New offshore race to offer serious challenge

Published on February 19th, 2015

The inaugural SoCal 300 is aimed at serious ocean racing teams that want to tackle a challenging offshore course in Southern California. Hosted in partnership with Santa Barbara Yacht Club and San Diego Yacht Club, the SoCal 300 starts May 22 in Santa Barbara with the fleet weaving through the coastal islands before finishing in San Diego.

After the start, the fleet heads offshore to Richardson Rock, which lies in some of the roughest water in California. After rounding the rock, yachts will set spinnakers to run to the next scoring gate between San Nicholas and Santa Barbara Islands. From there it’s back offshore to Bishop Rock, on the famed Cortez Bank. After completing the leg to Bishop Rock, the yachts have a final leg to the finish line in San Diego.

The SoCal 300 will feature leg scoring with 5 total legs counted. There are 4 legs on the course: Santa Barbara to Richardson Rock, Richardson Rock to San Nicholas Island, San Nicholas Island to Bishop Rock, and Bishop Rock to San Diego. The fifth leg is the entire race length, which will be weighed 1.5 times heavier than any of the other individual legs. All five leg scores will be combined to determine each yacht’s overall score for the event.

The race will use the ORR rating system, with US Sailing to develop a wind matrix for each leg to keep the results as accurate as possible.

A combination of live tracking and GPS logs will be used to confirm scoring gate crossing times. Spectators can watch from home as the live tracking will give a visual picture of the fleet on the race course and SDYC will be providing live commentary onsite. Competing teams will also be able to send in photos, videos, and reports from the race course to be posted live on the event website:


UPDATE, May 11, 2015:
Based on feedback, the consensus is to adjust the primary course to the following:
– Start in Santa Barbara
– Remove “Richardson Rock” as a rounding mark, instead send boats between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands, with a scoring gate between “Skunk Pt”. and “Kinton Pt.”
– Keep the scoring gate which has boats passing between San Nicolas and Santa Barbara Islands.
– Remove “Bishop Rock” as a rounding mark, replace with NOAA Weather Buoy ODAS 46047, which is approximately 22 miles west of “Bishop Rock” and in deep water.
– Finish in San Diego

The revised course avoids the two points of concern to competitors, which were Richardson Rock and Bishop Rock. The course length is reduced from 271nm down to 254nm (or 292 statute miles).

Should the race encounter heavy weather on race day, the OA still has the option of running boats on the inside ‘heavy weather’ course. Revised primary course diagram below.


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