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The ‘Hardway’ Around

The annual Hardway Race is one of Southern California’s most unsung annual offshore offerings, and it lived up to its moniker last Saturday. A weak eddy resulted in an hours-long crawl to the 40-knot westerly breeze that generated it. But for the two starters who hung in there — Bill Guilfoyle’s SC52 Prevail and Bernie Girod’s Farr 400 Rock n’ Roll — the reward was a 22-mile smash-fest down the backside of Santa Cruz Island.

Started off Santa Barbara by the Santa Barbara Sailing Club and finished by the Pierpont Bay YC in Ventura, the 67-mile course takes racers out across the Santa Barbara Channel, and through the Santa Cruz Channel. The Santa Cruz Channel is bounded by Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands, and is one of the most consistently windy places on the California coast south of Point Conception. After the two boats traded tacks in a transition zone at the east end of Santa Cruz Island, Prevail converted a quarter mile of leverage to the east into a quicker exit from the Anacapa Passage to take elapsed time honors and a 15-minute corrected-time win — her third in six years — after the sprint to the finish inside the Ventura Harbor breakwater.

For the 14 starters in the simultaneous "Easyway" coastwise course, the eddy never broke, and only four boats finished, with Moll/Schlageter’s 1D35T Misfit winning Coastwise Spinnaker A, and Bill and Dianne Miller’s Capri 25 Superstition taking the Coastwise Non-Spinnaker honors. Paul Martson’s Contour 34 Orange won the Multihull division. Full results are at

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