The competition ante has been upped for Rolex Big Boat Series this year, with regatta newcomers from far and wide preparing to take on the West Coast “big guns” on the challenging waters of San Francisco Bay. Hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club and scheduled for September 17-22, the 51stedition of the Rolex Big Boat Series welcomes teams racing in ORR, HPR, Multihull, One-Design and PHRF divisions for six coveted perpetual trophies.
“I’ve been inspired for a while now to compete at Rolex Big Boat Series,” said John Spadaro of Honolulu, Hawaii, who will compete on his DK46 Boomerang, which he recently purchased from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. “I’ve been sailing in Hawaii for over 20 years and have had a pretty good race history, but I’m used to racing my Sydney 41, which is smaller than the new boat. The reason for upgrading to the DK46 is that two of my main competitors have gotten bigger boats, and I want to race against them on a more level platform.”
Spadaro’s team will certainly be one with which to contend, especially as he is recruiting sailors from California to strengthen local knowledge on board.
“Sailing in Hawaii is similar to sailing in San Francisco in that both venues have a lot of wind, but we don’t have current, which plays a major factor when you’re racing on the Bay,” said Spadaro. “I also have no familiarity with sailing in San Francisco, so I will be relying on Norman and the rest of the local sailors on board.”
Also new to the event and transitioning into a larger boat is Porter Ludwig whose recently acquired TP52 Patches just finished delivery from his hometown of Acapulco, Mexico to Long Beach, Calif. Ludwig and his all-Mexican crew will compete in the Transpac Honolulu Race in July before heading to San Francisco mid-August to prepare for the Rolex Big Boat Series.
“I’m more excited to sail at Rolex Big Boat Series than anything else this year,” said Ludwig, adding that he knew about the regatta because many of his friends from Acapulco had raced in it before. “I’ve been racing in Mexico’s competitive J/24 class recently, and I’m originally a small boat and dingy sailor; however, in the nineties I spent almost ten years racing on bigger boats with Aaron Saenz, a famous sailor from Mexico. Last year, his son Eduardo invited me to sail on Destroyer, another TP52. I liked it so much that when I found out there was another one for sale I had to purchase it.”
Under its previous owner, Patches won its class at the 2011 Transpac Honolulu Race and took second in class at the 2010 Rolex Big Boat Series.
“Patches is a good boat, and our main objective is to have good results, of course, but with San Francisco being ‘the place’ to sail, there is no question that we are going to have lots of fun along the way.”
The Notice of Race for the 2015 edition of the Rolex Big Boat Series has been published, and registration is now open. (http://www.rolexbigboatseries.com/)
Photo Credit: Daniel Forster