'Due to the size, speed and draft of the maxis, we need to take them outside the Golden Gate Bridge,' said John CRAIG, StFYC's race manager. 'Ideally, we're trying to get an 18 to 24 mile racecourse and that's hard to do on the San Francisco Bay.' CRAIG also noted that special docking arrangements are being set up at the city's Pier 45, on Fisherman's Wharf, next door to the ferry terminal for Alcatraz, as the basin aside the StFYC is too shallow to accommodate the maxis.
For Genuine Risk's owner, competing in the Rolex Big Boat Series is a homecoming. PITTMAN has fond memories of competition in the 1970s and 1980s, but this will be the first time sailing on a big boat. 'Genuine Risk is coming to San Francisco because Big Boat is one of the better events held in the world,' said Robbie HAINES (USA), Genuine Risk's project manager and the 1984 Olympic gold medallist in the Soling. 'John CRAIG does a great job running races, the setting is beautiful and the wind is always strong.' Although HAINES has not raced onboard Genuine Risk as of yet, he is looking forward to the longer courses proposed outside the Golden Gate Bridge. 'Going outside is the only way to get boats there and not get carnage on the racecourse,' he said. 'The legs are too short and going out the bridge is the only way for these two boats to get enough room to really perform.'
HAINES is currently preparing with Roy DISNEY's team onboard Pyewacket for its final career race in the Centennial Transpac this July.
Morning Glory and her accomplished crew also are preparing for the Transpac race, and then will make their way toward San Francisco to prepare for the Rolex Big Boat Series. 'The Morning Glory team is looking forward to racing in the windy conditions of San Francisco Bay,' said LARSON. 'We are saddened by the departure of Roy DISNEY from Z86 sailing but look forward to racing Genuine Risk and the other big boats that will come to race in one of the world's best sailing venues.'
Although racing on San Francisco Bay is considered an inshore venue and not the typical maxi boat arena, the Rolex Big Boat Series annually attracts some of the world's top ocean racers eager to face the challenge of California's famed Golden Gate, one of the world's most tumultuous bodies of water. Up to 335 feet deep and only a mile and a quarter wide, the Golden Gate is the largest California coastal opening, a portal into which the Pacific Ocean surges. Powerful currents also flow in the opposite direction, as water from many of Northern California's freshwater rivers and streams rushes into San Francisco Bay. This freshwater flow collides with the incoming Pacific, creating complex and violent currents. At 2.3 million cubic feet per second, these currents pump one sixth of the volume of the San Francisco Bay through the Gate and into the Pacific Ocean every day.
Coveted prizes for the fleet are six perpetual trophies - Richard Rheem, St. Francis, City of San Francisco, Atlantic, Keefe-Kilborn Memorial and the Commodore's Cup. Specially engraved Rolex timepieces also will be awarded to the perpetual trophy winners.
Racing takes place on the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay within viewing range of Pier 39 and the Marina District, between Treasure Island and the Golden Gate Bridge, with the finish line set off the St. Francis Yacht Club Race Deck.