Registration Open for the 59th Edition of Rolex Big Boat Series at St. Francis Yacht Club

The Notice of Race is posted and registration is open for the 2023 Rolex Big Boat Series, hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, California.

Considered the most prestigious regatta on the West Coast and a premier event since 1964, Rolex Big Boat Series brings competitors from around the country and the world to San Francisco Bay for four days of racing. Scheduled for September 13-17, 2023, when conditions are optimal for big breeze, the regatta attracts the highest level of competition, with perpetual trophies and Rolex timepieces awarded to select fleets.

The following fleets are invited to compete in this year’s regatta:

  • One-design boats of the J/105, J/88 and Express 37 classes. Other classes with a minimum number of boats can be considered with application to the Organizing Authority.
  • Monohulls with an LOA ≥ 30 feet. Boats with a General Purpose Handicap (GPH) of 560 or lower are required to have an Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) International certificate. Boats with a GPH higher than 560 may compete using either an ORC International Certificate or ORC Club Certificate.
  • Classic boats built prior to 1955 with an LOA ≥ 48 feet and a current ORRez rating certificate.

“We are thrilled to be hosting the 2023 edition of the Rolex Big Boat Series and once again we anticipate a terrific turnout,” commented Beau Vrolyk, 2023 Commodore of St. Francis Yacht Club. “Rolex Big Boat Series has been the place to be for West Coast sailors for many years and we are pleased to continue our long and successful relationship with Rolex. The parties are legendary and the sailors’ favorites will all return this year. Don’t miss it!”

Vrolyk intends to race Mayan, his famed Alden schooner in which he has competed in Rolex Big Boat Series since the Classics division was established in 2019.

“The growing Classics Class of beautiful woodies will return, along with the premier West Coast ORC handicap racing fleet and several top one-design fleets,” he noted, adding, “I’ve been racing in this event since the 1970s and look forward to it every year.”

In 2023, post-racing socials and the trophy ceremony will be hosted under the Rolex Tent against the stunning backdrop of San Francisco Bay, while the Thursday night Rolex Owners Dinner and Saturday night Crew Dinner will be inside the clubhouse with its unbeatable views of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge.

Felix Weidling, Race Director of St. Francis Yacht Club, is looking forward to participating in his second Rolex Big Boat Series event after competing in 2014 aboard the J/105 Godot. This year he trades racing for running on-the-water operations for this world class regatta — one he is well-equipped to manage given his experience hosting multiple Rolex-sponsored regattas in his former role at Kiel Yacht Club.

“I am especially looking forward to working with the many volunteers onshore and on the water who donate their time to make the event a success,” Weidling said. “I am always delighted by the passion and commitment that the volunteers bring, and this year will be no exception. Looking ahead to next year, we will be hosting the 60th anniversary of Rolex Big Boat Series, which will be a highlight event. Stay tuned!”

Dave MacEwen, this year’s Vice Chair of St. Francis Yacht Club’s Executive Race Committee, owns a J/90 and a Rogers 46, both named Lucky Duck and both of which he has raced in Rolex Big Boat Series. Last year, he raced the J/90 due to the Rogers 46 being temporarily out of commission and found it quite the challenge.

“I’m excited to get my bigger boat back!” MacEwen said. “The J/90 is fast for a 30-footer but it’s just hard to sail that boat competitively. While I thought we sailed super-well, we ended up near last in our division because it’s so difficult to race in typical Big Boat conditions on the J/90.”

MacEwen has sailed in five Rolex Big Boat Series and looks forward to the regatta all year.

“I just love Big Boat. I’m excited for the big breeze, the excellent competition and the shoreside activities are always first-rate,” he said. “On Lucky Duck, we have great competitors. I’m encouraging our friends Groundhog Day (formerly Bretwalda3) to come up from Southern California and race with us. We’ll also have the Fast 40 Adjudicator, which is always super-hard to beat and won their class last year. And, you never know who else may show up! Transpac is early this year and it would be great if boats are delivered back to the Bay Area instead of Southern California so they could stay around for Rolex Big Boat Series.”

For monohulls not racing in a one-design fleet, St. Francis Yacht Club will be governing the 2023 Rolex Big Boat Series using rating rules established by ORC and fleet splits will be posted on the Tuesday prior to the start of the regatta. The Classics division will race with ORRez rating certificates.

For those interested in participating, an ORC discussion moderated by Dobbs Davis will be held on Friday, April 7, at St. Francis Yacht Club and on Zoom, from 5:00pm – 6:30pm. This event will include a Rolex Big Boat Series preview presented by Weidling.

Read the Notice of Race and register now at rolexbigboatseries.com.