Rolex Big Boat Series to Host 2009 Rolex US-IRC National Championship

June 30, 2009

Mayhem, Ashley Wolfe.

Diverse big boat fleet expected for national championship's first spin on west coast

Coinciding with the 45th anniversary of the Rolex Big Boat Series, the St. Francis Yacht Club's premier regatta will serve as the 2009 Rolex US-IRC National Championship. StFYC Commodore John McNeil sent the event's official Notice of Race - published as a glossy, 10-page color magazine - inviting over 500 North American sailors to the invitational regatta. Scheduled for September 10-13 on San Francisco Bay, racing includes divisions for IRC-rated entries and one-design classes. At the conclusion of four days of racing, specially engraved Rolex timepieces will be awarded to the St. Francis Yacht Club's six Perpetual Trophy winners. Full information, including the NOR, is posted on the official event website

"As the IRC rule continues its expansion throughout the U.S. it is only appropriate that we rotate the Rolex US-IRC National Championship to different areas of the country so that more competitors can participate," said US-IRC Executive Director Luiz Kahl. "I can think of no other place more appropriate to host it in 2009 than the St. Francis Yacht Club and the Rolex Big Boat Series. After all, the Rolex Big Boat Series is where IRC started in the U.S., back in 2004. With so many big events on the West Coast this year such as the Transpac Race, we expect a large turnout for fierce competition in this year's Series. All IRC competitors will be vying for the top prize: to become the 2009 US-IRC National Champion and proud owner of a new Rolex."

As expected, the 2009 Rolex Big Boat Series has attracted many of the top names in American sailboat racing and expected entries include Dan Woolery's King 40 Soozal (Alamo, Calif.), Jim Mitchell's Reichel/Pugh IRC 52 Vincitore (Zurich, SUI), and four TP52s: Ashley Wolfe's Mayhem (Vancouver, CAN); locals Tom Aikan and Mark Jones' chartered Flash with Paul Cayard expected onboard; and John Kilroy's Samba 52 (Los Angeles, Calif.), winner of the top IRC trophy during the 2008 Rolex Big Boat Series. One of the highly-anticipated "big boats" is John McLaurin's recently launched 69-foot Grand Prix Racer Pendragon VI. No stranger to Rolex Big Boat Series, McLaurin (Sherman, Oaks, Calif.) has competed in the regatta many times with his previous Pendragon yachts.

"We're anticipating an increase in numbers in the IRC classes," said Norman Davant, who is the regatta's co-chair along with StFYC Rear Commodore Pat Nolan. "I'm really happy with what we're hearing from the big boat programs, that many are planning to compete, and we anticipate optimum conditions which will take the larger IRC classes outside the Golden Gate Bridge."

Returning to the Bay will be the Melges 32 class, which made its first start at the 2007 Rolex Big Boat Series. With the class' world championship slated for StFYC in the fall of 2010, at the StFYC, a large contingent of this grand-prix class is expected.

Regatta Schedule

The St. Francis Yacht Club will officially welcome competitors on Wednesday, September 9 at the Rolex Commodore's Reception where it will be revealed which of the fleets will compete for each of the six St. Francis Perpetual Trophies - Richard Rheem, St. Francis, City of San Francisco, Atlantic, Keefe-Kilborn Memorial and the Commodore's Cup.

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. Daily racing video highlights will be shown during the evening socials compliments of Rolex, and available for viewing online by 9pm. The regatta ends with Sunday's final Rolex Trophy Ceremony where specially engraved Rolex timepieces will be awarded to the St. Francis Yacht Club's six Perpetual Trophy winners and to the Rolex US-IRC national champion.

The inaugural Rolex US-IRC National Championship was held in conjunction with the 2007 Block Island Race Week presented by Rolex where Bob and son Farley Towse's (Stamford, Conn.) Reichel/Pugh 66 Blue Yankee took the title. From there, the regatta moved to the Midwest where the Little Traverse Yacht Club's (LTYC) 48th Annual Regatta and One Design Series, fondly known as the "Ugotta Regatta" that follows the Mackinac Races each year, hosted the event. Bill Martin (Ann Arbor, MI) steered his Great Lakes 70 Stripes to win the 2008 title.

Owners and Organizing Authorities wishing to adopt IRC for their events should contact Luiz Kahl for help with the process The US SAILING Offshore office administers the IRC rule in the U.S. and yacht owners should contact for help with certificate application or with rating questions. For all US-IRC latest news, events and seminars check out the US-IRC web site at

About Rolex Watch U.S.A.
Since Rolex Watch U.S.A. first presented timepieces to America's Cup defenders in 1958, the company has consistently recognized and encouraged excellence in every important arena of competitive sailing, including elite athlete preparation, US SAILING championships, disabled sailing, and offshore, one-design and women's events.

Rolex Big Boat Series is part of the Rolex Yachting Portfolio that includes over 20 world-class sailing events around the world including the Rolex Miami OCR, International Rolex Regatta, New York Yacht Club 155th Annual Regatta presented by Rolex, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Rolex Fastnet Race, Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, Block Island Race Week presented by Rolex, Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship, Rolex Osprey Cup and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

For more information about the Rolex Big Boat Series, including entry lists and results, please visit

About St. Francis Yacht Club
Founded in 1927, St. Francis Yacht Club, within view of the Golden Gate Bridge, is a year-round host of over 40 regattas on San Francisco Bay. The club is renowned for its expertise in running world and national championships.

About US-IRC
The US-IRC Foundation, Inc. works in cooperation with US SAILING to support and develop the use of the IRC rule in the USA. US SAILING is the authorized body that issues IRC certificates under the auspices of the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC). The US-IRC's mission is to promote and enhance inshore and offshore yacht racing throughout the country by expansion of the use of the rule. An IRC certificate is, in effect, an international passport for a yacht, enabling it to travel across national and international borders using the same certificate wherever it goes. The supporting partners for the US-IRC rule are Rolex Watch U.S.A., Inc., New York Yacht Club, Storm Trysail Club and St. Francis Yacht Club.