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  Big Boat Series Retrospective

"In light of new information not available to us yesterday, we regret that we must cancel the 2001 St. Francis Yacht Club Big Boat Series scheduled for this weekend. Some, but by no means all, of the reasons include President Bush's call for a National Day of Prayer on Friday, cancellation of most sporting events, and continued transportation difficulties.

"Many have gone to extraordinary efforts not only to put this event on but also to get their boats here and ready to go forward. This is a very difficult time for our nation and our hearts go out to the families of those who perished in this terrible national tragedy."

With those terse words, the St. Francis YC called off the 2001 Big Boat Series, scheduled for September 13-16. After the tragic events of Tuesday, September 11, the club had immediately canceled all racing and social activities on Thursday and Friday, with the regatta to be condensed into a five-race series over the weekend. Two days later, as the magnitude of the disaster sank in, race officials wisely pulled the plug on the abbreviated regatta.

The biggest Big Boat Series in history - 119 boats were entered, including 35 pioneers poised to sail under the fledgling Americap II rule - was suddenly gone, another casualty of the new world order. The St. Francis YC will return all entry fees with a note encouraging the owners to donate the $500 to charity. They'll also return five expensive watches to sponsor Rolex, which had generously offered them as trophies for the most prestigious classes.

The canceled Series left a big hole in the West Coast sailing community's normal September ritual, not to mention a rather significant gap in the editorial content of Latitude's October issue. To fill the pages, we decided to brush off and update our September 1993 article titled 30 Years of the Big Boat Series - Thanks for the Memories. We just don't have the heart to dwell on the canceled 38th Big Boat Series and the sad, strange reasons behind it - but we're still game to celebrate the 37 previous great years of this event.

So, once again, we invite you to sit back, crack open a cold one - and enjoy a stroll down memory lane.

1964 - Young Bob 'RC' Keefe convinced Commodore Stan Natcher that St. Francis YC should create a series to showcase big boat yachting talent from around the world. Despite sending out a number of invitations - including one to Queen Elizabeth, who owned a 64-footer called Foxhound - Keefe could only attract nine West Coast CCA boats to the first event ('Cruising Club of America' was the popular handicap rule back then). Jim Kilroy's brand new aluminum Kialoa II was the pre-race favorite, but Jim Wilhite's S&S 63 yawl Athene ended up winning by a scant quarter of a point. Jim Michaels' classic S&S 72-foot yawl Baruna was third. Other boats in attendance were Kamalii, Audacious, Ocean Queen, Odyssey, Orion and Santana.

The first race went up to Duxbury Reef, then to the Lightship and back to the finish. Unfortunately, the fleet stalled out coming home through the Gate and no one finished until 11 p.m. "We all said the hell with that!" remembers Keefe. "From then on, all our races were on the Cityfront." The trophy at stake, the St. Francis Perpetual, cost the then-princely sum of $10,000, making it the most expensive yachting trophy in the world. Sadly, the 24-karat masterpiece was turned into a "molten softball" in StFYC's '76 clubhouse fire.

1965 - Though originally conceived as a biennial event, the inaugural series was such fun that a 1965 regatta was quickly organized. Jokingly labelled the 'Barient Company Annual Sales Meeting' (Keefe, Michaels and Orient's Tim Mosely were affiliated with that organization), the regatta brought up a number of 'clients' from down south. It also proved to be an effective 'feeder' for the following week's Stag Cruise to Tinsley Island. Sixteen boats showed up this year; Grant Hoag's 20-year-old Vixen, a tiller-driven 55-foot yawl, was the unlikely overall winner. The crew had to man pumps all the way around the course, and in one race actually considered beaching the boat because they couldn't keep up with the leaks.

1966 - Baruna finally won after two near-misses. Coming in second in the 10-boat fleet was Sirius, followed by Athene and Orient. Keefe, Bob McCulloch, Jack Feller, Ted Schoonmaker, Denny Jordan and others kept refining the regatta format, which then consisted of only four races (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday). The starting line, previously right off the clubhouse, was moved down the Bay for safety reasons.

1967 - Viet Nam, Summer of Love, bell bottoms - did anyone really care about the Big Boat Series? Actually, ten boats did: Baruna and Kialoa II each finished with 11.75 points; Baruna won on the tiebreaker. They were followed by Chubasco, Stormvogel, and Spirit.

1968 - The first winner of the newly created City of San Francisco Trophy (aka 'The Shovel') was Theo Stephens' S&S 47 Alpha, built at his famous Stockton boatyard. Stephens beat a small fleet which included Andale, Robon III, Gem and Bohemia. The SF Perpetual was not contested. The late '60s through the mid-'70s were the 'S&S Years' - seemingly everyone had one of their designs.

1969 - Winner of the City of San Francisco Trophy was Eugene Trepte's beautiful S&S 51 Brushfire. Burke Sawyer drove Aranji to two bullets in the early going, but ultimately fell to second in the 14-boat fleet. Boats ranged in size from 47 to 57 feet this year.

1970 - Lightning, Theo Stephens' new aluminum S&S 57, took the Perpetual with his brother Barre, Len Delmas, Kevin O'Connell, Tom Conroy and Peter Sutter pulling the strings. Lightning was a rocketship upwind in a breeze, though a 'brick' in light air. The height of her mast was scientifically calculated - it was designed to just barely fit under the three drawbridges between here and Stockton!

1971 - Mark Johnson's legendary Alan Gurney-designed 73-footer Windward Passage was the top big boat, easily pounding Ken DeMeuse's Blackfin. They were so far ahead in one race that John Rumsey actually went water-skiing behind Passage going down the Cityfront! Lightning won the only other class, defeating Amorita and Warrior. In 1971, IOR was introduced both worldwide and at the BBS, a change which would soon swell the racing ranks. (15 boats)

1972 - Jack Keefe, 'father of the modern BBS', took over the responsibility of promoting and running the regatta from his younger brother Bob, who was having a C&C 39 named Shillelagh built for himself at the time. Jack manned that post faithfully until the mid-'80s. There were no 'big boats' this year, but Bill Pascoe's Newport Beach-based Ericson 46 Bright Star won the City of San Francisco Trophy, while Bill Clute's yellow Ericson 39 Chiquita won the inaugural Richard Rheem Trophy. Tribute, Yucca, Peregrina, Finesse Il and Salty Dog were some of the stronger competitors. This was a windy year, and the IOR boats (as opposed to CCA 'yachts') began to reveal their nasty habits. (31 boats)

1973 - Three perpetual trophies were contested for the first time: Passage match-raced Blackfin again in the main arena, while Warrior and Lightning had their own match race series for the City of SF Trophy. Naturally, Passage and Lightning won. Nat Rat, a Los Angeles-based Tartan 41 sailed by Dick Deaver, won the Rheem, followed by Resolute and Another Girl. This was a year of 'medium' fiberglass production boats such as C&C 39s, Newport 41s and Morgan 42s. Most were pretty out of control downwind. (18 boats)

1974 - Lightning was the top big boat, beating Aoranji and Aranji; Frank Kawalkowski's PJ 48 Sirona won the City of SF over a pair of Ericson 46s and C&C 43s; and Regardless, Bob Cole's new Tartan 41, tied with Deception in the large Richard Rheem class. Shillelagh, Another Girl, Sunchaser, Mistress III, Blitz and Tenacity were also players in the Rheem division. The protest committee had its busiest year to date; another highlight was Wednesday's clubhouse reach in 35 knots against a strong ebb. Rock'n roll! (22 boats)

1975 - The mid-'70s were the glory days for SORC and the IOR; they were also the end of the S&S era and the beginning of Doug Peterson's reign. Southern California boats swept all three divisions this year: Hawkeye, David Cuckler's odd-looking new King 48 bilgeboarder, and Vendetta, Tom Tobin and Art DeFever's Peterson Two Tonner, had perfect records in their classes. Saudade, Bill Pascoe's S&S 47, had three bullets and a second. Other visiting dignitaries included Heather and Scaramouche, both from Seattle, and Roy Disney's 52-ft Shamrock from L.A. (29 boats)

1976 - Jack Rooklyn's Miller/Lexcen-designed Ballyhoo came up from Australia to clobber legendary ocean racers Ragtime, Kialoa and Windward Passage. This was maybe the windiest year ever: Steve Taft recalls seeing 47 knots apparent while tacking past Alcatraz on Improbable! In the first evening 'side show' recorded, a fleet of 6-Meters squared off in the eliminations for the Am-Aus Cup. Hundreds of 'shareholders' in the club's St. Francis VI watched in disbelief as Tom Blackaller rammed another boat and dismasted their investment right in front of the Men's Grill - a true 'Kodak Moment'! Winner of the inaugural Keefe-Kilborn Trophy was Lu Taylor's Peterson 40 Racy. IOR II - Whistle Wing V; IOR III - High Roler; IOR IV - Les Harlander's Mirage, a 40-foot C&C Canada's Cup design.

1977 - Not a 'big boat' year, but the competition was stiff nonetheless. 'Name' boats included Natoma, Saudade, Finesse, Cadenza, Bohemia, Racy, Allegro, Oli-Oli and others. However, all eyes were on Dave Allen's breakthrough Holland 40 Imp, fresh off her stunning victories at the SORC and Admiral's Cup. Imp battered the West Coast Peterson-designed two tonners (Racy, Vendetta, Cadenza and Incredible), solidifying her legend. Due to the tragic fire at the clubhouse earlier in the year, shoreside festivities occurred under a big tent on the lawn. The trophy ceremony literally took place in the parking lot. IOR I - Lightning; IOR II - Imp; IOR III - High Roler; IOR IV - Mirage.

1978 - Biggest series to date, necessitating a fifth class for the first time - hence the Atlantic Perpetual Trophy, won by Bill Sullivan's Peterson 43 Blue Norther. Other trends included the largest entry to date (Fred Priess' 84-ft Christine); a record number of spectators (thanks in part to the superb new clubhouse) and more women crewing on boats than ever before. This was also the year when crews began having to park down in Crissy Field to make room for fire engines or emergency vehicles (shuttle buses came a bit later). Maxi - Windward Passage; IOR II - Swiftsure; IOR
III - Leading Lady; IOR IV - Lois Lane. (46 boats)

1979 - A 'little' boat series again. Swiftsure, High Roler, Wings and Brown Sugar were supposed to win, but none of them did. The bad boys on Brown Sugar, in fact, never finished the series: they had the dubious distinction of being the only boat ever removed from the BBS by the Race Committee for conduct unbecoming of gentlemen, or words to that effect. Other highlights/lowlights: the last day's dockside swim party/water fight between the crews of Swiftsure and Hawkeye; the inclusion of several Olson 30s for the first and last time (they got crushed); and the straight-bullet performance of John Reynold's new Peterson 46 Ghost in IOR II. IOR I - Hawkeye; IOR III - Leading Lady; IOR IV - Inca. (37 boats)

1980 - A great year for spectators, featuring memorable death rolls, crash-and-burns, and assorted carnage. Five maxis and two ULDBs (Drifter and Merlin) sailed in two divisions of the St. Francis Perpetual Trophy for the first time. Bob Cole's squeaky new Farr 52 Zamazaan turned heads, as did Neville Crichton's controversial Davidson 45 Shockwave until it dismasted in the last race. 1980 was also the year that Long Beach Race Week, the SoCal BBS clone, debuted. Maxi - Windward Passage; ULDB 70 - Merlin; IOR I - Zamazaan; IOR II - Jetstream; IOR III - Leading Lady; IOR IV - Big Wig. (59 boats)

1981- Eight SC 50s were the 'big boats' in the biggest fleet seen yet. Bob Brockhoff and Jim DeWitt chartered Silver Streak and won, a rare thing - rented boats seldom win the BBS. Two new grand prix boats straight-bulleted their classes: Clay Bernard's Davidson 50 Great Fun and Bill Power's Holland 43 High Roler. Bill Clute's new Peterson 48 Annabelle Lee had four bullets and a deuce. . . Bravura discovered the rock at the end of the harbor breakwater, known ever since as 'Irv's Rock' - and boats still hit it. Lots of heavies in attendance this year: Dennis Conner (Swiftsure), Rod Davis (High Roler), Tom Whidden (Love Machine V) and many more. SC 50 - Silver Streak; IOR I - Great Fun; IOR III - Annabelle Lee; IOR III - High Roler; IOR IV - Big Wig. (61 boats)

1982 - The two-boat maxi division was a bust (Kialoa slaughtered the Jeff Madrigali-driven Condor of Bermuda) and the wind was mostly light and fluky. In one race, the entire fleet 'parked' together at YRA #8 for hours! Talent in the four IOR classes was abundant; Dave Fenix's new Peterson 55 Bullfrog, with Steve Taft driving, was the stand-out performer of the week. Maxi - Kialoa; IOR I - Bullfrog; IOR II - Bravura; IOR III - Clockwork; IOR IV - Shenandoah. (52 boats)

1983 - This was the heyday of local IOR racing, with 33 of 52 boats hailing from the Bay Area. Al Schultz and Vicki Lawrence sailed their two-week-old Camouflage to a near-perfect record in her debut; Larry Harvey and Bill Twist won their respective classes in their 'small boats'; Secret Love 'fouled' a tanker in one of the most celebrated instances of interfering with commercial traffic. SC 50 - Oaxaca; IOR I - Bullfrog; IOR II - Camouflage; IOR III - Brooke Ann; IOR IV - Salute. (52 boats)

1984 - The BBS becomes legal, celebrating its 21st birthday. And what a party! Boomerang topped a six-boat maxi field; Tomahawk and Bondi Tram, fresh from the '84 Clipper Cup, trounced their classes. Bill Twist's Blade Runner made her local debut. The 'all women' team on Strider, led by Chris Corlett, enlivened the scene. This was the biggest BBS to date, and many say the best. Maxi - Boomerang; IOR I - Tomahawk; IOR II - Blade Runner; IOR III - Clockwork; One Ton - Bondi Tram. (68 boats)

1985 - Four sleds constituted the 'big boat' class. At the opposite end of the spectrum, John MacLaurin and Kimo Worthington began their Pendragon dynasty. Glory collided with Passion, nearly sinking the latter. This series featured great weather, the less-than-well-received plastic wrist bands to access the club, and saw the end of the traditional 'Wednesday Businessman's Special' (the 'spectator' race was moved back to a 1 p.m. start from 3 p.m. in the interest of better wind and fairer racing). Some people lament that change to this day. ULDB 70 - Blondie; IOR I - Crazy Horse; IOR II - High Roler; IOR III - Lobo; One Ton - Pendragon. (54 boats)

1986 - The 'big boats' were nine SC 50s this year; Gary Appleby's Farr 40 Sagacious came up from Australia to win the subjective 'overall boat of the series', a new award; bumper stickers and buttons proclaiming 'Shit Happens' made their first recorded appearance; Shockwave's 'Twisted Sisters' set a torrid fashion pace. SC 50 - Racy II; IOR I - Infinity; IOR II - Roller; IOR III - Sleeper; One Ton - Sagacious. (53 boats)

1987 - Mongoose defeated four other sleds; Pendragon won 'overall performer' award (dropped after this series); Peter Stocker lost a bet and picked up the dinner tab for the Blade Runner, Bondi Tram and Sidewinder crews at Mulherns, probably the most expensive BBS dinner ever. General Hospital dismasted in front of the clubhouse. ULDB 70 - Mongoose; SC 50 - Earl of Mar; IOR I - Jubilation; IOR II - Insatiable; One Ton - Pendragon. (45 boats)

1988 - The Big Boat Series' 25th anniversary, as well as IOR's last big hurrah in this country. Everything fell into place to make this a fabulous event - it followed a maxi year at the Kenwood Cup and the One Ton Worlds held two weeks prior on the Bay. All the top talent was there. Raul Gardini and Paul Cayard teamed up on Il Moro to decimate eight other maxis with five bullets, while Tom Blackaller called tactics on the victorious Great News against nine hot 50s. Blade Runner hooked a buoy with their lazy runner and inverted her mast three feet, but it didn't break. The Peter Gilmour-driven maxi Sovereign broke theirs, however. It makes us teary-eyed
just thinking about this great series - arguably the last of the classic Big Boat Series. Maxi - Il Moro di Venezia; IOR 50 - Great News; IOR II - Shockwave; One Ton - Pendragon. (38 boats)

1989 - Entries and interest declined for the fifth straight year - surely, this was the BBS's darkest hour. Cadillac sponsored this teeny series (the first time sponsorship was allowed) and ESPN televised it, heavy on the sleds. Taxi Dancer cooperated by dismasting for their cameras. A dismal year for the BBS! ULDB 70 - Mongoose; SC 50 - Hana Ho; IOR I - Shockwave; IOR II - Pendragon. (24 boats)

1990 - After the previous year's debacle, it was time for drastic measures. Accordingly, Steve Taft, Tom Allen and Don Trask unveiled a whole new look: the series was shortened from its previous weeklong format to six races over four days. Two different courses were used for the first time. And the highly-touted IMS rule debuted to mixed reviews, while IOR wheezed through its death throes. Meanwhile, the rest of the series quietly went one design, with the J/35s and Express 37s apparently becoming fixtures. A 'wild card' class, the Farallon Clippers, beefed up the numbers and added a historical touch to the gathering. Altogether, a brilliant comeback. ULDB 70 - Taxi Dancer; IMS I - Swiftsure; IMS II - Phantom; IOR I - Blade Runner, IOR II - Will; J/35 - Abba-Zaba-Jab; Express 37 - Pazzo Express; Farallon Clipper - Cedalion. (57 boats)

1991 - Jim Ryley and Skip Allan topped the six-boat sled class with Mirage; Larry Doane and his Morningstar gang won the Express 37 title (the BBS doubles as their Nationals); Alan Andrews' designs dominated IMS; the Ultimate 30s provided the traditional late afternoon entertainment. Fun, fun, fun! ULDB 70 - Mirage; J/44 - Witch Doctor; IMS I - Cantata II; IMS II - It's OK!; J/35 - Abba-Zaba-Jab; Express 37 - Morningstar; Ultimate 30 - Technoyacht. (55 boats)

1992 - An upbeat year mainly due to the presence of 11 sleds. Paul Simonsen and John Kostecki sailed Mongoose to their third BBS win, a record surpassed only by veteran campaigner Larry Harvey with five class wins in various boats (Brooke Ann, Crazy Horse and Abba-Zaba-Jab). David Clarke, Dee Smith and Geoff Stagg annihilated the IMS fleet with Cookson's High 5. The inclusion of the 'little' J/105s was questioned by some; 'nasal flossing' was invented (or at least named); and the 'best' collision in the history of the series occurred when Maverick failed to duck Blondie. ULDB
70 - Mongoose; SC 50 - Gone With The Wind; IMS Grand Prix - Cookson's High 5; IMS 'Local' - Swiftsure; J/44 - Gotcha; J/35 - Abba-Zaba-Jab; Express 37 - Re-Quest; J/105 - Zamboni. (55 boats)

1993 - On its 30th anniversary, the BBS was big, even if the boats weren't (the 58-foot Swiftsure was the queen of the ball). As befitting of this milestone year, the weather was mahvalous and the shoreside
festivities were particularly savage, beginning with the Kenwood Cup party (Thursday), the Mt. Gay party (Friday), Hasso Plattner's SAP party (Saturday) and, of course, the awards ceremony on Sunday. Two new classes made their first (and last) appearances this year - the mysterious 'FIMS' class ('fake' IMS, as administered by StFYC) and a controversial non-spinnaker class for Swans. SC 50 - Gone With The Wind; IMS-A - Pigs in Space; 'FIMS' - Marilyn; IMS-B - National Biscuit; J/35 - Major Damage; Express 37 - Blade Runner; J/105 - Niaweh; Swan - Zeus. (68 boats)

1994 - This was a bittersweet year. An otherwise excellent BBS was overshadowed on Saturday afternoon when a hiking rack broke on the twin-ruddered Twin Flyer 38, dumping most of her crew into the chilly Bay. San Diego professional sailor Larry Klein, skipper of the radical boat, died as a result. Meanwhile, eight ULDB 70s and three IMS maxis gave this year a 'big boat' feel and the so-called 'St. Francis Rule' (modified PHRF) debuted to mixed reviews. ULDB 70 - Pyewacket; IMS Maxi - Windquest; IMS - Bullseye; PHRF-A - Marilyn; PHRF-B - Surefire; J/35 - Major Damage; Express 37 - Re-Quest; J/105 - Blackhawk. (67 boats)

1995 - A record 71 boats competed this year, with a six-pack of pretty maxis headlining the show. Invariably, Sayonara finished first but lost to Exile on corrected time, with Windquest settling for third - more of a beauty pageant than a race. Other highlights: High Risk dismasted in practice the day before; Revs was hit by Swiftsure on the starting line and knocked out of the series ("It felt like a Volkwagen being run down by a freight train!"); the SC 70 Holua blew its rig out during the last race; the IMS 'race after the race', i.e., heavy politicking by the hired guns to influence current and wind input, reached ugly new heights (read: Surface Tension); and grumbling about the 'St. Francis Rule', especially in Class A, was heard. IMS Maxi - Exile; ULDB 70 - Mirage; IMS - Flash Gordon; PHRF-A - Camouflage; PHRF-B - Hot Lips; J/35 - Major Damage; Express 37 - Blade Runner; J/105 - Invictus. (71 boats)

1996 - This was the year the BBS exploded - 91 boats in 11 classes! It was an epic year, featuring lots of wind, a bunch of big boats (six IMS Maxis and five sleds), some new one design classes (the hot 1D-48s and an international fleet of Mumm 36s gearing up for their Worlds), and a memorable flap between the maxi owners before the Series started. Sayonara owner Larry Ellison, who initially refused to sail under the ICAYA owner/driver rule, ended up dominating the class with seven bullets. Other random memories: Morning Glory and Osprey broke their rigs; Mick Schlens won the Express 37 class again despite briefly losing his wife overboard in a round-up; and more visiting rockstars than we've ever seen at the BBS. IMS Maxi - Sayonara; ULDB 70 - Evolution; 1D-48 - Windquest; IMS - Beau Geste; Mumm 36 - Jameson; PHRF-A - Swiftsure II; PHRF-B - It's OK!; PHRF-C - Mostly Harmless; J/35 - Rapture; Express 37 - Blade Runner; J/105 - Thrasher. (91 boats)

1997 - "Seventy-five boats - not bad for an 'off year'!" was Steve Taft's 'mantra' for this one. This was the first year a measurement rule wasn't used - four classes raced levelly, while five sailed under the StFYC-adjusted PHRF system ("a big beer can regatta"). The racing was pleasant, with monster floods, moderate winds and, for a change, warm air and water. Noteworthy events included a sunfish sighting inside the Bay; the second-best crash in BBS history (Orient Express tore the back end off Mirage); three sailors getting rides to the emergency room (Raven, Brassy, Persuasion); and a cheating incident (substituting a folding prop for a fixed one without telling the rating committee) which ultimately stripped Just in Time of her ostensible PHRF-D victory. ULDB 70 - Taxi Dancer; 1D-48 - America True; Cal 50 - Swiftsure II; PHRF-A - Favonious; PHRF-B - Recidivist; PHRF-C - Cadenza; PHRF-D - Petard; Express 37 - Re-Quest; J/105 - Bella Rosa. (75 boats)

1998 - The BBS got off to a fine start, with 81 boats sailing in 10 classes. But the Series was held too late in the year (September 24-27) and things rapidly got light, shifty and just plain ugly. Saturday's second race was so slow that boats were still finishing at 7 p.m., and Sunday's final race was abandoned for lack of any moving air - a first in the annals of BBS history. There was, however the customary sled T-boning (G.I. speared Mongoose), some tanker-dodging, and in Friday's second race - which for unknown reasons pitted all the boats on the same course - a pile-up at
the weather mark of Biblical proportions. The Series also marked the third (and last) year of professional sailing in 1D-48s, and the semi-return (and last gasp) of IMS. All in all, it was a weird Series - more like a gigantic midwinter regatta than the usual grand prix lovefest. ULDB 70 - Taxi ; 1D-48 - Numbers; IMS - Flash Gordon III; 'Maxi' - Javelin; Cal 50 - Swiftsure II; PHRF-A - Mistress; PHRF-B - Samba Pa Ti; PHRF-C - Savoir Faire; Express 37 - Eclipse; J/105 - Thrasher. (81 boats)

1999 - The Series got back on track this year, fielding a record 95 boats in nine classes. The emphasis was away from PHRF, with five classes (including the Farr 40s and 1D-35s in their BBS debut) racing one design and another, ULDB 70s, racing levelly. Taxi Dancer took the ULDB 70 trophy for the third straight time in what was destined to be that class's last BBS appearance. Other highlights: Wasabi and Bullseye tangling in The Room (and, unfortunately, in the hallway) over a starting line dispute; a foreign visitor (Rx Sight from Sweden); the largest gathering of SC 52s to date (nine boats); Samba Pa Ti swept the September Farr 40 wars (NOOD, Worlds, BBS); and the 25-boat J/105 fleet distinguished themselves by logging the most general recalls and time in the protest room. ULDB 70 - Taxi Dancer; SC 52 - Rosebud; Farr 40 - Samba Pa Ti; 1D-35 - Joss; PHRF-A - Wasabi; PHRF-B - Charisma; PHRF-C - Pakalolo; Express 37 - Eclipse; J/105 - Jose Cuervo. (95 boats)

2000 - The Millennium Series was a blockbuster - 112 boats, the most ever! The jumbo-sized Series taxed the club's facilities to the max, but a great time was had by all - except Wasabi, which dismasted during a 30-knot puff in practice on Wednesday. Fortunately, the wind moderated for the actual Series, which was remarkably free of collisions, carnage, and protests (only eight). Just 28 boats sailed handicap (with by-now institutionalized bitching about PHRF), while 84 raced one design, including a small J/120 class for the first time. Ken Read and his America's Cup pro crew on the Farr 50 Esmeralda came from across the country to sail PHRF (a first for them, no doubt); the venerable Express 37 class appeared for the 11th straight year; and the 31-boat J/105 class recorded an unprecedented four general recalls before successfully starting their seventh race. PHRF-A - Esmeralda; Farr 40 - Samba Pa Ti; SC 52/50 - Ingrid; PHRF-B - High 5; 1D-35 - Heartbreaker; PHRF-C - InfraRed; J/120 - J/Bird; Express 37 - Eclipse; J/105 - Wind Dance. (112 boats)

Well, there you have it - our unofficial Cliff Notes guide to 37 years of the Big Boat Series. We, along with everyone else, missed sailing in the 2001 Series, but the unexpected time off gave us a chance to reflect on how much we've enjoyed this wonderful event over the years. Through good and bad, the Big Boat Series has not only endured, but helped define the West Coast sailing scene. We've grown up with the Big Boat Series, sailing in it and covering it for almost two decades - and it feels odd to be deprived of it this year.

But sailboat racing is just a game, basically trivial and irrelevant in light of last month's terrorist attack on our country. Canceling the 2001 Series was the right thing - indeed, the only thing - to do. When the world calms down, as it inevitably will, the Big Boat Series will still be here. The good times and the laughter will resume, and hopefully mean more to us than ever before.

- latitude/rkm

This story was reprinted from the October 2001 issue of Latitude 38. To order a copy (complete with photos in living black & white), use the subscription order form, and specify the 10/01 issue, or just drop us a note with a check for $7 to Latitude 38, Attn: Back Issues, 15 Locust Ave., Mill Valley, CA 94941.

Please note: After a couple of years, the actual issue may no longer be available, but we will still be able to make photocopies of it.

©2001 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.