Greg, just go to Long Beach, find the Queen Mary, walk to the Hotel at the bow, and you'll be home. Best place to watch the start is from the transom of the QM, then walk back to the Hotel as the finish line is a line drawn right in front. Friday is great bench racing and sight seeing in the pits and launch ramp.
Remember, this race is only about 62 miles round trip from Long Beach to Catalina and back and the winner will be back in less than an hour if the water is smooth, just over an hour if rough. There should be around 100 teams starting this year (I ran it a few times with over 125 teams) with entries from all over the world. Todd Haig will be hard to beat this year again.