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10 September 2012, 09:01 am
Class Winners and IRC North American Champion Determined At Rolex Big Boat Series
TP52 Vesper
TP52 Vesper named the IRC North American Champions

Rolex Big Boat Series 2012
San Francisco, USA

On the fourth and final day of the 48th annual Rolex Big Boat Series, a majority of the eight classes competing had bristling showdowns to determine winners, while others held the line to establish early leaders as class victors, including IRC A's Jim Swartz (USA) and his team aboard the TP52 Vesper, which also were named the IRC North American Champions for 2012.
"In my mind, sailing is all about teamwork, and we just have a fantastic team," said Swartz, mentioning crew members Jamie Gale, Ken Keefe and Gavin Brady as among the greatest sailors in the world. "It really helps the program immensely when you have a group of people who know how to take care of each other."

Ken Keefe added that the team also won the IRC East Coast Championship earlier this year. "After having a successful summer on the East Coast and then to come here and do so well is just an incredible feat and shows how strong our team is."
As it did last year here, Vesper also won the St. Francis Perpetual Trophy, one of six coveted awards given for best performances in specific classes at this regatta. The trophies remain on display at St. Francis Yacht Club; however, six Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner watches are presented to skippers as personal evidence of their teams having won them.

The final day's single "Bay Tour" distance race showed all classes (four for IRC, one for Catamarans and one each for Express 37s, J/105s and J/120s) the four corners of San Francisco Bay, routing 66 teams on courses that incorporated a start near Berkeley Pier to the east, mark roundings near the Golden Gate Bridge to the west and natural obstacles such as Alcatraz and Treasure Islands for assured testing of navigational skills. Conditions remained the same as they basically had been all regatta long: amazingly free of San Francisco's famous morning marine layer, with sunny skies, temperatures in the low 60s, and plenty of breeze going the same direction as a strong flood tide, which meant mostly smooth-water sailing.

City of San Francisco Trophy - IRC B: Overnight leader in IRC B, Daniel Woolery (USA) aboard the King 40 Soozal, had to beat defending champion Brad Copper (USA) and his Custom Tripp 43 TNT to win, and he did it by finishing first to TNT's third. Woolery only slipped from the top spot on the scoreboard once this week, on Friday when TNT temporarily displaced him.

"This is my third Rolex Big Boat Series," said Woolery. "Since the very beginning, we've always managed to have a good record with more wins than losses. Others said that Soozal was the boat to beat for this regatta, and it turns out it was the case, but we had to work hard to get there."

Richard Rheem Perpetual Trophy - IRC C: Peter Kreuger's J/125 Double Trouble, which last year won this class with Kreuger's boat partner Andy Costello skippering, added a victory today to four more it had garnered over the previous six races and finished a full five points ahead of its closest competition, Resolute, another J/125 skippered by Tim Fuller (USA). The class, reserved for light-displacement boats in the 40-foot range, is commonly referred to as "fast forties," and was dual-scored using the IRC as well as the new HPR (High Performance Rule). Double Trouble was the dual winner in both systems; however, Bernard Girod's (USA) Farr 400 Rock & Roll, which was fourth in IRC C, took second using HPR scoring. Resolute took third in HPR, and the overall corrected time differences proved to be much closer in this new system. "This helps prove the new rule as being more favorable towards the latest-generation high-performance designs," said HPR rule developer Bill Lee.

"It was a great race today," said Double Trouble's tactician Jeff Madrigali (USA), a 1996 Olympic medalist who grew up sailing here. "We had a light-air start, but the wind built really fast and the fleets were all intermingled and boats were flying. It was fun. The week has been great, with really good weather, great race management and a wonderful group of people to sail against."

Keefe-Kilborn Perpetual Trophy - IRC D: It was all about who beat whom in IRC D, and Frank Morrow's (USA) Hawkeye managed to hold off Gerard Sheridan's (USA) Tupelo Honey for the lead, winning the race and finishing one point ahead of Tupelo Honey, which finished second in today's race and claimed second overall.

Sailed since 1964, the St. Francis Yacht Club Big Boat Series added Rolex Watch U.S.A. as a title sponsor in 2005. For next year, the event moves back one week to September 26-29.

Full report and results at

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