Rock  Roll upwind

(photo by Rolex/Daniel Forster)

San Francisco, CA -- On the strength of scores of 1-3 in today's two races, Bernie Girod's modified Farr 400 ROCK & ROLL has taken the early lead in the HPR Class at the 50th edition of St Francis YC's 2014 Rolex Big Boat Series.

Racing today provided a wide variety conditions: light air and flat water in Race 1, complicated by a strong flood current and holes in the breeze to re-shuffle the fleet, and windy choppy conditions in Race 2 complicated by a missing leeward mark.

Girod and his team based in Santa Barbara were excited about their return to race in San Francisco again this year, and this past Spring his Farr 400 had a bow modification done to improve its performance. The change must have worked, because today’s performance put them on top of the HPR Class leaderboard.

"I am very bullish about the bow modification. The first thing you would notice is that the boat is dry, as hard as it is to believe. Instead of plunging into the next wave, the 400 now slices right through the waves and the water is diverted to the sides instead of coming over the top. It's a very nice improvement both upwind and down."

Race 1 fleet start

(photo by Rolex/Daniel Forster)

After winning the start in the first race, Greg Slyngstad's J/125 HAMACHI looked in good shape to do well on the 9.4-mile windward-leeward course. But like the elapsed time leader BEECOM, Anatole Masfen's TP 52, a hole in the breeze and more wind filling fast from behind helped the smaller boats catch up and corrected out ahead, although not by much: Girod's victory over runner-up Daniel Thielman's R/P 44 TAI KAUI was by only 9 seconds in two hours of racing!

A redress request due to a missing mark in Race 2 and another protest may shuffle the results tonight, but the team's 1-3 scores look safe from being changed to retain their claim as the day's winning team.

Racing resumes with two more races planned tomorrow at St Francis YC in the 50th Rolex Big Boat Series, which continues through Sunday. The start of Race 3 is scheduled for 1100 PDT.

For photos, videos, results, and more information on the event, visit

For more information on the High Performance Rule, visit