Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lake Ontario 300

After this summer's cruise I have a new respect for racers.

The Lake Ontario 300 is the longest annually held fresh water sailing race in the world.

Sailboats that finished this grueling race were able to cover more territory than we did on our entire 2009 summer cruise - but in just 2 to 3 days.

....and I'm proud to say that several of the winning boats hailed from BPYC. Rebellion, Sebana and Arc-en-ciel all ranked first in their class - quite an accomplishment considering the competition. We have some amazing sailors at our club!
The day started with a comfortable eight knot westerly that took the fleet on a downwind ride from Port Credit towards Toronto. Winds started building at the Gibraltar mark and some crews could not hold their symmetrical chutes in the building and shifting winds. By mid afternoon the lead boats were enjoying 15 – 20 knots of wind along with six foot swells that provided exhilarating rides for some and attempted broaches for others. more details...

I guess it really hit me this trip because we often waited for the wind to blow and then went wherever and whenever. When I was at the helm and following our course on the GPS, I could see how veering off even a few degrees adds hours to the trip. When there was no wind, we just turned on the motor.

Racers in the Lake Ontario 300 rely on incredible skill and endurance because no motoring is allowed. That means a lot of tacking, jibing and spinnaker. Veering even a fraction off course adds incredible delays, so you can't just go wherever or whenever if you take your standing seriously. And physically punishing - just ask Linda D. who was covered in bruises from her spinnaker duty.

I'm definitely a fan of these incredible and amazing racers... but I am a cruiser at heart.

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