Wednesday, June 15, 2016

SoCal 300 Race & CORW Report

J/105 sailing SoCal offshore race (Santa Barbara, CA)- The 2016 California Offshore Race Week featured the combined forces of five yacht clubs along the California coast to produce a fortnight-long schedule of offshore racing.

The race brought together the Spinnaker Cup, the Coastal Cup and the SoCal 300 from May 27th to June 5th- from San Francisco to Monterrey to Santa Barbara to San Diego. In between races, the boats had enough layover time in each port to make modifications to their boats for the next legs, participate in beer can races, return to work or just meet up with friends and family.

Beginning on May 27, 58 boats competed in the 88nm Spinnaker Cup from San Francisco to Monterey. This was followed on May 30 by 27 boats participating in the 200nm Coastal Cup from Monterey to Santa Barbara. The finale on June 3 was the SoCal 300 taking 27 teams along the 254nm course from Santa Barbara to San Diego.

The fleet experienced increasingly lighter winds coming down the coast, which foreshadowed expectations going into the SoCal 300. Forecasts were predicting a massive high pressure system to stall on the coast and push the much sought after Pacific trade winds even further out to sea.

The race started in about 2-4 knots of wind that stayed light until boats were able to clear the Santa Cruz Channel where there was slightly more pressure, but nothing too significant.

One crew member on a Santa Cruz 52 described the race as, “it was a brutal, challenging race because the wind never got going. The fog was extremely dense, with maybe only 100 feet of visibility. The toughest part was getting out of the Santa Cruz Channel. Because of these factors, it took us an extra 12 hours to complete the race this year compared to last year.”

A skipper on a Santa Cruz 50 was trapped in the lee between the two Santa Cruz Islands. “We made the decision to put our anchor down at one point because we weren’t certain where the currents would take us. We didn’t want to hit a rocky point and be forced to turn the engine on. So we dropped anchor next to a Cal 40, which looked like a complete ghost ship in the distance because of the fog.”

Seventeen teams competed in all three events that comprised the inaugural California Offshore Race Week. In the SoCal 300 race, Viggo Torbensen’s’ crew from Dana Point YC prevailed in the difficult conditions to take second in PHRF D Class and, as a result, 5th in PHRF D class overall for the CORW.

With a 2-2-5 record, it was Scott Grealish’s J/88 BLUE FLASH from Portland, Oregon and the Willamette SC that took the silver in the overall CORW series for PHRF D Class. Sailing photo credit- Sharon Green/ Ultimate  For more SoCal 300 Race sailing information