The 2016 California Offshore Race Week will feature the combined efforts of Encinal Yacht Club, San Francisco Yacht Club, Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club, Santa Barbara Yacht Club and San Diego Yacht Club to provide a week-long schedule of races in a tour from Northern California to Southern California. The race will combine three previously solo events starting May 27 with the Spinnaker Cup, then the Coastal Cup and concluding with the SoCal 300 finishing on June 4.
Racers have the option of completing the entire week or they can choose to participate in certain individual races. There are currently 19 boats registered for all three legs of the race week, with additional boats registered for the individual segments.
This year there is also a third participation option since the SoCal 300 portion of the week is partnering with Sailonline.org, a website dedicated to online race simulation. For the first time ever, participants can compete in the SoCal 300 online and “navigate” the race in a similar environment that imitates the actual race.
Sailonline has years of experience virtualizing other point-to-point races around the world including the Stamford Yacht Club Vineyard Race, the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Rolex China Sea Race and Sail Training International Tall Ships Regatta in Europe.
Bruce Nelson from San Diego Yacht Club is an active Sailonline participant and is looking forward to this new partnership. “For several years now I have enjoyed navigating in some of the world’s most iconic ocean races from the comfort of my living room couch – every yachtsman’s dream come true! Sailonline provides such opportunities with realistic routing simulations of well-known races, often run in parallel with the actual race for interesting real time comparisons with the fleet. I especially enjoy virtual races that I’ve previously sailed in real life, such as the Vineyard, Fastnet and Sydney-Hobart races.”
Race elements like start times and course waypoints will remain consistent to the real race, making it a very realistic experience. Sailonline will work with the race’s tracker, YB Tracking, to display the real boats participating in the race on the water so that those racing at home can compare their progress with the real fleet.
According to Nelson, “Sailonline maintains an updated database of polar data for a wide variety of boats, including TP52’s, Open60’s, Volvo70’s, 100 ft Super-Maxis and ORMA 60 trimarans. The process is identical to navigating the actual race: study the weather and use the polars to strategically plan an optimal route, then keep a tactical eye on the top competitors and watch what they are doing – the top guys are very, very good and share their knowledge in the popular chat box. It is a lot of fun and highly educational.”
"The virtual race simulation is scarily accurate as boats try to pick a line through the doldrums," expressed Martin Vaughan, Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the 2018 Melbourne to Osaka Double-handed Race. Martin was a competitor in the virtual M2O Prelude put on by Sailonline last month to give prospective entrants in the 2018 event a chance to see the weather patterns that exist at the same time of year as the real event. Martin was also a competitor in the 2013 'real' Melbourne to Osaka Race and had firsthand experience of the course.
The SoCal 300 race page will go live starting 10 days before the race for new participants to familiarize with the layout of the screen and how to control their simulated boat.