Multis to join Rolex Big Boat Series

San Francisco's top regatta doffs its cap to the America's Cup

Monday August 20th 2012, Author: Barby MacGowan, Location: United States

Slipping in between the two America's Cup World Series event in San Francisco, the Rolex Big Boat Series, taking place over 6-9 September will be adding performance catamarans to its monohulls racing in IRC and one-design classes.

“The Rolex Big Boat Series is one of the premier events in the world, and having catamarans included in it for the first time is very exciting for us, especially in light of the interest in performance catamaran racing generated by the upcoming America’s Cup World Series events in San Francisco,” said St. Francis Yacht Club Commodore Peter Stoneberg, who will be racing in the event aboard his ProSail 40 catamaran Shadow.

“I love catamarans. You just can’t beat the thrill and adrenaline of racing them on San Francisco Bay, and this year’s Rolex Big Boat Series will be the first premier class regatta that includes a catamaran division.”

According to Staff Commodore of the Bay Area Multihull Association (BAMA) Bob Naber, “The class will enjoy exciting racing, provide viewers with a fantastic experience and show a breed of catamarans that are available to sailors outside of the America’s Cup.” The class will include performance catamarans over 35 feet, with no limitations on technology and design. They will be scored using handicap PHRF ratings issued by BAMA and race on courses similar to those used for America’s Cup racing.

With less than one month to go until the first starting gun fires, Urs Rothacher has been preparing his SL33 BridgeRunner for some tight racing. The SB33 catamaran is being used by both Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand for practice and testing leading up to the America’s Cup.

“The SL33 design is very versatile and one of the fastest boats you can sail without having a full professional crew,” said Rothacher, who purchased BridgeRunner in December 2011. “With fast multihulls, I’m not fighting against the boat; I’m fighting against the boundaries of physics, because that is about as fast as these sailboats can go.”

Going up against BridgeRunner will be Brendon Bush’s D Class Catamaran Rocket 88, which won the doublehanded division of the Three Bridge Fiasco Race and currently holds the record for elapsed time in the Delta Ditch Run.

“It will be a competitive fleet,” said Bill Turpin, who will be co-skippering with Bush. Turpin added that the team finished second overall in the 2011 BAMA Cup and is currently leading in the BAMA series this year. “I’m really excited, because catamaran racing is totally different; it’s athletic, and the speed potential is just enormous.”

Turpin has competed in the Rolex Big Boat Series many times before in his Turbo Sled Akela. “The venue is very nice, the conditions are always challenging, the social life during the regatta is fantastic and the race management is world-class. I think it’s really exciting that they are letting us in, and it will be very interesting to see how the cats compare to the monohulls.”

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