Congratulations to Alex Simanis and his Seattle-based crew including Elishia Van Luven, Ben Towery and Joe Wilderman, for winning the 2022 California Offshore Race Week sailing regatta. 

This is a remarkable accomplishment, but even more amazing is the fact that they achieved it racing a renovated 27-foot plywood boat built 35 years ago. Simanis’ boat, Pell Mell, is a Point Bonita 27, built in 1987 by Dave Sutter, flying under the burgee of the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club. Simanis and friends totally renovated Pell Mell after he found her in rough condition in Poulsbo, Washington a year ago. (Read Alex’s my My Boat article about Pell Mell). The renovation included a full suit of Ballard Sails, designed by John Fries. Simanis is co-owner of Ballard Sails in Seattle, along with partner Joe Grieser. 

1st in class and 1st overall for the Pell Mell crew.

California Offshore Race Week is made up of three consecutive races that started on May 28, 2022 in  San Francisco Bay and finished on June 4, 2022 in San Diego, with ports of call in Monterey and Santa Barbara.

Pell Mell won the Spinnaker Cup from San Francisco to Monterey by claiming first in class and first overall in a fleet of 30 competitors, including boats such as the 70-foot Pied Piper, a carbon fiber Santa Cruz 70; Artemis, a 65-foot Botin; and Adrenalin, a Santa Cruz 70.

The Coastal Cup, which covers 204 nautical miles from Monterey to Santa Barbara had winds that were fresh to frightening. According to Simanis, “This leg is known to be rowdy. I was concerned, and almost pulled the plug. Huge waves, and 25-40 knots breeze. Had epic kite rides in daylight, but opted for main only all night. Boat was still going 8-15 knots! Oh, Point Conception? The waves there were massive!”

Even sailing with reduced sail area at night, Pell Mell won second in class and 6th overall in the Coastal Cup.

At 245 nautical miles, The longest leg of California Offshore Week is the SoCal 300, which started in Santa Barbara and finishes in San Diego. Pell Mell once again won first in class and first overall in this race, giving them the win for the three-race series as well.