THE RACING We share firsthand reports on California Offshore Race Week, the OYRA Duxship and OYRA (Faux) Farallones. We sail with the Delta Ditch Run and visit PICYA's Lipton Cup. Two reports about ocean races out of L.A. (Cat Harbor & Return and the First One Hundred) follow. We've got Box Scores and Race Notes in here too.
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the least crowded race, attracting a tight-knit fleet of full-series racers. For this year's series it was also where the weather went south — literally! Instead of enjoying the northerly wind that predominates along California's coast, we beat for the first 24 hours into a 15-knot southerly. However, dominantswell waves from the north made for easier sailing and unique upwind surfing conditions. "We're making yachting history: beating south to Point Conception!" exclaimed our navigator, Paul Kamen, who's plied those waters for years. Late on day two, the wind backed near Point Conception. We hoisted our repaired A4 and flew to the point. It was an exciting surf session, and an allhands, all-tethered sleigh ride. Around the point however, the Santa Barbara Channel was becalmed for the entire night. Many boats retired, with their YB trackers showing 6 knots on rhumb line to the harbor.
The 'Destin' crew after their first-place finish in the Coastal Cup. Standing, left to right: Hawkeye King, Elaine Scott, Nick Diel, Katie Cornetta, David Janinis, Kelsey Torstenson, Duncan Ferguson. Front: Paul Kamen (navigator), Romeo Uriarte (owner).
California Offshore Race Week This year was the fifth running of California Offshore Race Week, a race series spanning the coast from San Francisco to San Diego. The event started in 2016 when organizers from four yacht clubs cooperated to link three existing offshore races: the Spinnaker Cup from San Francisco to Monterey, the Coastal Cup to Santa Barbara, and the SoCal 300 to San Diego. I had the pleasure of racing the full series in 2019, and couldn't wait to do it again this year on the Landmark 43 Destin. Typically, the three races offer 500+ miles of spirited downwind sailing. The 2021 races, however, would hold several surprises. The series starts with the Spinnaker Cup from San Francisco to Monterey. The race attracts many San Francisco Bay racers stretching their legs. It has run every year since 1997 and is cosponsored by Encinal Yacht Club. Spin Cup started off normally enough: We worked out the Gate through a strong flood, rounded Mile Rock, and reached south to the breeze. Then kites went up and the ride began. South of Half Moon Bay, the wind built into the 20s and boatspeeds climbed. On my boat, one kite got a bad wrap and was taken down, then a smaller kite immediately blew. We had just settled on white sails when a close competitor behind went through the same tribulations, saving our secondplace finish. Often the wind dies in Monterey Bay after dark, and you ghost in searching for the pier against the lights of the town. This year, however, the wind held all across the bay, surprising several boats that stayed outside to avoid a calm. As always, the hospitality at Monterey Peninsula YC warmed away the cold Pacific air with hot bowls of chili and stiff drinks. This year, COVID protocols reduced the usual bar-crowd camaraderie, but it was still a great vibe as we hung out watching and welcoming later crews trickling in. A day of provisioning and exploration in Fisherman's Wharf prepared teams for the next day's race to Santa Barbara. The 204-mile Coastal Cup is often
Santa Barbara YC is a gem on a soft, sandy beach atop the harbor. There, warm sunshine and a cold round of drinks put us in a great frame of mind for our best result of the series — a first place! The beach party lasted well into the night, and more than one skipper was escorted home by a diligent crew. The SoCal 300 to San Diego started with San Diego YC competitors who wanted better opportunities to train for the Transpac. The race rounds a virtual gate outside the Channel Islands, putting boats into the synoptic winds and bluewater conditions. "This is near the limit of Coast Guard rescue, so boats have to be better prepared and self-reliant," said Jeff Johnson of SDYC, "That's why we have more safety requirements for this leg. During the race, I'm up all night watching boats' tracks and on the phone with the Coast Guard in case of an incident." Thankfully, our biggest problem was possibly getting sick of freeze-dried meals during a long, light-air race. The race started in a sunny 12-knot breeze pushing us on rhumb line to the Santa Cruz Channel. Due to an oddity