September 12, 2008
Although the grey fogged-over conditions around the St. Francis Yacht Club seemed to deter spectators from gathering along the shore, building 10-15 knot breezes on San Francisco Bay were the only thing on the minds of competitors in the 111-boat fleet racing in the Rolex Big Boat Series. Principal Race Officers Kevin Reeds (Annapolis, MD) and Jim Taylor (San Francisco) started the fleet on time at 11am for the first of the days two races. By the end of racing, some six hours later, each competing boat had accumulated close to 30 miles under its keel.
In IRC C, Dave Kirby's (Manhattan Beach, CA) J/122 TKO took the lead from John Siegel (San Francisco) and his Wylie 42 Scorpio. "So far, so good," said Kirby of racing to date. Noting that the boat excels in conditions similar to today's wind range, Kirby explained that when it gets fluky, local knowledge comes in handy. "Norman Davant is the best tactician on this body of water," he said. "He nailed it. We port tacked the fleet at the first start and stayed in front and led for the whole race."
By the second race, the wind speed had increased, making things a little tricky not just for TKO, but for its competition. "Our main competition is Scorpio," continued Kirby. "They ended up over early and we ended up nailing the start. Fortunately we were able to hold off the Sydney 38s, which are faster than us but they give us time. Its hard to stay in front of them, they have symmetrical spinnakers and ours (spinnaker set-up) is a sprit. When going downwind they can bring the pole right back and drive lower."
In addition to Davant, who when not racing is the regattas chairman, StFYC board member Pat Nolan is among the 11-person crew. "The crew on the boat, theyre an amazing bunch of people," said Kirby. "You know were happy right now. We're in first by three points. We're not launched out in front of everybody, but we're comfortable in first. But, we're not going to sit back and relax.
Leaders in IRC A, B and C classes remain unchanged with Chip Megeath's (Tiburon, CA) Reichel/Pugh 45 Criminal Mischief leading IRC A; Brad Copper's (Point Richmond, CA) Custom Tripp 43 TNT leading IRC B; and White Dove, the Beneteau 40.7 owned by Mike Garl (San Francisco) leading IRC C.
In one-design action, Mario Yovkovs (San Francisco) Great Sensation moved up from third place to take over the lead in the 7-boat 1D35 class, while Edward Durbin (Richmond, CA) continued to lead the 6-boat Beneteau 36. 7 class.
For the J/120s, a small yet very competitive class, Barry Lewis' (San Francisco) Chance took over the lead from Steve Madeira's (Northeast Harbor, ME) Mr. Magoo in the 8-boat class.
"This was an interesting day because there were more wind shifts than what is typical here," said Lewis. "It was wonderful because we got in phase and stayed; we played every one that we could possibly play."
Lewis noted that he relied on tactician Doug Nugent (San Francisco) to put them in the best spot. "My plan was to go left early" said Nugent, who grew up sailing in Toronto, Canada. "But then there was a 20-degree left shift on the starting line and we ended up going off to the right, which was not what we wanted to do. We hung with the lift, it came back and we crossed the fleet. We played the shifts and stayed in front the whole race. It was a lucky shift."
Bartz Schneider (San Francisco) on Expeditious continued his winning ways, scoring a first and second place, and remains in the lead of the 10-boat Express 37 fleet. Brown Sugar, owned by Steve Brown (Santa Ana, CA) won the days other race and is in third overall behind second-place Golden Moon, owned by Kame Richards (Alameda, CA).
The top four positions in the 31-boat J/105 fleet held with Chris and Phil Perkins (both San Francisco) scoring a first and sixth, to edge out Rolf Kaiser and Scott Sellers (both San Francisco) Donkey Jack by one point. Scooter Simmons (Belvedere, CA) and his Blackhawk won the days second race and are in third overall.
Michael Illbruck had an impressive day in the Melges 32 fleet on his Pinta (Munich, GER), scoring a second and first place to take over the lead from John Porter (Lake Geneva, WI) on Full Throttle. Pieter Taselaar (New York, NY), who counts among his crew young standout Jeremy Wilmot, from the Morning Light film, and multiple Americas Cup competitor and Whitbread winner Marco Constant.
Racing continues tomorrow and ends with one, long Bay Tour race on Sunday. At the conclusion, St. Francis Yacht Club will host the Rolex Trophy Ceremony where specially engraved Rolex timepieces will be awarded to the St. Francis Yacht Clubs six Perpetual Trophy winners.
Regarded by sailors as one of the worlds premier sailboat racing events, the Rolex Big Boat Series joins the list of other prestigious Rolex-sponsored events in 2008: the Rolex Fastnet Race, the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, the Rolex Swan Cup and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
For more information about the Rolex Big Boat Series, contact the St. Francis Yacht Club Race Office at 415-563-6363 or www.stfyc.com. For daily racing videos, visit www.t2p.tv.
Rolex Big Boat Series 2008
Sept. 11-14, 2008 – Day 2 of racing, two races completed
Top 3 in each class
Position, Boat, Skipper, Hometown, Race 1-2-3-4, Total points
IRC A (9 boats)
1. Criminal Mischief, Chip Megeath, Tiburon, CA, 1-2-2-3, 8
2. Samba Pa Ti, John Kilroy, Jr, San Francisco, CA, 4-1-3-1, 9
3. Vincitore, Jim Mitchell, Zurich, SUI, 3-4-1-2, 10
IRC B (9 boats)
1. TNT, Brad Copper, Pt. Richmond, CA, 1-2-2-2, 7
2. Rancho Deluxe, Michael Diepenbrock, Newport, RI, 2-3-3-1, 9
3. Raincloud, Lorenzo Berho, Puerto Vallarta, MEX, 3-5-1-5, 14
IRC C (8 boats)
1. TKO, Dave Kirby, Manhattan Beach, CA, J/122, 1-3-1-1, 6
2. Scorpio, John Siegel, San Francisco, CA, 2-1-3-3, 9
3. BustinLoose, Jeff Pulford, Monterey, CA, 5-2-4-2, 13
IRC D (13 boats)
1. White Dove, Mike Garl, San Francisco, CA, 2-1-5-1, 9
2. Tupelo Honey, Gerard Sheridan, San Francisco, CA, 1-4-6-2, 13
3. Acabar, Jean-Yves Lendormy, Camden, ME, 7/30%-2-8-4, 21
1D35 (7 boats)
1. Great Sensation, Mario Yovkov, San Francisco, CA, 3-2-2-1, 8
2. Jazzy, Bob Turnbull, San Francisco, CA, 2-5-1-3, 11
3. Diablita, Gary Boell, Brickyard Cove, 1-4-4-2, 11
Beneteau 36.7 (6 boats)
1. Mistral, Edward Durbin, Richmond YC, 2-1-1-1, 5
2. Summer And Smoke, Pat Patterson, Angwin, CA, 3-4-2-3, 12
3. Bufflehead, Stuart Scott, Richmond YC, 1-2-6-4, 13
Express 37 (10 boats)
1. Expeditious, Bartz Schneider, San Francisco, CA, 1-2-1-2, 6
2. Golden Moon, Kame Richards, Alameda, CA, 2-4-2-4, 12
3. Brown Sugar, Steve Brown, Santa Ana, CA, 7-3-3-1, 14
J/105 (31 boats)
1. Good Timin, Phil Perkins, San Francisco, CA, 1-3-1-6, 11
2. Donkey Jack, Rolf Kaiser, San Francisco, CA, 2-4-2-4, 12
3. Blackhawk, Scooter Simmons, Belvedere, CA, 8-1-12-1, 22
J/120 (8 boats)
1. Chance, Barry Lewis, San Francisco, CA, 1-4-1-1, 7
2. Mr. Magoo, Steve Madeira, Northeast Harbor, ME, 3-1-2-2, 8
3. Desdemona, John Wimer, San Francisco, CA, 2-8-5-4, 19
Melges 32 (9 boats)
1. Pinta, Don Cowie, Munich, GER, 3-4-2-1, 10
2. Full Throttle, John Porter, Lake Geneva, WI, 1-3-3-4, 11
3. Bliksem, Pieter Taselaar, New York YC, 2-2-4-3, 11
Racing is scheduled for daily September 11-14, with the prize giving on Sunday serving as the culmination of an intense week of big boat racing.