(Don Payan's WHIPLASH at speed - photo by Rolex/Daniel Forster)
San Francisco, CA – Another spectacular day at the 50th Anniversary Rolex Big Boat Series has yielded racing so close to bring two teams tied on points into a final showdown race for the Rolex tomorrow in the HPR Class. Don Payan’s MC 38 WHIPLASH had their best day yet by scoring two seconds today to Anatole Masfen's TP 52 BEECOM, while Greg Slyngstad’s J/125 HAMACHI scored two thirds.
This would have put WHIPLASH in the lead clear by one point, but a jury reinstatement of HAMACHI to second place in yesterday’s Race 4 has brought these two teams now tied on points. This prompts a final race showdown tomorrow between these two teams, with the class winner being awarded a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner timepiece.
“We have been sailing this boat really well for most of the week,” said WHIPLASH owner/helmsman Don Payan. “We did a rudder change that has made the boat much easier to sail, especially upwind where we’re much faster than we were here last year. The change to the fixed bowsprit has really helped too, making our downwind legs really fast - today we hit 19 knots in the last race!
“Tomorrow it will be tough, but we’ll just keep the pressure on to go for the win.”
(Greg Slyngstad's HAMACHI - photo Dobbs Davis/HPR)
The first race of the day was a 10.0-mile windward-leeward course set north of Alcatraz island in a building 8-12 knot breeze, with BEECOM able to hold on their time allowance and win, but by only 41 seconds in about an hour and a half of sailing. The day’s second race started near Fort Mason, and was a much longer 15.6-mile tour of the south and middle portions of the Bay, with a mix of beats, runs and reaches in breezier 18-20+ knot conditions.
(Anatole Masfen's BEECOM - photo Dobbs Davis/HPR)
BEECOM won this race too, by a much larger margin: 3:10 in nearly two hours of sailing. Tactician Norm Devant says this race they got away from the pack early and extended, having made few mistakes relative to their competition.
“I think we sailed better today than in most of the week, and didn’t leave much time on the course. The margins are close enough I think the HPR rule is working pretty well, better than some had predicted.”
Racing resumes tomorrow in the 50th Anniversary Rolex Big Boat Series with only one race left in the series: a long, so-called “Bay Tour” race that will be announced just before the start time tomorrow of 1100 PDT.
For photos, videos, results, and more information on the event, visit www.rolexbigboatseries.com.