Big finish

Racing concluded at the 53rd edition of the Rolex Big Boat Series, hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club on the wind and tide-torn waters of San Francisco Bay.

18 September 2017


After seven races spread across four days of on-water action, winners were crowned in eleven classes, including six perpetual trophies. En-route to determining this year’s winners, the 89 entries experienced a wide range of San Francisco Bay conditions, with an emphasis on each team’s heavy-air sail inventory.

While the first three days of this Grand Prix regatta featured long-course windward-leeward racing, the final day of racing sent competitors on a Bay Tour courses with the finishing line directly in front of the StFYC clubhouse, providing onshore spectators a fine view of this year’s warhorses as they paraded past the Club’s stunning Race Deck.

Six classes including Farr 40s, J/105s, ORR-A, ORR-B, and ORR-C Classes, and the Pac 52s, were racing for the StFYC’s perpetual trophies, while the other five classes, J/70s, J/120s, Express 37s, PHRF Sportboats, and Multihulls, were competing for take-home trophies and class honours.


Winning team skippers of the perpetual trophies also receive an engraved Swiss-made Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner chronometer.

“After four great days of racing on San Francisco Bay in a variety of conditions, we’ve determined the winners of 11 classes, including six perpetual and five class winners,” said Susan Rhune, the regatta co-chair.

“Along the way we got to see the Pac52 class hoist their sails for the first time in the Rolex Big Boat Series, while also getting to see classes that normally sail in displacement mode up on a full plane. A great time was had by all”

In ORR-B Class, Jeff Pulford’s Sydney 38 BustinLoose won the Atlantic Perpetual Trophy. Doug and Jack Jorgensen’s J/111 Picosa and Thomas Furlong’s Club Swan 42 Elusive took second and third places, respectively.

The City of San Francisco Trophy, which consists of one the golden spades used to break ground on the Golden Gate Bridge in 1933, was won by Karl Kwok and crew on the Pac 52 Team Beau Geste. Impressively, Team Beau Geste finished the series with a perfect scorecard, despite trailing Tom Holthus’s Bad Pak for the first half of today’s Bay tour.

A brilliant tactical manoeuvre at the Harding Rock mark, near the Golden Gate Bridge’s north tower, allowed Team Beau Geste to rocket ahead of the competition, ultimately locking in Kwok’s first regatta-won Rolex. Bad Pak and Manouch Moshayedi’s Rio rounded out the winner’s podium in this Grand Prix class.

One-design sailing has always been a core component of the StFYC’s Rolex Big Boat Series, and this year the Commodore’s Cup—awarded to the winner of the regatta’s largest one-design class—went to brothers Chris and Phil Perkins and their J/105 Good Timin’.

The Keefe-Kilborn Trophy was awarded to Wayne Koide and his crew aboard his Sydney 36 CR Encore, which decisively won the ORR-C class with seven straight firsts, while Gerard Sheridan’s Elan 40 Tupelo Honey and Bob Novy’s Frers 40 Jeannette earned the second and third highest rungs on the leaderboard. Impressively, Koide also won the ORR-C Class at the Rolex Big Boat Series in 2015.

The Richard Rheem Perpetual Trophy was presented to Michael Shlens and his Blade 2, who took top honours in the Farr 40 class. The Blade 2 crew was joined on the Farr 40 winner’s podium by James Bradford’s Bright Hour and M. Tony Pohl’s Twisted, who claimed second and third place, respectively. This is Blade 2’s second consecutive podium win at this regatta.

Finally, the St. Francis Perpetual Trophy, which was first awarded at the 1964 inaugural Big Boat Series, was presented to the late Sy Kleinman and his crew aboard his Schumacher 54 Swiftsure, which won the tightly contested ORR-A Class. Lorenzo Berho’s Kernan 70 Peligroso and Skip Ely’s Santa Cruz 52 Elyxir rounded out ORR-A’s top three finishers.

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement