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Faces in the Crowd at Rolex Big Boat Series

While Thursday’s racing at Rolex Big Boat Series involved summery San Francisco conditions, with breeze into the 20s and ebb chop, by Sunday the water had flattened and the wind mellowed into a downright comfortable range. The variety of conditions tested the crews’ abilities to adapt.

RIB and J/105 tangled up
Walking on water? In the Treasure Island starting area, an inflatable mark served as the pin end of the start line. But the J/105s had 31 boats, so the race committee extended the line for them, using a RIB as a replacement pin end. A pin-end start was a good tactic, but Beast of Burden tangled with the RIB’s anchor rode. Eventually, the volunteers attached a float to the anchor line and let the line go so that the J/105 could proceed on its way. Beast of Burden recovered from this indignity to finish the race mid-herd.
© 2023
Crew aboard Ocean Queen
The crew aboard Ocean Queen were enjoying Sunday’s sailing in the Classics Division. Ocean Queen is a 1951 Rhodes-designed 54-ft yawl from Redwood City. Her current caretakers are the Pacific Seafaring Foundation and Keith Hubbard.
© 2023

The Classics went into Sunday’s race with a three-way tie for points among Yucca, Mayan and Gesture. Gesture finished first, but the much smaller 8-Meter Yucca corrected out for the win, a repeat from last year’s win with Hank Easom at the helm.

Crew of Yucca
The crew of Yucca. Owner Michael Zolezzi is in stealth mode behind the forestay. The late Hank Easom’s spirit seemed to sail with them as well.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

Sunday’s race for all divisions was a long Bay Tour. The ORC divisions ventured under the Golden Gate Bridge to a windward mark at Point Diablo. All finished in front of the hosting St. Francis Yacht Club, with every boat, no matter its position, cheered from the viewing stands upstairs.

At the Regatta Awards Party

J/105 sailors
At the awards party, J/105 sailors from Arbitrage, Blackhawk and Maverick discuss the race. Ryan and Kristin Simmons’s Blackhawk led the regatta without winning a single race.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

A late-afternoon awards celebration flowing with free champagne followed the day of champagne sailing. Much more cheering ensued.

Express 37 Limitless crew with award
Shawn Ivie, with his crew from the Express 37 Limitless, shows us his new pickle dish. The 2021 champions returned from SoCal to top this regatta. They’ll stick around for the E37 Nationals at SFYC on October 13-15.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Cal Maritime crew
A team from Cal Maritime Academy (a Cal State University located in Vallejo) often competes in the Rolex Big Boat Series. This year, they sailed a J/105.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
Striped crew shirts
The striped crew shirts of the Monterey-based Express 37 Loca Motion stood out in the crowd.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris
StFYC commodore Beau Vrolyk and regatta chair Susan Ruhne.
Thanks to these folks for the great regatta and the hospitality. Left: StFYC’s commodore Beau Vrolyk, skipper of Mayan. Right: Regatta chair Susan Ruhne. They’ve both been subjects of Good Jibes podcasts.
© 2023 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

We’ll have a full race report feature in the October issue of Latitude 38. In the meantime, you can check out the full results and compare them to previous years at

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