The 41st Rolex Big Boat Series kicked off today on San Francisco Bay with 103 boats on the startline

The 41st Rolex Big Boat Series kicked off today on San Francisco Bay with 103 boats competing in four IRC and five one-design classes. Most of the competitors here are used to battling with fog and tricky current, but cold temperatures and light wind made for a distinctly unseasonable start to the regatta.

Two races were held in each fleet, with courses ranging in length from eight to 16 miles. At last evening’s Rolex Commodore’s Reception, the fleets designated for each of the six Perpetual Trophies were announced by St Francis Yacht Club Commodore Doug Holm.
The 90ft maxi Genuine Risk made its Big Boat Series debut today in IRC Class A, although the owner, Randall Pittman has sailed in this regatta before, but on a J/35.

Robbie Haines, onboard strategist explained how the 23-person crew came together. “We had a really good day today considering we haven’t all sailed together before,” he said. “Even though we didn’t beat Morning Glory, we were pleased with our boat speed. Even though we lost to them by about 45 seconds, we feel positive that we can beat them.. We just have to sail well and I believe we have the team to do well.” Overall IRC A leader is Beecom, Reichel/Pugh 72 owned by Isao Mita (Yokohama, Japan) with Gavin Brady sharing helming duties, and Pegasus 52, owned by Phillippe Kahn (Honolulu, Hawaii) in second.

In the three other IRC classes, Marda Santa Cruz 52 Marda Gras leads IRC B; John Siegel’s Wylie 42 Scorpio leads IRC C and Gary Mozer’s J/109 Current Obsession leads the IRC D class. All four IRC classes are competing for St. Francis Yacht Club Perpetual Trophies.

In the J/120 class, defending champion Steve Madeira scored a 3-1 to lead the 10-boat class with his boat Mr Magoo. Madeira is sailing with most of the same crew as his 2004 winning effort and chalked up his lead to consistency. “We absolutely work well together,” he said. “The racing is this class is so tight, so all we do is try to sail well and avoid the major mishaps like being over early and wrapping our kite (spinnaker) around the boat. Today’s second race was during max ebb of the current and it really worked in our favor. We were able to ride the 2kt current at the last windward mark and use it to pass Chance, our main competition, to take the lead. It was tight to the finish line, so we’re really happy we’re leading.”

The largest fleet here is the J/105 fleet with 33 entries and perennial favorite Good Timin’ leads with a 2-1 finish for the day. “We grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat,” said skipper Chris Perkins “We really consider ourselves tied for the lead with Scott Sellers and his gang on Donkey Jack since we both had a first and a second. Scott did a great job winning the first race.” An upset in the fleet was Tim Russell’s Aquavit scoring a ninth. “He is clearly one of the fastest boats out there and that will hurt him,” said Perkins.
Andy Costello is the only undefeated skipper in the fleet scoring two bullets. His Sydney 38 Double Trouble leads the six-boat class.

Two races are planned each day for Friday and Saturday, with one long, final race planned for Sunday.

Results (day 1 after two races)

IRC Class A (9 boats)

1. Isao Mita, Tokyo Japan, Beecom, R/P 72, 1-2, 3 points

2. Philippe Kahn, Honolulu, Hawaii, Pegasus 52, TP52, 3-1, 4

3. Mark Jones, San Francisco, Flash, TP52, 2-3, 5

IRC Class B (7 boats)

1. Marda Phelps, Seattle, Wash., Marda Gras, SC52, 3-1, 4 points

2. Robert Youngjohns, Woodside, Calif., Zephyra, DK46, 1-3, 4

3. Thomas B. Akin, Tiburon, Calif., Lightning, SC52, 4-2, 6

IRC C (9 boats)

1. John Siegel, San Francisco, Scorpio, Wylie 42, 2-1, 3 points

2. Steve Chamberlin, Richmond, Calif., Surprise, Schumacher 50, 3-3, 6

3. Norman Olson, San Francisco, Just In Time, First 42.7, 4-2, 6

IRC D (9 boats)

1. Gary Mozer, Long Beach, Calif., Current Obsession, J/109, 1-2, 3 points

2. John Clauser, Walnut Creek, Calif., Bodacious, One Tonner, 2-3, 5

3. Gerard Sheridan, San Francisco, Tupelo Honey, Elan 40, 4-4, 8

ID35 (8 boats)

1. Chris Busch, San Diego, Calif., Wild Thing, 2-1, 3 points

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

3. Gary Fanger, San Francisco, Sweet Sensation, 4-3, 7

J120 (10 boats)

1. Steve Madeira, Menlo Park, Mr Magoo, 3-1, 4 points

2. Don Payan/Dennis Jermaine, Hillsborough, 2-4, 6

3, John Sylvia, Tiburon, Oui B5, 4-3, 7YC

Express 37 (11 boats)

1. Mick Shlens, Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., Blade Runner, 3-2, 5 points

2. Mark Dowdy, San Francisco, Eclipse, 1-5, 6

3. Caleb Everett, San Francisco, Stewball, 2-6, 8

Sydney 38 (6 boats)

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

2. Peter Krueger, Reno, NV, Howl, 4-2, 6

3. Jeffrey Pulford, Corral de Tierra, Calif., Bustin’ Loose, 2-5, 7

J/105 (33 boats)

1. Chris Perkins/ Dave Wilson, San Francisco, Good Timin’, 2-1, 3 points

2. Scott Sellers, San Francisco, Donkey Jack, 1-2, 3

3. Peter Wagner, San Francisco, Nantucket Sleighride, 3-3, 6

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