Yet another bad news for the sailing enthusiasts, the Rolex Big Boat Series 2020 which was slated for 17-20 September has been called off. This annual regatta is hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club, California. The competition was structured in two divisions, the one-design division for ORR boats that are larger than 30 feet, and a classics division comprising boats constructed before 1955 and have a minimum length of 48 feet.
Ken Glidewell, Commodore, St. Francis Yacht Club said, “These are difficult times, and this was a difficult decision, but as a socially responsible member of both our local community and the greater sailing community, it was the right decision for St. Francis Yacht Club and all involved.”
“Up until the final decision was made, we were fully vested in planning to safely race in 2020,” Susan Ruhne, Chair of Rolex Big Boat Series mentioned in a press release.
“We were encouraged by the 51 skippers who had registered to compete, and we had plans in place to mitigate the risk of contracting COVID-19. We weren’t giving up, but reality is not something we can avoid.”
The sailing buffs were also looking forward to the 30th anniversary of Express 37 Pacific Coast Championships. This, along with J/88 North American Championships, is also conducted jointly with the Big Boat Series. Ruhne says, “This would have been the 30th anniversary for the Express 37s, a class that’s been incredibly competitive on our racecourse. We’re sorry we won’t see them this year, but we look forward to next year.”
The Rolex Big Boat Series has been taking place every year since 1964, except once, when it was called off in 2001: when the World Trade Centre was attacked. It happened just two days before the Big Boat Race was scheduled to take place.
“The St. Francis Yacht Club and Rolex Big Boat Series have been around for a long time and we will be here well past the era of COVID-19. We can take a year off in the name of safety for our sailors, our members and our community,” Glidewell commented. “We look forward to seeing you in 2021.”
Sailors across the world are looking forward to the next series which is slated for 15-19 September 2021.
St. Francis Yacht Club and the Big Boat Race
Founded in 1927, the St. Francis Yacht Club has been actively hosting as many as 40 prominent national and international sailing regattas every year. The club is envied for having one of the best-managed race programmes in the country. No wonder the Boardroom Magazine named it the first club to become ‘Distinguished Emerald Club of the World’. The club has been nominated ‘Number One Yacht Club in the United States’ four times, every alternate year from 2012 to 2018.
The Big Boat Series is the most prestigious event hosted by the club. This yearly regatta features sailors from around the United States and is one of the most competitive regattas on the West Coast.