 class is making this series their World Championship. We can't recall such a small boat ever racing in Big Boats before. In 2007 the Melges 32 class broke the 35-ft size barrier and had a strong (international, professional) presence here for four years, but they are absent this year.
What boats this year are putting the 'Big' in Rolex Big Boat Series? The TP52s make up the majority of the IRC A fleet. The biggest boats registered are Akela, an R/P 75 'turbo sled' and Velos, a Tanton 73. Diminutive by comparison, Chip Megeath's R/P 45 Criminal Mischief rounds out the division.
The IRC C division for 'fast forties' includes Farr 36s, J/125s and the new Farr 400, Team Premier, with Dee Smith. J/111s and Santa Cruz 37s were invited too, but didn't make it. The two Farr 40s, High Five and Twisted, are actually in IRC B.
The TP52s and Fast Forties are making this event part of a new four-regatta series, consisting of the Aldo Alessio, which took place on August 26-28, Rolex Big Boat Series, the new 'West Coast Shoot Out' on September 24-25, and ending with Richmond YC's quirky Great Pumpkin Regatta (do they know what they're getting into with that one?) The first three regattas are all run by St. Francis YC.
Local one design favorites back for the action at Rolex Big Boat Series include the J/105 fleet, the J/120 fleet and the Express 37 fleet. IRC D is sprinkled with local one design refugees, such as Encore, a Sydney 36, Inspired Environments, a Beneteau First 40.7, and Summer and Smoke, a Beneteau First 36.7, among others.
Today, the boats are racing two races on two courses, a Cityfront Course and a North Course. As we write this, the first beat of the first race for the IRC divisions has made its way up the shore against a dying flood, rounded their windward mark and are headed back downwind out in the middle of the Bay. Meanwhile, the four one design divisions are racing on the North Course. For the second race of the day, the two groups will trade places, except for the Fumm 30s, which will sail all 11 races on the North Course.
We'll have more throughout the event, with photos, daily reports, and video. You can follow the IRC A, IRC B, the Fumm 30s and J/120s with the Kattack race tracker. See www.rolexbigboatseries.com.