Sailors Across California Come to the Bay Area for Annual Regatta
Pac 52 crews hang off the sides of their boats, known as hiking out, to help decrease how far the boat leans away from the wind. (Anne Wernikoff/KQED)
At the start of day two of the Rolex Big Boat Series regatta, the clouds were clearing. The water was calm and the crews were ready to hit the water.
“It’s like starting all over again,” said Austin Fragomen. He's the co-owner and helmsman of Interlodge, one of four Pac 52 boats competing in the event.
The annual regatta, hosted by the Saint Francis Yacht Club, is a Bay Area mainstay in the sailing community. The four-day-long race has been going on since the 1960s and it's the largest formal boat racing event held on the Bay. Sailors from across California, and beyond, look forward to it all year.
“It’s just fun,” said Theresa Brandner, Commodore at Saint Francis. “The exhilaration of going out on the race course is unparalleled to anything else.”
This year there are 77 boats competing with both single-design and multi-design division races. The crews at Saint Francis are mostly made up of non-professional sailors, known as Corinthians, but competitors can come from anywhere as long as they qualify. However, according to Susan Ruhne, regatta co-chair and longtime member, the larger boats have more than a few pros among their ranks. "It's a prestigious race," she said, noting that the series is on "a lot of racer's bucket lists."