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Wind Gods Deliver at Big Boat Series >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News – Scuttlebutt Sailing News | Gmx Pharm

San Francisco, CA (September 15, 2022) – The weather gods provided plenty of spirit of optimism on the first day of racing in the 2022 Rolex Big Boat Series. Morning conditions for the 76 boats were 8-12 knots of wind and flat seas but along with the tide eventually built up to 20-22 knots for the second race of the day.

While all classes are highly competitive, the two handicap classes offer some interesting encounters. Last year, when sailing under the ORR rule, the decision was made to split handicap fleets based on their sailing characteristics rather than their waterline metrics.

Boats with planing ability and enough canvas to really get the afterburners glowing were put into one class, while the other class consisted of displacement keelboats that used a lot of authority over the weather when sailing uphill.

This year’s ORC A fleet, now converted from ORR to the ORC handicap rule, includes everything from Chip Merlin’s Bill Lee 68 Custom Merlin to Dave MacEwen’s J/90 Lucky Duck. The former measures 72.5 feet LOA while the latter measures just 30 feet, but both are fairly fast downwind, as are the other four boats that make up this class.

The result was close corrected time differences in both the ORC A and ORC B fleets. For example, ORC A’s first race lasted approximately 90 minutes, but the corrected times between the top three boats were less than three minutes apart using ORC’s heavy air scoring models.

While the thoroughbred Merlin is attracting a lot of attention on and off the track, judge Paul Dorsey’s Carkeek designed FAST 40 is showing fine form in her second Rolex Big Boat Series with two wins today.

“We’ve prepared,” says Dorsey of this year’s Rolex Big Boat Series. “Because of COVID we practiced for 28 days before our first regatta [with the boat]. Before last year’s Rolex Big Boat Series, we probably had 36 days of training.” Dorsey estimates his crew, who he describes as a 50-50 mix of professionals and amateurs, now has around 100 days on the boat.

“It’s not a huge fleet, but there are a lot of good sailors,” says Dorsey of the ORC A class. Dorsey points to Daniel Thielman’s Melges 32, Kuai, and Marc McMorris’ Cape 31, M2 as some of Adjudicator’s closest competitors. “We’re all fully equipped and optimized,” he says. “Everyone comes to win.”

When asked about the distinctive name of his yacht, Dorsey explains that it is from the 2019 neo-noir film John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. The adjudicator, Dorsey says, is a “very powerful personality, everyone understands her authority.” Similar to Adjudicator’s 1:1 scorecard before.

Dave MacEwen’s Lucky Duck may be the smallest competitor from ORC A, but the boat showed plenty of lift in both of today’s races. Interestingly, the J/90 is MacEwen’s coastal boat; His regular boat for the Rolex Big Boat Series, a Rogers 46, also known as Lucky Duck, is currently awaiting a new rig after a mishap during the second leg of this year’s California Offshore Week.

“It’s not like you can just buy a new rig in a short period of time,” says MacEwen, adding that this mast removal has created an interesting dilemma for this year’s Rolex Big Boat Series. As a result, the team decided to race the J/90. “The minimum size for ORC is 30 feet or more — we’re just squeaking in,” says MacEwen.

“It’s really great to be participating in this year’s Rolex Big Boat Series and keeping our program going. I would like to say a big thank you to the St. Francis Yacht Club for organizing another great Rolex Big Boat Series.”

While Lucky Duck’s entry into this year’s Rolex Big Boat Series may have come from less than fortunate circumstances, there’s still the question of completing seven challenging races around San Francisco Bay aboard a boat that weighs just 3,400 pounds. “Most of these boats weigh more and therefore pack more punch,” says MacEwen.

“Our challenge is to keep some contact with the downwind boats so we can set up the kite and fly upwind.”

In the J/70, J/88, Express 37 and Cal 40 One Design classes of the regatta, it was easier to keep in touch with the leaders. As a result, the game turned into a game about nailing the bay’s hidden escalators like Alcatraz’s famous cone. While these escalators often require local knowledge to use them properly, the sailors who compete in these fleets know these waters well.

Still, the day presented plenty of opportunities for skippers willing to endure brief bouts of track pain in order to earn subsequent returns on their investments.

“We couldn’t have asked for better conditions for the first day of racing,” said Susan Ruhne, Chair of the Rolex Big Boat Series. “A breeze built up throughout the day with all teams enjoying exciting race deck finishes for their second race. This style of sailing draws participants back year after year and is what makes this regatta so special.”

The race takes place from September 15th to 18th.

Event Information – Race Details – Results – Facebook

Source: BBS

Updated: September 17, 2022 — 12:32 am

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