North Sails LOFT NEWS
MY FIRST SUSAN HOOD TROPHY RACE
Zoe Folsetter Reflects On The 75 NM Overnight Race
Tell us about yourself and what you’re sailing?
I currently sailing the Laser 4.7 / Radial and will be on the Ontario Sailing Team development squad this year. Before the Laser, I raced Optimists and was on the Canadian Team for 2 years. I was fortunate enough to race in cool places like Chile and Uruguay. I also sail two nights a week in Hamilton – on Tuesdays I race on a J/35, and on Thursdays I race with my Dad on his Viper.
How did you start sailing?
I started sailing at the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club when I was 6 in the discover boating program, and then the following 5 years, I sailing at the Stony Lake Yacht Club near my cottage. That was where I did my first regatta. It was a small regatta called the Cottage Club Regatta, where all of the boats are from the neighboring lakes.
How old were you when you did your first overnight race? What race was it?
I did my first overnight race when I was 12 years old – it was the Susan Hood race in 2017. The Susan Hood is a short overnight race starts in the evening in Port Credit and goes to Burlington, Niagara on the Lake and back. It takes about 10-15 hours for the faster boats and up to a day for the slower boats, all depending on the weather.
How did that come about?
My dad told me that he was doing the race and I jokingly asked if I could come, not thinking that there was a chance he would say yes. But he did! I really didn’t know what to expect nor did I know what I was getting myself into.
Tell us about the boat, the crew?
I sailed on a J 92 from Olcott Yacht Club in New York. On the boat, was my Dad and me, the skipper Andy and his 16 year old son, and the North Sails rep from Buffalo, Louis Johnson. It’s a fun 30’ boat that’s fast, comfortable, and pretty easy to sail.
What position did you have on the boat?
In the beginning, when everyone was awake, I was mainly along for the ride but I helped out where I could, After people starting taking naps, I did a bit of everything but mainly trimmed the mainsail.
Did you enjoy it?
I really liked sailing the Susan Hood race. It’s an experience that I won’t forget. The part that I enjoyed the most was waking up in the middle of the night and seeing the stars and the cities in the distance. We won the race in our class and overall so that was fun too!
Was there any parts that you didn’t like?
There was no part that I really disliked, but the part that I liked the least was how cold it was. In the middle of the night, in the middle of the lake, I had on every bit of clothing that I brought with me. I was also really tired when we finished. On the way home from Port Credit, I fell asleep in the car before we got to the highway!
How is it different than the kind of sailing that you normally do?
Before the Susan Hood race, I had never sailed at night or done any long keelboat race. I liked the challenge of figuring out what the weather is doing and staying in the best breeze, and changing sails. Sailing at night is really fun too.
Where there any other kids racing?
To my knowledge, there were no other kids racing close to my age. I think that kids who are comfortable sailing on keelboats in any condition should definitely try distance racing if they have the chance. It’s an excellent experience to have. It will also get more people interested in the sport.
What races do you want to do next?
To start off, I think I should do the Susan Hood again because the first time I did it, it was smooth sailing, and I have not sailed much in rough water. I would also like to do the Lake Ontario 300, and if my Dad will let me, I would like to do one of the Mackinac races.
What type of sailing do you want to do when you’re older?
I am not sure what I would like to sail when I am older, but right now, I am really enjoying sailing the Laser and I would like to sail it for as long as I can. I also want to sail on more keelboats and do more offshore racing.