For centuries, sailing has been known for the stately progression of billowing white triangles and trapezoids across an azure sea.
But 2012 may become known as the year San Francisco Bay changed all that.
Spurred by the America’s Cup switch to high-speed catamarans, the West Coast’s most prestigious sailboat race, known as the Rolex Big Boat Series, for the first time allowed speedy multihulled boats to enter the racing, which finished Sept. 9.
The move was like allowing turbocharged engines in motor sports. Dyed-in-the-wool sailors call it a move to the dark side.
St. Francis Yacht Club Commodore Peter Stoneberg pushed that move. He raced aboard his ProSail 40 catamaran Shadow and ultimately took first among the multihulls.
“The Rolex Big Boat Series is one of the premier events in the world, and having catamarans included in it for the first time is very exciting for us,” said Stoneberg. “You just can’t beat the thrill and adrenaline of racing them on San Francisco Bay.”