Rolex Big Boat Series

With one week until the start of the 2009 Rolex Big Boat Series, St. Francis Yacht Club (StFYC) Race Office is busy coordinating the many logistical details that accompany running one of the world’s most-loved regattas. Racing this year is scheduled for September 10-13, and includes racing in seven one-design classes – 1D35, Beneteau 36.7, Express 37, J/105, J/120, Melges 32 and, for the first time, the Cal 40 class, as well as divisions for IRC-rated entries. At the conclusion of the four-day regatta, specially engraved Rolex timepieces will be awarded to the St. Francis Yacht Club’s six Perpetual Trophy winners and to the overall IRC winner as the Rolex US-IRC National Champion. Although the Rolex Big Boat Series will be celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, another occurrence will take center stage, the StFYC’s tribute to the late Tom Blackaller.

As is tradition for Rolex Big Boat Series, the classes that will compete for each of the StFYC’s Perpetual Trophies will be kept a secret until they are announced at the Rolex Commodore’s Reception on Wednesday, September 9. At the reception, hosted by StFYC Commodore John McNeill, the club will pay homage to Blackaller, a member of the StFYC who passed away in 1989, with a special presentation lead by Paul Cayard. “It just seemed logical to do something special to remember such a great personality and great sailor,” said Cayard, a StFYC member who refers to Blackaller as his “sailing father, someone who had a huge effect on my sailing career”.

As Cayard described Blackaller – known as much for his sailing accomplishments as his larger-than-life personality – he was an ambassador of sailing wherever he went. “Tom was the king of sailing on San Francisco Bay” continued Cayard. “He was a two-time Star world champion and America’s Cup skipper, yet he still found time to race locally and to write forBay and Delta Yachtsman every month. I know we have stars in sailing today, but I don’t think we have ever had someone with as much star power as Thomas David Blackaller. He was ahead of his time and, unfortunately for us, he departed too soon.”

Cayard plans to team up with Tom Akin, who has chartered the TP52 Flash, and compete in IRC. They will face serious competition from John Kilory’s TP52 Samba Pa Ti, the two-time defending champion in the IRC division.

Kilroy, who recently won the Barn Door Trophy in the Transpacific Yacht Race, has his eye on Flash plus the other TP52s competing, Charles Burnett’s Braveheart and Ashley Wolfe’sMayhem, as well as Vincitore, the Reichel/Pugh 52, owned by Jim Mitchell (SUI), with Norman Davant calling tactics and America’s Cup legend Chris Dickson driving.

“People always ask us ‘what is your expectation?’ I always say our goal is to do well,” said Kilroy. “We will prepare the boat, the crew and the sails as best as we can to have a good shot. The competition this year is likely to be very strong. It looks like everyone has optimized their crew and sails, and IRC configuration. Vincitore was built for IRC, whereSamba and the other 52s were not. Instead they were built for the TP52 rule. We beatVincitore last year. It came down to last race. We’ve obviously done well under the IRC configuration, but I make that distinction. We have some disadvantages in our hull form. The Samba hull factor as calculated under IRC is not as kind as it is for an IRC-specific designed boat, from what I understand. We’ve demonstrated that we can be powerful and have won the past few years. I’d expect we will continue to be competitive.”

Reflecting on his history with Rolex Big Boat Series, over the past 45 years, Kilroy said. “I consider the Rolex Big Boat Series one of the preeminent regattas in the world. San Francisco is one of the great venues, recognized by anyone who has raced there. There is always great wind, a lot of challenges with the current, and all the variables that make sailing superb. I think it is the best yacht club and with Rolex, the preeminent sponsor, and the magic of San Francisco and the Bay, it brings out the best sailors. Everybody loves being in San Francisco.”

Kilroy will have at this side a few Volvo Ocean Race veterans, tactician Stu Bannatyne, fresh from Ericcson Racing, and headsail trimmer Justin Ferris, from Puma Racing. Local knowledge will come from Russ Silvestri, a US Olympian (’98/’00).

Principal Race Officer John Craig and the StFYC Race Committee have mapped out a variety of courses on San Francisco Bay – from 8- 32 nautical miles – which will be run on two different areas, the City Front Course and North Course. Competitors race within view of the stunning San Francisco city front, Crissy Field, Alcatraz, Angel Island and the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge. Racing finishes each day in front of the StFYC, set upon the rocky shores of the Bay.

The St. Francis Yacht Club will officially welcome competitors on Wednesday, September 9 at the Rolex Commodore’s Reception where the fleets competing for each of the six St. Francis Perpetual Trophies – Richard Rheem, St. Francis, City of San Francisco, Atlantic, Keefe-Kilborn Memorial and the Commodore’s Cup – will be announced.

At the end of each race day, the St. Francis Yacht Club along with title sponsor Rolex will host a variety of social events including the Rolex Crew Reception on Wednesday and the Rolex Party on Thursday. Sonnen BMW will sponsor a reception on Friday in addition to the Mount Gay Crew Party. The regatta ends with Sunday’s final Rolex Trophy Ceremony where specially engraved Rolex timepieces will be awarded to the St. Francis Yacht Club’s six Perpetual Trophy winners, and to the winning skipper of the Rolex US-IRC National Championship.

Rolex Big Boat Series is part of the Rolex Yachting Portfolio that includes over 20 world-class sailing events that take place around the globe including the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Rolex Fastnet Race, Rolex Farr 40 World Championship and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. For more information visit www.regattanews.com the online press portal for Rolex yachting events.

For more information about the Rolex Big Boat Series, including entry lists and results, please visit www.stfyc.org.

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.

Notes to editors:
To receive daily reports and to download high-resolution images, copyright free for editorial purposes (print media), register online at www.regattanews.com.

Racing is scheduled for daily September 10-13, with the prize giving on Sunday serving as the culmination of an intense week of big boat racing.

Press Officer and North American Media Contact:
Media Pro International
Dana Paxton
Email: dana.paxton@mediapronewport.com
Mobile: +1 401-369-0490 (on-site in San Francisco)

International Press Information:
Key Partners (KPMS)
Karen Cooper
Email: karen@regattanews.com
Mobile: +1 310-293-7840 (on-site in San Francisco)
Mobile: +41 79 267 2300

Paul non stacca mai!

Paul, Paul e ancora Paul: Cayard non stacca mai, la sua è fame di vela, in tutte le sue forme. Come giudicare uno che ha vinto (quasi) tutto nella carriera velica, ha trionfato al giro del mondo, nel giro della Coppa America, nella grande altura, ha fortemente voluto e raggiunto le Olimpiadi in Star, e in una stagione definita “di transizione”, a causa della crisi economica mondiale, è passato allegramente dalle TP52 AudiMedcup series di Portimao in Portogallo alla “sua” San Francisco per il Mondiale della storica e acrobatica deriva 505, a prua di un suo amico?

Guardatelo come si diverte al trapezio, e sentite quello che racconta dopo la fine del campionato: “Sono così felice che Howie mi abbia chiesto di fare questa regata! Mi sento come se avessi nuovamente 20 anni. Essere un velista professionista ti allontana da queste barche che sono ‘fichissime’, e che usavamo solo da ragazzi. Sono le barche che ci hanno insegnato a veleggiare, ci hanno dato la sensibilità per capire come andare più veloci con qualsiasi altra imbarcazione. Cercherò anche in futuro altre opportunità di navigare sui 505, magari il Mondiale 2011 a Hamilton Island, con mio figlio Danny al timone. Ci sono tante porte aperte!”

Del resto Paul non “stacca” mai anche sulla rete: è forse il personaggio della vela che meglio sa interpretare la potenza del web per comunicare costantemente, 24 ore su 24 e in tutto il mondo, ai suoi molti fans. Il suo sito-blog – www.cayardsailing.com – è aggiornatissimo con i suoi pensieri, le immagini, i risultati, una sorta di diario sempre aperto. Un solo guaio: di Paul ce n’è uno solo…

SAP 505 World Championship

Wow! That was a blast! I know I will wake up tomorrow sad. No need to slip into the trapeze harness. Bummer.

We had a great last day…up at the front all day, finished 6th but just 6 seconds from 4th.

SF turned it back on for the final day so everyone will be left with the right memories…big breeze and rippin fun.

Mike Martin and Jeff Nelson walked away with the race and the event. Mike Holt and Carl Schmidt gave it there all and made it a good race finishing fourth today and second overall. My friend and crew mate from the 2002 Volvo Ocean Race, Chris Nicholson and his crew Casey Smith were third. My hat is off to these guys and really all the competitors. The 505 is a challenging boat, but it is extra challenging in San Francisco.

I am so happy Howie asked me to do this. I feel like I am 20 again. Being a pro sailor drives you away from these really cool boats that we used to sail as kids. These are the boats that taught us how to sail, how to have the sensitivity to make any boat go fast. Now I will look for other opportunities to sail in the 505, maybe the Worlds at Hamilton Island in 2011 with my son Danny at the helm. That is the beauty of this, more open doors.

That’s it for now. Rolex Big Boat Series September 10th will be next.

For complete results go to www.505sapworldchampionship2009.com

SAP 505 World Championship

Mike Martin and Jeff Nelson took one big step toward winning the 505 Worlds by winning todays 8th race. Mike Holt and Carl Schmidt, who were leading going into today, finished 8th. Winds were 8-13 knots and the race course was pretty even.

After a long delay, today’s sole race got underway at 1445. The unusally hot weather shut the winds down until that time. Sun burns were the order of the days rather than the normal crash and burn that we are used to in August.

We had a good one finishing 5th after being the rabbit for the start. We are still 7th over all but just two points out of 6th.

Tomorrow is the last race with a scheduled start time of 1200.

For complete results go to www.505sapworldchampionship2009.com

SAP 505 World Championship

Sorry there was no report yesterday but it was a Lay Day and therefore no racing. Howie and I put in four hours working on the boat. About half the competitors were down working on their crafts either rebuilding them so they could continue on, or restocking their spare parts armory.

The word around the boat park is, “I knew SF was windy but this is really tough sailing.” That is what I remember growing up here. The fleet has gone through over 30 masts so far. As I told someone yesterday who was complaining that it was too windy, “Well, you won’t forget this Worlds soon.” To which he replied, “Yea, it is almost something you will tell your grandchildren in 30 years…. Yea, I survived that World Championship in ’09 in SF!”

That is all fine with me and I am sure all of us from St. Francis Yacht Club. Remember, life is about unforgettable experiences. So let’er rip! That’s what I am here for. If I did not want to rip around the track I would not be in the 505.

SAP 505 World Championship

Two races were held today on the Berkeley Circle in moderate conditions. The first race was an 8-12 knot affair while the wind built to 20 at the end of the second race. The first race was delayed about an hour and a half as the wind was from the east this morning and we had to wait for that to die and the westerly to fill.

The track was tricky as there was more wind on the left and normally the right is favored on the Circle. We rounded the first mark about 12th and managed to get a 5th by working the left pretty hard, even over standing sometimes coming into the windward mark.

In the second race, there was a “general recall” in the start. Not sure if someone “Interfered with the Gate Launch or Pathfinder”. Anyway, we finally got underway and we had a decent race going around the top mark and even better at the bottom of the first run where we were amongst the top five. We chose to go out left which had been paying nicely all day but I think we sailed under too much of the fleet on that side. So we lost a bit up the second windward leg and then passed two boats down the reaches. Then we lost a bit up the third beat as the right was becoming a bit favored shift-wise. We passed one or two down the final run but then lost one up the last beat to finish 10th. We just never could get it all right and move up to the top 5.

That has us still in 7th place overall which isn’t bad. Of course we will keep trying to find our way into the top five over the next two days. Apart from the scores, I am enjoying this regatta immensely. To be out there, on the trapeze, with the waves trying to knock me off the side, the challenge of trying to out do the other crews in the tacks and gybes, it is all very rejuvenating. I love it.

There is a new leader in the series, Mike Holt and Carl Schmidt with 12 points. Mike Martin and Jeff Nelson (18 points) had a bad one in the first race, a 12th and at this point they are counting that while Holt/Schmidt have never been out of the top 4. Dalton Bergen and his crew of Fritz Lanzinger from Seattle won the day I believe with a 1, 5.

For complete results go to www.505sapworldchampionship2009.com

Start time for tomorrow’s single race has been delayed to 1330.

SAP 505 World Championship

Before we got going today, Howie and I had to deal with something from yesterday. It was a complicated issue that has to do with Gate Starts. I will try to explain. If you are out of patience for today better close this email now.

To try to make it simple, we were first disqualified by the Race Committee for a rule that prohibits boats from “interfering” with the “Rabbit” or the “Guard Boat”. In a “Gate Start” one of the racing boats starts at the single starting buoy, at the designated start time, on port tack sailing upwind. A “Guard Boat” follows about 2 boat lengths behind. All racing boats have to pass behind the Guard boat in order to start.

Once we came ashore, the race committee notified us we would be disqualified from the race because we made contact with the Guard Boat and therefore “interfered”. The contact was apparently a piece of clothing brushing the tube of the guard boat. We did not think we had made contact but in any case, we did not believe we interfered with any part of this operation as we did not cause either of them to alter course or speed. So we requested redress and were reinstated in 6th place which was our finishing position. Then a German team protested us saying that we hit the guard boat 2 feet from the stern. This surely did not happen as we would have stopped dead in the water. But that protest was dismissed before the hearing as the Germans, who started right just to windward of us, never informed us that they were protesting us which is a requirement for a protest to be valid.

The thing that was odd to me was that through it all, no one ever asked if we performed a 360 penalty turn for hitting a mark. Of course we would not have because we did not know we had made contact. So I started to think that the Guard boat was not a mark. I mean the last “Gate Start” I was in was in 1979. Can’t really remember and Howie is not a great one for rules. He just likes to go fast… a skiff sailor at heart. He never protests and never goes to the room.

So we were back in and left the club for the night. When I got home, something wasn’t sitting right in my stomach. I reread the S.I.’s, Notice of Race, 505 Class Guidelines etc. trying to figure it out. I came to the conclusion that the Guard boat IS a mark and we should have performed a 360 penalty turn.

This issue never got vetted as the Germans protest was dismissed. Still, Howie and I agreed this morning that we had fouled. So we withdrew from Race number 3 when we got down to the club.

With that behind us, we headed out to the double header (two races). In the first one was good, finishing 7th or so. We were deep again at the top mark, probably 25th, and we ground our way back. In the second one, we got to the top mark in our usual 25th and started to grind people. Somewhere after the first lap, the gasket that seals the center board case from the water at the bottom of the hull, got inverted and we had a mini Fountain of Youth going into our boat for the remainder of the race. The fountain was beautiful but it is slow as there is a lot of drag associated. We then broke our port pole launcher so that hurt as well. Anyway we finished about 12th.

Mike Martin and Jeff Nelson got two bullets and not by just a little. 2 minutes over second place was about the average lead they had. These guys are in another league in 20+ knot of wind.

Lay day tomorrow. That is good as I need to go to Longs and get another pallet of Advil and four massages.

It is a blast out there. The boats just rip and I so glad I am revisiting this great class!

Teeing it up again on Thursday through Saturday.

SAP 505 World Championship

Day two of the 505 worlds, day one for me. One race today in about 20-22 knots of wind. We got 6th and are in third overall. Mike Martin and Jeff Nelson won the race and are definitely the boat to beat in the breeze.

We were deep at the first mark, probably 30th, and just clawed our way back through the fleet. Tomorrow we should try for a better start and first beat and see how we go.

That’s it for now. Tired and Jet lagged. Hitting the rack.

For the official results, go to www.505sapworldchampionship2009.com

Hamlin checks into 505 Worlds with classy crew

When up to a hundred doublehanded dinghies converge on San Francisco Bay next week for the 2009 SAP 505 World Championship sponsored by SAP and APL and hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club, one team will rate somewhere between a favorite and an enigma.

The skipper—Howard Hamlin of Long Beach, Calif.—won it all in 1999 and has finished second five times and third twice since, but for the class’s 54th Worlds he’ll be breaking in new crew. With his regular, Andy Zinn, unavailable because of a business commitment, Hamlin went for local talent.

First he asked Morgan Larson, who won the Worlds at nearby Santa Cruz in 2004, but Larson declined and suggested a buddy by the name of, uh—oh, yeah, Paul Cayard.

Hamlin fired off an e-mail to this guy Cayard and received a quick response: “I’d love to. What are the dates?”

Cayard’s only concern was that “I don’t want to hold you back.”

After all, Cayard is 50 now, although he is six years younger than the skipper. On the other hand, they have been hitting the gym hard lately.

“This is my next anti-aging prescription,” Cayard said. “The first dose was the Olympics at 45.”

Cayard does have some experience sailing a 505 . . . 30 years ago. He crewed for Dennis Surtees when they finished second in the 505 Worlds at Durbin, South Africa. Since then his career, including the distinction as America’s Rolex Yachtsman of he Year in 1998,