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Cyclops 2022 May LEADERBOARD

2022 CA Offshore Race Week: SoCal 300

by San Diego Yacht Club 27 Apr 12:45 PDT June 2-4, 2022
2022 CA Offshore Race Week: SoCal 300 © Sharon Green /

The offshore racing season continues this summer with the West Coast favorite California Offshore Race Week. The week-long journey down the California coast is broken into three separate races and is hosted by Encinal Yacht Club, Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club, Santa Barbara Yacht Club and San Diego Yacht Club.

Skippers and crews are encouraged to add the entirety of the CORW to their bucket list, but have the option to opt into any of the individual legs.

  • Spinnaker Cup (San Francisco to Monterey): May 28-29
  • Coastal Cup (Monterey to Santa Barbara): May 30-May 31
  • SoCal 300 (Santa Barbara to San Diego): June 2-4

San Diego Yacht Club's hosted leg of the race with Santa Barbara Yacht Club, the SoCal 300, started as a stand alone event. In 2016, the race synced up with the Spinnaker Cup and the Coastal Cup, resulting in the California Offshore Race Week. As of late April, about 20 boats have registered for the SoCal 300 and 10 of them signed up for the full-week adventure. Those that have sailed in the SoCal 300 in the past can expect to see a similar race format from previous years. With the steady growth of the event since its founding, the SoCal 300 seems to remain as popular as ever.

The beautiful offshore landscape, blue waters, and occasional wildlife are just the cherry on top of this offshore sundae. There's a beauty to offshore racing that comes after the preparation, the packing of the food, and the gathering of safety equipment, and that's being out in the open sea, with nothing else to do but sail the boat.

New to the race this year is Kirk Denebeim sailing on Archambault 35 Mirthmaker. Denebeim and his team of Boat Partner Robb Daer, Mitch Dohman, and Craig Brown have scaled back on their sailing recently, but are ready to get back on the course. The team is starting their race in San Francisco and sailing to San Diego Yacht Club for the first time since the 1980s.

A little over a month out, Denebeim explains how he's prepping, including taking safety into consideration. "First, we make sure the boat is prepared -- hull, sails, deck gear, rigging, etc. And special attention is paid to safety equipment. We provision based on estimated time on the water with adequate cushion."

As with any offshore race, the SoCal 300, Coastal Cup, and Spinnaker Cup all come with their own risks and safety initiatives. To help ensure the safety of all of the participants, the NOR has clear guidelines and suggestions, including Safety Equipment Regulations (SER), stating requirements you must meet and equipment you must have; and a Vessel Safety Brief, developed in collaboration with the skippers and crew of the 2018 SoCal 300 that included two helicopter rescues from boats with critical crew injuries.

One tip for newcomers when it comes to offshore sailing safely is the popular answer of "practice."

SDYC Waterfront Director Jeff Johnson explains, "Sailing and everything else you do on a boat during the day in near-shore conditions is completely different at night in any type of open ocean sea state. Get crew that has done that before, and be sure to take new offshore crew (or everyone) out for an overnight sail more than 30 miles out."

Also taking safety precautions is Brian Ganz, sailing J/111 Zoom. Ganz is new to SoCal 300, but has been an avid offshore sailor for over 50 years. On his list of 94 tasks to prep for the race, taking a Safety at Sea course is one of them. Another item on his task list is: Change name on the boat to Zoom. Ganz explained, "This J/111 is a new boat to us, and we named it Zoom to fit the current climate of all Zoom work and meetings. We have a "Zoom" meeting every other Tuesday with the crew to check off the task list."

Ganz is sailing with his son, Austin, Andy Moulds, Simon Garland, Andrea Powell, and Carl Trampenau. The team is looking forward to going around San Nicolas Island with the big A2 up, surfing down the waves, and calling out how fast they are going. "But when we look at the wind on Predict Wind, seeing the buoys data offshore with gusts over 35 kts, we think this could be interesting," he said.

During each stop down the coast, there will be Skipper's Meetings held prior to each race and a mandatory check-in. Each club participating as a finishing location will hold their own awards ceremony. The SoCal 300 will kick off with a beach party in Santa Barbara featuring live music and end at San Diego Yacht Club with awards ceremony for the SoCal 300 and the entire CORW series.

Family, friends, and fans can follow along the racing through YB Tracking.

The entry deadline for the SoCal 300 is May 28 and all registrations must hold a valid 2022 ORR or ORR-ez certificate.

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