Day One Down, Three to Go

17 September 2010

Though today’s two opening races at the 46th annual Rolex Big Boat Series were partly shrouded in fog, it did nothing to dampen the spirits--or dogged competition--among 98 teams competing on San Francisco Bay. Over 1000 sailors have converged on St. Francis Yacht Club for the four-day event, and they include world champions, America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race veterans as well as California’s top names in sailing. The IRC division—with 25 boats--is split into four classes, while the 73 teams in One Design division are divided into five classes: Melges 32s, J/105, J/120, Express 37 and One Design 35.

Pieter Taselaar’s (Scarsdale, N.Y.) Bliksem, the 2009 Melges 32 world champion, showed its winning ways when it posted a 1-2 today in what is serving as the 2010 Melges 32 Pre-Worlds. (Twenty-seven of the 32 teams expected to compete next week at the World Championship are on the line.) “We had a really good fight back in the first race after a bad start,” said Bliksem’s pit man Mike Coxon (Sydney Australia). “In the second race, we hit the first couple shifts just right and then we had Alcatraz (island) in the middle and had to decide ‘do we go left or right?’ We were happy to go right and when we saw some of the local boats do the same we knew that was a good sign.” Coxon said the fog made it difficult to find lay lines but the 12-17 knots balanced that difficulty with “good fun on the downwind legs,” of which they had two on twice-around windward leeward courses, each between 10 and 12 miles.

It was a tough day for Doug Douglass’s Goombay Smash who suffered damage during a T-bone incident with Stuart Simpson’s Team Barbarians at the weather mark in the first race. A simple port-starboard incident left the hot-to-trot “Smashers” limping into the harbor with a nasty gash, but with repairs, the boat is expected back in circulation tomorrow.

Ways to Follow
Family, friends and fans can follow the regatta through the event website Live video, social media updates, streaming blogs, race results direct from the race course, and GPS-based boat tracking keep the action at the fingertips of those ashore during the day, while recap videos by (posted by 9 p.m. PST) put the on-water play-by-plays in perspective each evening.

Regarded by sailors as one of the world’s premier sailboat racing events, Rolex Big Boat Series is part of the Rolex Yachting Portfolio that includes over 20 world-class sailing events that take place around the world including the Rolex Miami OCR, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Rolex Fastnet Race, Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex, and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

About St. Francis Yacht Club
Founded in 1927, St. Francis Yacht Club, within view of the Golden Gate Bridge, is a year-round host of over 40 regattas on San Francisco Bay. The club is renowned for its expertise in running world and national championships.

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Rolex Big Boat Series 2010
Day 1 (after two races) Melges 32 (One Design - 27 Boats)
1. Bliksem, Melges 32, Pieter Taselaar, Scarsdale, NY, USA - 2, 1, ; 3
2. B-lin sailing, Melges 32, Luca Lalli, Milano, ITA - 5, 3, ; 8
3. Viva, Melges 32, Donald Jesberg, Mill Valley, CA, USA - 4, 7, ; 11