North Sails LOFT NEWS
2019 ROLEX BIG BOAT SERIES
From Low To High On The San Francisco Bay
It is safe to say that it’s never a dull experience sailing in the San Francisco bay. For the crews taking part in the 55th edition of Rolex Big Boat Series, the culmination of sailing events in the bay area, there was a mix of confusion and unfamiliarity for the first two days of racing, as light winds and scorching sunshine limited time on the water. “Sailing in shorts and a t-shirt is not typical for San Francisco in September” noted local North rep and regional manager Seadon Wijsen. “But it was pretty awesome to do so, and we had just enough wind to sail one race each day”. With wind picking up later in the afternoons, boats enjoyed 12-18 knots with beautiful sunshine on the iconic waters.
The first two days of racing were anticipated to be light, and boats encountered exactly what the weather man predicted. That particular weather man being expert meteorologist and guest speaker Chris Bedford from Sailing Weather Service. Chris joined racing expert and sailing legend Peter Isler as part of the North Sails pre race briefing, held at the St Francis yacht club on the morning of race day one. Peter was able to provide teams with valuable insight into navigating the complex bay waters and tides, while Chris provided tactical weather forecasting for the four days. Commenting on the Expert Briefing, local North rep Pete McCormick said,”At North Sails we aim to add value and experiences to the events we support, so bringing experts like Peter Isler and Chris Bedford in to provide expert advice really benefits every boat and sailor. That’s what it’s all about.”
With the first two days permitting two total races, everyone was delighted when the full on San Francisco breeze returned for the weekend. On Saturday, 18-24 knots quickly became 24-30, with gusts hitting up to 35 later in the afternoon. This proved too much for some, with three boats in the race losing their rigs.
Kuai, the melges 32 owned by local Daniel Thielman was on a mission to dominate the regatta, and excelled in all conditions to score five bullets out of six races, taking the win for the ORR B division. “Daniel and his team really put in the work for this win. They prepare the hardest and it’s great to see with a well deserved win” Seadon Wisjen commented.
Ray Paul and his crew on Blue, the Swan 53 battled it out in the OOR A fleet to take second place at the end of the weekend. Claiming a bullet on the first and last race, they just scathed the top position on the podium by one point and four seconds.
For the final day of racing, teams enjoyed cool temperatures, gathering breeze and flooding waters to take on the bay distance tour. Ending just off of the St Francis Yacht Club gave a perfect stadium style finish to end the regatta.
As part of North Sails’ commitment to supporting the Rolex Big Boat Series, Certified Service experts were on hand each day at the North Sails dockside lounge to pick up sails for overnight repair. “The weather on the bay is always so unpredictable, and this regatta surely represented that” commented Sailmaker Charlie Jenkins, “ We want to make sure all boats have the support to be able to get back on the race course, so having our team of sailmakers on standby at the club is a priority for us.”