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Big Boat Action Starts Thursday

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (Sept. 18, 1996) — St. Francis Yacht Club's annual Big Boat Series gets under way Thursday on San Francisco Bay when some 90 sailboats square off for trophies in 10 classes.

In the featured Maxi Class, with boats ranging 72 to 81 feet in length, AmericaOne skipper Paul Cayard and tactician John Kostecki will compete against each other, as well other America's Cup veterans.

Cayard is tactician aboard shipping magnate George Coumantaros' Boomerang, and will probably relieve the owner at the helm periodically. Kostecki is tactician aboard Don Smith's Falcon 2000, which is being steered by oneAustralia helmsman Rod Davis. The two boats met at the Kenwood Cup last month, with Boomerang getting the best of the Nelson/Marek-designed Falcon.

However, both boats must face Kenwood Cup winner Sayonara, owned by Oracle Corp. chairman Larry Ellison and steered by New Zealand America's Cup veteran Chris Dickson. Seeking to set the record straight will be Fancourt's Morning Glory, which broke a mast at the Kenwood Cup and did not finish the regatta. America's Cup winner Russell Coutts will be at the helm for the first two days, before flying off to Dubrovnik, Croatia, for the world match racing championship. Mike Dodson will take over for Coutts.

Rounding out the six-boat Maxi fleet will be James Dolan's 81-foot Sagamore, and Charles Burnett's 72-foot Casiopeia.

Check back daily for Paul Cayard's first-hand accounts of the on-the-water action.

For full coverage of the Big Boat Series, see the St. Francis Yacht Club web site.


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