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hi and goodbye

race report

hi and goodbye

The Bay Tour….it’s the final day of racing, with only one last race to clinch or grab the win. Some made it and some did not. While you’d expect an agony of defeat reaction, Brad Copper took a second on his boat TNT, but was grinning ear to ear. "Because I’m happy!" he said. It’s the last day of the Rolex Big Boat Series, the 20nm race is over, his boat is in one piece and he came in second to perennial winner Soozal. Kevin Reeds, the grand poobah of the event this year said that while there wasn’t as much wind, "It was consistent, and while not extreme, there was almost no damage. I couldn’t be more proud."

A big question to those who’ve watched and participated in the races year after year is what will the future of the Rolex Big Boat Series hold given the lower attendance this year? "Next year we’ll have over 100 boats, with the Melges Worlds here the following week, everyone will be here." The race will be run later in the month, September 26-29. What about the big boats? "We’re getting the biggest boats we can, but they just aren’t out there the way they used to be." So, Rolex Race Week? "No, it will always be Rolex Big Boat Series!" San Francisco is one of the most scenic race venues in the world and while this was a low year, the event still gets good visibility thanks to the vistas. More here in this thread.

Genny Tulluch sailed this week onboard Peter Stoneberg’s Shadow, pictured here with the SIG 45. As they won the regatta yesterday, today was a victory lap. They took friends aboard and everyone got a chance at the helm. Funny story though she said they had a challenge at the finish when a paddle boarder got directly in their way. They had to pass the finish line, drop their kite and turn back around to properly cross the finish line. As they passed by, she realized who it was and said, "We almost drove over Jimmy Spithill." At the trophy ceremony, Peter Stoneberg, Commodore of the St. Frrancis Yacht Club and owner of Shadow, took a break from handing out trophies and accepted one (shown at left with Kevin Reeds).

"That was the longest three hours of my life!," rejoiced Shannon Ryan, pictured above and one of three co-owners from J/105 Donkey Jack. They came into the day tied for first place with Godot and didn’t win the day, but beat Godot and won the regatta on the countback. This year it was Shannon Ryan’s turn to take home the Rolex and she was elated.

On board Double Trouble, who really dominated their class, Jeff Madrigalli seemed at ease as he helped to pack up the boat. "Today was a tough day, but the reaches were great. This boat loves to reach!"

In the J120 Fleet, with crews who’ve by and large sailed together for the last 10 years, Desdemona beat out Chance today, but it wasn’t without a fight. Half way up the first beat, owner John Wimer wasn’t sure they had it, but split with Chance and went in favorable current north of Alcatraz while Chance went south. When they met again, Desdemona crossed them on starboard and kept them astern the rest of the day. After the weather mark, he said, "it was a drag race, we just kept trying to go fast." Grace Dances who won the race today took third overall, "sailed a perfect race," Wimer said.

Rio, Vesper and Meanie were among the biggest boats, at 52′, competing for a Rolex. Ken Keefe sailed onboard the TP52 Vesper, and in true corinthian style, came out first with, "The Rio guys were stronger than last year and will be better next year. We’ve sailed all year and still aren’t as good as the the European TP52s." Vesper, which is Jim Swartz’s newest boat, continues in the James Bond related naming. A Vesper is what Bond drinks half gin, half vodka. Whatever works – he went home with a Rolex.

Next year, the Rolex Big Boat Series will be later in the month, thanks to another little regatta sailing here during July, August and early September. – Paige Brooks.