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Selden 2020 - LEADERBOARD

West Coast sailors gear up for California's Offshore Racing Series

by San Diego Yacht Club 24 May 18:13 BST
California Offshore Race Week © Sharon Green / ultimatesailing.com

The 2024 California Offshore Race Week (CORW) is here and the excitement is buzzing. The series includes three separate races down the coast from San Francisco to San Diego.

The first leg starts off with the Spinnaker Cup, San Francisco to Monterey (84 nm), then the Coastal Cup from Monterey to Santa Barbara (205 nm), and finally the SoCal 300 from Santa Barbara to San Diego (255 nm).

In 2023, the CORW saw the smallest boat in the fleet, Marc-Andrea Klimaschewski's Dogpatch 26 Moonshine, achieve an impressive overall victory. Klimaschewski and his crew, representing the Pacific Northwest, navigated challenging conditions and enjoyed the thrill of the SoCal 300 segment. The event also highlighted notable performances from other competitors, including the Express 37s dominating the Spinnaker Cup and the MOD 70s in the CA 500 race.

Nine teams are set to race the full week long series in two classes split by boat size and ORR ratings including last year's overall series winner Moonshine. Veteran of the Offshore Race Week Series and past overall winner is Dave MacEwen and his Lucky Duck team (2018 overall winner in the Santa Cruz 52 Lucky Duck). MacEwen has moved on to a Rogers 46 in recent years and has raced in just about every CORW since its inception. The Rogers 46 will race in Class A, featuring a TP52, Santa Cruz 52 and dueling J/125s who seem to be always competitive in this series.

Class B will line up a Santa Cruz 37 (Wildcard), J/133 (Bacchanal), Dogpatch 26 (Moonshine), and the doublehanded Moore 24 (Oxymoron).

The Spinnaker Cup is now in its 9th year as the first leg of the California Offshore Race Week. The idea of this of 90-mile downwind run from San Francisco to Monterey grew out of an association between past MPYC Commodore Donna Womble, Betty and Don Lessley, Doug Storkovich and the Yacht Racing Association of San Francisco Bay, becoming part of the YRA SF offshore series upon its founding in 1998 and then a standalone race in 2003.

This exhilarating NorCal offshore race touts nearly 50 boats on the starting line in San Francisco Bay from fully crewed big boats including Santa Cruz 70's, TP52's, Cal 40's, Express 37's, J-boats to multihulls and new this year a double-handed fleet including Moore 24's and Express 27's. The regatta is co-hosted by Encinal Yacht Club (EYC) as part of organizing authority, St. Francis Yacht Club (StFYC) as the start line facility and Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club (MPYC) as the finish line facility, which is all volunteer-led.

Rebecca Hinden, Bombora, Express 27: "I'm really looking forward to a full moon race - as a smaller boat we don't have the luxury of finishing before dark. But nothing better than surfing across Monterey bay under a moonlit sky. We also love the hospitality at MPYC, even if we don't make it in time for the chili. We have a great crew this year and we have made a couple little changes to the boat which I'm excited to try out. I'm just hoping to learn something and to go as fast as possible!"

The Spinnaker Cup and Coastal Cup existed for years prior to the creation of the SoCal 300. SDYC/SBYC developed the SoCal 300 in 2015, then joined it with the other two events in 2016 to create the series.

Many of the teams are using the series as a practice and qualifier for this summer's Pacific Cup (SF to Hawaii).

Andrew Hamilton, Wolfpack, Donovan 30: "We are looking forward to the Spinnaker Cup and using it as a Pac Cup warm-up, along with a lot of other boats it appears. In my case my Pac Cup doublehanded partner is Christine Shope from Newport, RI. She's here for this event and we're pleased to have a chance to do some training while enjoying the race. We are not stopping in Monterey though as we will extend the trip into the 150 mile qualifier for Pac Cup before going ashore in Santa Cruz where I live."

While the CA 500 isn't running this year (SF to SD, approx 500 miles), as the MOD 70s aren't racing on the West Coast currently, there are a few multihulls participating in the series this year, including two Seacart 30s racing in the SoCal 300 next week. David Schumann bought his Seacart 30 Bottle Rocket in sight unseen from Malaysia during the pandemic to get back to his multihull sailing roots after a 6 year J/70 campaign.

David Schumann on his Seacart 30 racing program: "Once the boat arrived and was assembled, we quickly determined we wanted to put it back into a more "Seacart" configuration and spent most of the first season removing the foils and t-rudders and redesigning the rigging systems to try to make the boat easier to sail. Fortunately I had been introduced to Trevor Baylis who provided immeasurable insight, design, and carbon and rigging work to get the project moving. Our core sailing crew that year was myself, Trevor, Paul Allen, and a rotating fourth spot, racing the boat in local SF distance races.

Our goals for the next year were to double-down on the coastal racing and see really how long a race would be practical in a boat with such limited interior volume, no inboard auxiliary power, and no water maker.

This year is really a continuation of last, but focusing on getting more experience in progressively longer coastal races and passages. The goal for the boat has always been to build the fastest 30-foot race boat capable of overnight racing without regard to ratings. Over the years we've made changes to our sail plan to try to fill gaps in our performance against larger boats, and this year's racing including the SoCal 300 gives us an opportunity to see how those changes work. This year we've raced the Newport to Ensenada race, and after SoCal 300 we plan to do the Bayview-Mac race, then put the boat back into SF Bay mode and race in the Rolex Big Boat Series. We hope that this year's coastal races will inform us as to whether longer coastal races would be appropriate. Seacart 30s have competed in longer coastal races such as Fastnet, Round Britain and Ireland, and Caribbean 600, so we are hopeful that we can safely step up to longer races in the future."

Race fans can follow the action on the YB Tracker which will show real time position updates every 15 minutes across all events at yb.tl/corw2024 or on the YB Tracker mobile app.

Chris Ray will be photographing the starts in San Francisco Bay, and Sharon Green and Ultimate Sailing will be capturing starting and aerial photos of the SoCal 300 in Santa Barbara, out to the islands.

Quantum Sails will provide pre-race weather briefings prior to each of the three events, at the skippers meetings and live streamed on Zoom, while sponsoring the kick off party at St. Francis Yacht Club.

The California Offshore Race Week is sponsored by Quantum Sails and Helly Hansen.

www.offshoreraceweek.com

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