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Farallon Islands Challenge On For August

With the Gateway Marathon from Florida to the Bahamas and back successfully in the books, organizers of the Ocean Cup series of offshore powerboat endurance races now shift their focus to the other coast. Up next is the inaugural Farallon Islands Challenge, August 23-27, in Northern California.

Fun fact? Just 28 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Farallon Islands are among the world’s best-known white shark breeding grounds or—more accurately—waters.

After an early exit from the Gateway Marathon, Discovery Bay, Calif.-based Patriotic Duty team will be looking for redemption on home-water. Photo courtesy/copyright Neil London.

Not that anyone plans to fall overboard during the event, which will offer two Union Internationale Motonautique-approved course for competitors. At 137 miles, the long course starts from the Carquinez Bridge in Benecia and takes competitors around the islands and back. The shorter, 71-mile also starts from the span but turns back to San Francisco Bay and its original inland starting point after passing under the Golden Gate Bridge.

Though the event is new to the Ocean Cup series this year, it holds a storied place in the Golden State’s offshore-racing history.

“This was my hometown race when the Pacific Offshore Powerboat Racing Association series was active in Benicia between 1993 and 2004,” said Rob Storlee, a retired offshore racer of note, in an Ocean Cup press release. “After several years of racing in my 34-foot Magic Potion (raceboat) with Bob Teague and Steve Ingram, we finally won the Offshore B Class in 2004.

“I know the entire community is looking forward to Ocean Cup bringing offshore racing back to Benicia,” he added.

Three veteran Ocean Cup teams—Revelation Racing from Mississippi, Copeland’s Raymarine out of Oklahoma and Northern California’s own Patriotic duty—have registered for the event to date. Based out of nearby Discovery Bay and crewed by Tony Adams, Allen Bellinghausen and Steve Seaton, Patriotic Duty, a 47-foot open-cockpit Outerlimits V-bottom, naturally is the local fan-favorite. And after its early exit from the Gateway Marathon thanks to a minor mechanical issue, the team will be looking for redemption.

The Farallon Islands Challenge has two UIM-approved courses.

But the event also has already attracted one newcomer to offshore endurance racing. Northern California’s Brian Creech plans to run his 36-foot Mirage V-bottom powered by twin Mercury Racing 540 engines.

“I never imagined I would be able to do something like this,” Creech said in the release. “Running around San Francisco Bay is great, but including 60 miles of open ocean out to the Farallons (and back) will be a real offshore challenge.”

Speedonthewater.com will provides updates this event as they become available.

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