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12 June 2021

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It is hard to believe that it is already the sixth running of a virtual SoCal 300! In 2016, San Diego Yacht Club (SDYC) co-organisers of the SoCal300, part of California Offshore Race Week first worked with Sailonline to bring virtual and real fleets together in competition. What a great association! Often, however, local wx conditions can mean that not all goes strictly to plan and, sadly this was the case this year, with a tricky start and a super-slow race forecast, resulting in several in the real fleet simply having to retire. Such setbacks to best-laid-plans, however, help reinforce how virtual sailing, as realistic as that on Sailonline, can open a window onto the world of decision-making in real racing, where practicalities as well as wind and sea conditions come into play.

The race this year was predicted to be the slowest on record and although the start was pretty smart, once through through the channel between Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Islands on the way to the NOAA Buoy, both fleets headed offshore in search of better winds (see pic 1 below). A day later (see pic 2 below) and the real fleet, with advantage perhaps not just of local knowledge but also prevailing tides/currents, appeared to diverge from the bulk of the virtual fleet of Santa Cruz 52s, and ended up making better progress and arriving in San Diego some time ahead!

Sailonline’s fleet this time saw boats flying the flags of 28 different countries take part and our congratulations must go to our podium three, representing Poland, Germany and USA, for an excellent result. While it was impossible to arrive in a record time, given the conditions (see the real results here), for the three of them to arrive within 3m 24s of each other is impressive. Congratulations guys!

Timelapse by calmxy

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