North Sails LOFT NEWS
A CHALLENGE OF NEW PROPORTIONS: LAKE ONTARIO 300/600
300 NM Of Skill Testing Conditions
Hot. Humid. Flies. Light Air. Muggy. How one would describe the annual Lake Ontario 300/600 Challenge, presented by DriveHG, out of Port Credit Yacht Club. A 300 nm race around Lake Ontario beginning and ending in Port Credit, Ontario would be a true test to every sailors’ skills both mentally, physically and technically.
The light air made it one of the most challenging editions of the race to date. With average winds maxing out at four knots in the beginning of the race, it made many racers question why they were participating. That said, many hung on and continued to race, hoping conditions would improve. The heat increased, and the ever so known flies made their usual appearance throughout the courses.
North Sails client Afterburn, a Soto 40 from Port Credit, saw six knots at the beginning of the race and took off, rounding Ford Shoal first and then Main Duck Island. Not far behind, Suspect, a Perry 59 outfitted with all new 3Di this year, battled it out with Volvo 60 Esprit de Corps IV for most of the race – the entire way around Main Duck Island. Suspect, with local North Sales Expert Hugh Beaton onboard, saw up to 15-knots on the leg to Niagara. Hugh noted;
I was looking forward to the race and getting a chance to see how the boat performed after her extensive re-fit. We had worked hard over the winter to develop a simple, versatile inventory that would be used for offshore cruising, and yet also used for some distance racing on the Great Lakes before heading for Blue Water. The boat is a treat to sail on, with all the equipment needed for a comfortable 300-mile race. Our inventory was minimal; 135% roller furling genoa, full batten mainsail, furling code zero and A2 asymmetric spinnaker. The mainsail and genoa are 3Di ENDURANCE 760, making them very versatile and resilient. Even though it was a light air race, we did reduce canvas on the last leg when the front came through and our systems worked great. The most important sail turned out to be the furling code zero which was easy to use and fast in a wide range of conditions when we had to sail higher angles. A must-have for distance racing and passage-making. As in every race we learned a lot and are eager to do it again – hopefully with a little more wind this next time!
Meanwhile, Beneteau 10R Blast battled with another local Benteau 10R Zoom from Main Duck to Niagara in the light air; finishing second place in their division, MDC-PHRF-FS-FC-2, with a corrected time of 3:01:19:54. Solo sailor Kim Piller on Live Wire, a J/109 withstood the conditions and finished the race with a corrected time of 3:04:41:15 placing second in MDC-PHRF-SH-1.
Racers on Scotch Bonnet experienced light winds as well, not as brutal as Main Duck the first night, but still equally as testing. By Sunday morning racers had not reached or rounded Scotch Bonnet Island yet. After lots of patience, competitors began catching some wind and gaining ground on the finish line. The first batch of racers did not cross the finish until Monday evening around 10PM, with the majority of the fleet coming through after midnight and 6AM. Long time North Sails customer Michael Brown with his C&C30, Windburn, finished second in SBC-HRF-FS-DH, with a corrected time with 2:06:05:39.
While most were happy (and relieved) to finally finish the LO300, a few continued on to complete the Lake Ontario 600 – another 300 nm around the lake. We applaud all those who partook in this feat.
As exclusive sailmaker for the Lake Ontario 300 and 600 Challenge, the team from North Sails Toronto was happy to be onsite before and after the race to assist racers with any last-minute sail needs; including post-race pick-up and delivery to the loft.