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Updated: Rolex Big Boat Series Canceled, and the Schedule ‘Adjustments’ Just Keep Coming

News Flash!

When we wrote this story on Monday morning, we had not yet received the word that Rolex Big Boat Series has been canceled. Here’s what we wrote about that regatta originally: So far, Rolex Big Boat Series is still on for September 16-20, and 53 boats have signed up as of Monday morning. RBBS includes the Pacific Coast Championship for Express 37s and the West Coast Championship for J/88s.

Shortly after we posted, Cam Tuttle forwarded this message that St. Francis Yacht Club sent to owners: “Today we have announced the cancellation of the Rolex Big Boat Series 2020. You can find the announcement here. We wanted to reach out directly to you to let you know that we had continued planning and were reviewing all possible options to run this regatta to the standard that the StFYC, Rolex and you expect from us. Based on the current situation with the COVID-19 virus, we wanted to make sure we made the safe and fair decision; we did not make this decision lightly.

“If you have paid any entry fees, Grace from the Race Office will be refunding you in the next few days.

“The StFYC appreciates your support; for many of you this is an annual event with your crew and families. We are already starting to plan the 2021 event, and look forward to having the J/88 North Americans, and celebrating the Express 37’s 30th year of racing as a one design fleet at the regatta.

“For the owners in the handicap division, we will continue the discussions we’ve had with you on the rating rule we use; please keep your feedback and input coming to us.” The message was signed by Susan Ruhne, regatta chair, and Commodore Ken Glidewell.

More Updates

St. Francis Yacht Club had planned to host the 2020 Laser North American Championships on September 2–6. However, they’ve “rescheduled” it for July 14–18, 2021. Ongoing safety concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the delay.

Lasers start
A StFYC Laser start from 2018.
© 2020 Chris Ray

Speaking of J/Boat championships, the J/111 Class Association and Annapolis Yacht Club have determined that, because of the varying levels of infection and disruption across the world, this year’s J/111 North American Championship, scheduled for October 29-November 1, will instead be raced as part of the Annapolis NOOD Regatta on April 30-May 2, 2021. The class will instead hold its East Coast Championship in Annapolis during the previously scheduled Halloween weekend in 2020.

The TP52 World Championship was supposed to happen on September 14-19 in Puerto Portals, Mallorca, but organizers have canceled it. They had planned on a six-race season for the 2020 52 Super Series. But the class was only able to complete the first event in South Africa, in early March.

Something You Can Do

On the other hand, if you’ve always wanted to try your hand at the Rolex Fastnet Race, but never had the (choose all that apply) time, money, resources, connections, experience, guts to actually sail in the Fastnet, you’ll get your chance to take a dry run this August. In the online Virtual Regatta, the first part of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s event remains the same: Leave Cowes, head west down the English Channel, pass Land’s End, and cross the Celtic Sea to the Fastnet Rock off southwest Ireland, before returning to the Channel, leaving Bishop Rock to port. But, for the 2021 and 2023 editions, the finish has moved to Cherbourg, at the top of the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy, France, some 70 miles due south of Cowes across the English Channel (“La Manche” in French). This change increases the distance to 695 miles.

Fastnet Rock
The turning mark.
© 2020 Kurt Arrigo / Rolex

Following the new course, Virtual Regatta’s Rolex Fastnet Race will set sail aboard Class 40s at 1200 UTC this August 3. Virtual racers will use actual weather data. The game is free, but competitors can pay a small fee to upgrade their equipment. The real Rolex Fastnet Race expects more than 350 entries on the start line in 2021, ranging from 100-ft Ultime maxi-trimarans to “mums and dads on their 30-ft family cruisers.” The Virtual Regatta expects to draw more than 30,000 entries.

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