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community weblog - [ 2010 Lake Ontario 300 will be remembered for years to come ]

2010 Lake Ontario 300 will be remembered for years to come

Living up to its billing, sailors met with high winds, extra high winds, no winds, and light winds. The leg heading south to Ford Shoal was a tight reach in high winds and the long leg westward to Niagara was at least 80 miles tacking into the wind with a variety of conditions from light to variable mixed with a few more line squalls coming across the lake. The final leg heading North across the lake to the finish varied depending what time the boats rounded Niagara, some leading boats had an easy ride across, while some boats sat in a frying pan for over four hours. It doesn't get anymore challenging than this for both the Scotch Bonnet Island and the Main Duck Island Courses.

Soon after the start of the race, when the bulk of the boats were past Gibraltar Point, the first line squall of the day came through the fleet very quickly causing havoc with 40+kts winds. Soon after recovering from the first line squall, another one came through shaped like a polish sausage and lasted for what seemed to be an eternity for most racers. Hailstones, rain and everything else that comes with a squall produced a record number of blown sails, broken booms and masts, dropped sails, reefed sails, knock downs and even a capsize. By the time the bulk of the fleets reached Oshawa (approximately 40 miles from the start) over 30 boats had retired from the race.

Overall, a record number of 62 out of the 178 that arrived at the start line retired. Although 62 DNF's seems like a high number, as a percentage of competitors it is not the worst this race has seen. The Lake Ontario 300 has always been known as the ultimate challenge, and unlike most other offshore races, the LO300 averages only a 65% to 75% finish rate.

Some of the more notable races for dropouts may only be remembered by few old timers, but many of the people reading this article will remember some of the better blows this race has provided. They are as follows:
2010 - 34% DNF 178 started
2007 - 36% DNF 104 started
2002 - 63% DNF 33 started *
1998 - 70% DNF 27 started *
1994 - 77% DNF 62 started *
*The LO300 was double handed only until 2003

One of the most notable yachts not to complete this year's race is Cheekee Monkey, a 32' multihull that capsized in the early evening just outside Whitby. All on board were safe and as other boats went by and offered assistance, they chose to wait for the coast guard. In all the excitement going on during the first day and the number of Pan Pan’s being called out throughout the lake, Cheekee Monkey did add some excitement for the fleet and certainly made everyone more aware of what can happen. In a post race interview, Ron White owner of Cheekee Monkey stated: 'I'm going to take my time putting the boat together and make sure it’s better than ever. We already plan to return to the LO 300, I don't like unfinished business. '

Line Honours was taken by Gaucho, a Farr 44 from the Buffalo Canoe Club, who crossed the finish line at 1:21:28:28, which was 3 hours ahead of the next yacht, Notorious a Farr 30 from National Yacht Club.

Line Honours for White Sail went to Southern Cross V, a Sabre 402 from RCYC sailing double handed with a finishing time of 1:15:39:56. This time was adjusted as a result of a redress hearing to compensate for the time taken during the rescue of Cheekee Monkey. Sensei, a Tartan 4100 from QCYC was originally reported as the first white sail boat to cross the line 15 seconds ahead of Southern Cross V and remains the Line Honour boat for Fully Crewed White Sail.

The Sperry Cup has been won by Afterburn, a Dash 34 from PCYC. Afterburn has won their PRHF 2 Division the last 2 years. Darren Gornall, incoming Chairman of the Lake Ontario 300 Committee, said his crewed left it all out on the lake overcoming at least 12 broaches or knockdowns and kept everything in full speed.

Congratulations go to all division and fleet winners this year was an amazing challenge to complete, let alone be competitive.

All skippers finishing the race will be eligible to win the LO300 Air Canada Draw for a trip for two anywhere in North America, including the Bahamas. The draw will be held at this year’s awards banquet.

It is time to submit your photos for the Canadian Yachting Photo contest and your stories to be considered for the Perseverance Trophy.

Full results and all trophy winners available on www.lo300.org

by Brian Townsend



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