Rolex Big Boat Series
San Francisco, CA, USA

New Division for Sport Boats Announced; Event Website Launched

Racing towards San Francisco, Photo credit: Rolex / Daniel ForsterWith two weeks until the early registration deadline of September 1 for the 2010 Rolex Big Boat Series, organizers at St. Francis Yacht Club have announced the inclusion of a new IRC class for light displacement sport boats. In addition, the new official website is now live for the regatta scheduled for September 16-19, and it includes links to the preliminary entry list, schedule of events and a link to the online apparel store.

“We have had many conversations with owners of light displacement sport boats who want to race in Rolex Big Boat Series, but know that the IRC rating won’t benefit them if they are grouped with some of the heavier boats," said Norman Davant, St. Francis Yacht Club’s regatta chair. “We really want to include this class. They are fast and plane downwind, and it is super fun to see. With San Francisco’s reliable heavy-air conditions we could be in for a great show."

There is a significant group of boats on the West Coast that fit this profile, such as the J/125, Farr 36, Santa Cruz 37, the new J/111, Schock 40 and several custom racing boats. “None of those boats rate competitive in IRC against the purpose-built IRC boats,” said Davant. “The best racing is always similar boats racing against similar boats regardless of the rating rule.”

Approximately half of the sport boat class will come from the Lake Tahoe, Calif. area. The Rolex Big Boat Series will be the first San Francisco Bay regatta for the group, which plans to also race there throughout the winter months.

“We are very excited about a sport boat class in the Rolex Big Boat Series," said Richard Courcier (Lake Tahoe), who campaigns his Farr 36 Wicked. “Boats like ours, a Farr 36, are very light and very fast for their size, so we never really rate well under IRC. But that has not stopped us from competing the last two years in the Big Boat Series, because we consider that to be the best racing for the year on the West Coast. Even though we would always end up at the bottom because the way the rating worked, we were by far the smallest boat in B division, racing against boats from 48 to 70 feet in length. If we were dropped down into C division against boats ranging from 38 to 44, I think we would have done very well, competing for a top spot, but the ratings just don’t work out that way."

Davant went on to explain that Soozal, Daniel Woolery’s King 40 that won its IRC class at 2009 Rolex Big Boat Series, is considered “the best 40-foot IRC boat on the planet” and would have an advantage, based on rating dissimilarities, against a boat such as a J/125. The J/125 is dramatically faster, but can’t be competitive because of the difference in the rating based primarily on displacement.

“We are extremely excited about having a sport boat class where we can now be competitive in such a world-class series as the Rolex Big Boat Series," continued Courcier. “We wo/uld like to thank Regatta Chairman Norman Davant and everyone else on the race committee for going out of their way to help the sport boats have some fun this year!"

Bottom line for St. Francis Yacht Club is to give as many boats as possible the opportunity to participate in one of the world’s premier regattas. “As long as we get a minimum of six boats, we can give them their own class and a chance to race amongst themselves. They’ll have fair racing,” said Davant. “That is our goal: fair racing.”

New Event Website

The new official website went live this week and includes all of the innovations debuted at the 2009 regatta and a few new additions. Developed to supply competitors, fans and family with up-to-the-minute racing information, the website will tie together racecourse blogging, Twitter feeds, Facebook community interaction, live video and daily video highlights produced by In addition to the Notice of Race, the preliminary entry list, schedule of events and a link to the online apparel store can be accessed.

The 46th annual regatta, hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club, takes place September 16-19 and includes two races per day, with one long, Bay tour on Sunday. Over 100 boats competing in one-design classes– 1D35, Beneteau 36.7, Express 37, J/105, J/120, Melges 32 and Cal 40 —and divisions in IRC will vie for one of six Perpetual Trophies. Results, photos, videos and live tracking will be posted to the event website

At the end of each race day, the St. Francis Yacht Club, along with title sponsor Rolex, will host a variety of social events including the Rolex Crew Reception on Wednesday and the Rolex Party on Thursday. On Friday, the popular Mount Gay Crew Party is scheduled. The regatta ends with Sunday’s final Rolex Trophy Ceremony.

Rolex Big Boat Series is part of the Rolex Yachting Portfolio that includes over 20 world-class sailing events that take place around the world including the Rolex Miami OCR, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Rolex Fastnet Race, Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex, and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. For more information visit, the online press portal for Rolex yachting events.