North Sails: News Details


Rollers, Reaching & Resilience: 2009 Lake Ontario 300

William French for North Sails

North-powered boats dominate one of the longest freshwater races in the world

A calming confident aura spread over Port Credit Yacht Club (PCYC) at the end of July as competitors prepared for the start of the 2009 Lake Ontario 300 (LO 300). Being one of the longest freshwater races in the world, combined with the unpredictable weathering of Lake Ontario this regatta proves to be one of the most challenging. One by one vessels escaped the comfort and protection of the harbor and exposed themselves to the unknown challenges of Lake Ontario. There was a steady 10 knot breeze from the west, which would send racers on a 130 mile sprint to Main Duck. The combination of rolling seas and inconsistent puffs meant that there would be little rest along the way. Upon rounding Main Duck there was a general sigh of relief as racers hardened up for the long upwind slog to Oswego. Sheets and traveler lines were worn thin as competitors sought for the perfect trim that would battle through the opposing wind and waves. There was slight room for error.

Only after Oswego would challengers switch gears for the sprint to open water. The wind had dropped to an averaging 5 knots, and the critical decision was at hand: “Stay inland, or gamble for big breeze offshore?” A sad reality was in store for those who choose to sail out into the lake. The short tacking boats inland made huge gains throughout the night. As the morning sunrise exposed the fleet a staggering reality confirmed the grim result. The outbound boats had paid a huge price for their mistake.

This year’s LO 300, headlined by BlackBerry, was one of the fastest races to date. The first finisher honored by the rising sun would be John Odenbach’s Concordia 47, Rampage, who took the title for the Main Duck Fully Crewed Spinnaker course. Powered by North sails, they crossed the finishing line with an impressive course completion time of 1:19:04:45. Other honorable mentions go to Ian Struthers for his first place finish in the Main Duck double handed fleet on Plika and soon to follow, North American Champion Zingara, with a 3rd place finish for Richard Reid. Flyer, competing on the Scotch Bonnet Course, was well sailed by Ron Ciamaga to take home the trophy for the white sail fleet as well as Aria who took a second place finish for Marc Renzella. Competitors would roll into PCYC until the early hours of Tuesday morning. Lake Ontario had provided yet another exciting chapter to the lives of so many sailors. Regardless of class, course, or contingency, competitors relaxed around the pleasant grounds of PCYC, raised their glasses, and shared new and old tales of the Lake Ontario 300.

Rank Fleet Boat Class HelmName
1 MDIC-FC1 (IRC) Rampage  Concordia 47  John Odenbach 
1 MDIC-DH1 Plika Ben First 10R Ian Struthers 
1 MDIC-FC2 Afterburn Dash 34 Darren Gornall 
1 SBIC-DH WS 1 Flyer J/100 Ronald Ciamaga 
2 MDIC-FC1 Tango Beneteau 36.7 Pierre Savard 
2 SBIC-FC WS 1 Aria C&C 110 Marc Renzella 
3 SBIC-DH WS 2 Grey Haven* Niagara 35 Michael Gainer 
3 MDIC-DH 1 Zingara Benteau 36.7 Richard Reid 

* Denotes partial North Sails Inventory.