Small Boat Wins Big at 2023 California Offshore Race Week

The smallest boat takes the Series again! The 2023 California Offshore Race Week concluded with Marc-Andrea Klimaschewski’s Dogpatch 26 Moonshine, the smallest boat in the fleet, earning the title of overall winner. For the second year in a row, a small boat made a big splash.

“All of us are very happy about the great result and we are proud to be representing the Pacific Northwest and following in the footsteps of our good friends on Pell Mell who won the series last year in another small, wooden boat,” said Klimaschewski. “Being a small boat, we always try minimizing our distance sailed. We also push the boat as hard as we can; the sails and loads are very manageable so if we overdo it on the gas pedal, that’s usually an easy fix.”

The team enjoyed going fast on a reach for an extended period of time. Their biggest challenge was during the Coastal Cup, with the light breeze during the first half of the race making it unclear if they could make the time limit. Run-ins with marine life added to the excitement!

The Spinnaker Cup was dominated by the Express 37s, who posted 3 of the best 4 corrected times, including overall winner Andy Schwenk’s Spindrift V.

Just before the start of the Spinnaker Cup on Saturday, May 27, the MOD 70s Orion and Argo began their CA 500 race starting off St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco Bay, then rounding the Farallon Islands to San Diego. Never straying more than 10 miles apart, the two completed the course in just over 30 hours, about an hour behind the record set by MOD 70 Powerplay in 2019. The MOD 70s will have a four-boat fleet in this summer’s Transpac Race to Hawaii.

The forecast for the Coastal Cup was described in the pre-race briefing by Quantum Sails as a particularly slow race, and several competitors opted to skip the start. That left just five finishers, who took between 37 to 50+ hours to finish the 205-nautical mile course. The smaller boats in Class C corrected ahead of the Class A Santa Cruz 70 Westerly and Botin 65 Artemis, with Ron Kell’s Express 27 Abigail Morgan won it on corrected time. Kell sailed with Oliver Kell, David Crowe and Seth Cohen – a crew that comes with offshore racing experience and time together on the boat.

“We listened to [Quantum Sails’ Jeff Thorpe’s] weather reports and looked at Windy.com and came to the conclusion that we needed to go out at least 40 miles after Point Sur going to Santa Barbara,” said Kell. “We had never been to San Diego and we certainly made a few tactical blunders. We weren’t prepared for it to be so freed up crossing the channel and were slow to set after passing the islands. The Series is definitely an endurance test. We were all very tired by the time we reached the entrance to San Diego Bay and with the added variable of the ebb, we lost a bit on the way to the finish.”

The SoCal 300 class featured four J/125s, with Daniel Murphy’s Javelin placing second in class behind Argo 4 by about 25 minutes. Also joining the class in the Pacific was a 50′ whale, following two boat lengths behind for a solid 20 minutes! “Super special,” Kieding said.

The 8th California Offshore Race Week wrapped up in San Diego on Saturday, June 3, with SoCal 300 and Series awards for class and overall winners. San Diego Yacht Club, along with co-hosting clubs St. Francis Yacht Club, Encinal Yacht Club, Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club, and Santa Barbara Yacht Club, thank all the competitors for their participation and will look forward to another great series in 2024.