Lively breeze provides plenty of excitement for the 103 teams racing outside Golden Gate Bridge

Year after year competitors are drawn to San Francisco Bay and the Rolex Big Boat Series because of conditions exactly like the ones offered yesterday. Bright sunshine and 15-25 knot wind supplied the perfect setting, and the 103 boats knocking through the waves in front of the St Francis Yacht Club provided the entertainment for hundreds of spectators lining the docks.

In IRC class A, Philippe Kahn’s (Honolulu, Hawaii) TP52 Pegasus 52 took over the lead of the nine-boat fleet, while Beecom, Isao Mita’s R/P 72 from Japan, slipped into second despite posting two first-place finishes. Gavin Brady, who alternates helming duties with Mita summarized the new boat’s strategy. “We try to do some damage to the guys off the start line to get an initial lead on them,” he explained. “We get into our position as quickly as we can and then tack on them to get 10 minutes ahead. With the little boats, we try not to get stuck behind them after the start because then we can get trapped. One of the hardest things to do is to break loose from the Z86s. We didn’t see Pegasus until the finish line as they get up and plane and we don’t. The level of racing if very high.”

All four of the IRC classes were sent on a long second race outside the Golden Gate Bridge where 8-foot waves gave the fleet the ride of their lives. “I was a little nervous going out there,” said Brady of the conditions that had plagued him in the 1996 Mumm 36 Worlds which he ultimately won. “We didn’t want today’s conditions to have a negative affect on us; luckily we had some pretty good gains.”

Morning Glory, the MaxZ86 owned by Hasso Platner (Germany), continued to battle it out with Genuine Risk, the Dubois 90 owned by Randall Pitman. According to Bob Billingham, one of what he calls “several old guys” grinding downwind on Morning Glory, the weather caused a lot of smiles since many of the competitors here have never been outside of the Golden Gate. “Today was the most fun than I’ve ever had on a sailboat,” he said. “We were hauling the mail under the bridge doing 23 knots. When we came back inside, we reeled in Genuine Risk and overtook them. We owe them a little bit of time, but the performance was just enough for us to stay ahead of them.”

Zephyra, the DK46 owned by Robert Youngjohns leads the seven-boat IRC B class, with Jim Gregory’s Morpheus in second and Lightning, the SC52 owned by Thomas Aikin in third.

In IRC class C, John Siegel’s Wylie 42 Scorpio continued its winning ways to maintain its lead of the nine-boat class, over second-place Surprise, the Schumacher 50 owned by Steve Chamberlain with Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Liz Baylis driving.
Gary Mozer J/109 Current Obsession scored two firsts and leads the nine-boat IRC D class with John Clauser’s in second.
A shake-up occurred in the J/105 class with Scott Sellers and Donkey Jack taking the lead of the 33-boat fleet. With a 1-9 finish, Sellers stands tied on 13 points with Peter Wagner on Nantucket Sleighride (but leads on the countback). Chris Busch and Wild Thing continued dominating the ID35 class with two wins and holds a comfortable margin on second-place Midsummer, owned by Stig Osterberg.


IRC Class A (9 boats)

1. Philippe Kahn, Honolulu, Hawaii, Pegasus 52, TP52, 3-1-1-1, 6 points

2. Isao Mita, Tokyo Japan, Beecom, R/P 72, 1-2-2-2, 7

3. Mark Jones, San Francisco, Flash, TP52, 2-3-4-4, 13

IRC Class B (7 boats)

1. Robert Youngjohns, Woodside, Calif., Zephyra, DK46, 1-3-1-1, 6 points

2. Jim Gregory, Danville, Calif., Morpheus, Custom, 2-4-3-2, 11

3. Thomas B. Akin, Tiburon, Calif., Lightning, SC52, 4-2-2-4, 12

IRC C (9 boats)

1. John Siegel, San Francisco, Scorpio, Wylie 42, 2-1-2-1, 6 points

2. Steve Chamberlin, Richmond, Calif., Surprise, Schumacher 50, 3-3-1-3, 10

3. Norman Olson, San Francisco, Just In Time, First 42.7, 4-2-4-2, 12

IRC D (9 boats)

1. Gary Mozer, Long Beach, Calif., Current Obsession, J/109, 1-2-1-1, 5 points

2. John Clauser, Walnut Creek, Calif., Bodacious, One Tonner, 2-3-4-4, 13

3. Gerard Sheridan, San Francisco, Tupelo Honey, Elan 40, 4-4-3-3, 14

ID35 (8 boats)

1. Chris Busch, San Diego, Calif., Wild Thing, 2-1-1-1, 5 points

2. Stig Osterberg, Port Townsend, Wash., Midsummer, 1-2-3-4, 10

3. Michael Goldfarb, Seattle, Wash., Extreme, 5-6-2-2, 15

J120 (10 boats)

1. Steve Madeira, Menlo Park, Mr Magoo, 3-1-3-1, 8 points

2. Don Payan/Dennis Jermaine, Hillsborough, Calif., Dayenu, 2-4-1-5, 12

3, John Sylvia, Tiburon, Calif., Oui B5, 4-3-2-7, 16

Express 37 (11 boats)

1. Mark Dowdy, San Francisco, Eclipse, 1-5-4-1, 11 points

2. Caleb Everett, San Francisco, Stewball, 2-6-2-2, 12

3. Mick Shlens, Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., Blade Runner, 3-2-3-7, 15

Sydney 38 (6 boats)

1. Andy Costello, Novato, Calif., Double Trouble, 1-1-2-2, 6 points

2. Peter Krueger, Reno, NV, Howl, 4-2-1-4, 11

3. Craig French/Matt Lezin, Santa Cruz, Calif., Animal, 3-4-5-1, 13

J/105 (33 boats)

1. Scott Sellers, San Francisco, Donkey Jack, 1-2-1-9, 13 points

2. Peter Wagner, San Francisco, Nantucket Sleighride, 3-3-6-1, 13

3. Tim Russell, San Francisco, Aquavit, 9-5-8-2, 24