I'm not sure how far off you'd stay for best progress, there's westbound current along the shore further out than you might think, so it is a matter of staying outside the shore currents (more than a mile, perhaps 2-3?) and staying inshore from any commercial traffic, then picking a post where the wind is strong and the swells gentle. In the ALIR races, where the winers don't really want to share nav secrets, it seems to be 3-10 miles out is the sweet range. that will vary of course, you'll see fish traps, ocean buoys, curves to stay out clear of...plenty of room for personal choice.
Matter of fact if you come up in the last weekend of July, you can "escort" the ALIR race fleet.