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North Sails 2021 LEADERBOARD

Classics division looks to expand at the 56th Rolex Big Boat Series

by Scott Armstrong 4 Mar 2020 06:19 PST 17-20 September 2020
The uniquely-outfitted crew of MAYAN put in work during the 2019 Rolex Big Boat Series © Sharon Green/Rolex

With an eye toward expanding a Classics Division that saw marked interest and exciting race action in its inaugural year, the Rolex Big Boat Series returns to San Francisco Bay, September 17-20, 2020. St. Francis Yacht Club, host of this prestigious event since its inception in 1964, has now posted the Notice of Race, and entries are now being accepted.

Approaching this year's edition, the West Coast's premier sailboat regatta looks forward to another impressive field of varied and experienced fleets, and the potential for skippers in designated classes to receive Swiss-made Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner Chronometer watches.

"The Classics Division celebrates the origins of the Big Boat Series, which began in 1964," says Paul Cayard, Chairman of the St. Francis Yacht Club, "and like a Rolex watch, San Francisco Bay is well recognized and breathtakingly beautiful."

The Classics Division will race the famed Bay Tour course once per day, with starts and finishes off the St. Francis Yacht Club Race Deck, one of sailboat racing's most iconic settings. "Today's classic yacht owners are passionate about the history and beauty of their yachts, which should be celebrated by racing them," adds Cayard, a 2019 participant in the Classics Division aboard Ocean Queen.

In addition to classic yachts, the Rolex Big Boat Series is open to One Design Boats in the J/105, J/88, J/70 and Express 37 classes. Notably, Rolex Big Boat Series 2020 also serves as the J/88 North American Championship, as well as the Express 37 Pacific Coast Championship, further upping the ante in these two divisions.

"We're excited to host both the J/88 NAs and Express 37 PCCs at the 2020 Rolex Big Boat Series," says Regatta Chair Susan Ruhne. "Moreover, we're also ready to host another very strong J/105 fleet, and we're looking for 30 or more boats to make up the most competitive J/105 division in any regatta on the West Coast."

Per the Notice of Race, the regatta is open to all One Design boats of the J/120, J/105, J/88, J/70, and Express 37 classes; and monohull boats with a LOA = 30' and a current fully or partially measured ORR rating certificate; and classic boats built prior to 1955 with an LOA = 48'and a ORRez rating certificate.

"We're continuing to work with US Sailing and the ORR system as a major part of Rolex Big Boat Series," Ruhne says. All owners and interested sailors are welcome to visit St. Francis Yacht Club on March 5 for a meeting with ORR officials and the StFYC Race Office. The Club's official website,, will have further details.

Conditions permitting, StFYC will conduct a total of seven races, with two races per day for the first three days of racing, followed by Sunday's longer Bay Tour course, featuring a grand-finale finishing line in front of the StFYC Clubhouse. Every evening of the regatta features social gatherings for all participating owners and crew members. And for the skippers, the annual Rolex Owners Dinner is part of what makes Rolex Big Boat Series a "can't-miss" event.

Registration for this crown jewel of the West Coast sailing scene is now open, and registration closes on July 31, 2020. View the 2020 Notice of Race and Entry Form.

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