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Lake Ontario 300 - Revised course poses new challenges

by Lake Ontario Offshore Racing on 26 Jun 2013
Timorian , A C&C 115 on Lake Ontario 300 Challenge from PCYC Jeff Chalmers
The Lake Ontario Offshore Racing Committee has finalized the new course for this year's Lake Ontario 300 Challenge, which promises to provide new excitement and new challenges to this great race.

As indicated on the attached map, the new course for the Lake Ontario 300 Challenge will be:

PCYC (Start) --> Gibraltar Buoy (1st Mark to Starboard) --> Ford Shoal Buoy Mark to Port (Oswego) --> Yorkshire and Main Duck Islands (including MM2 and M9 to port) --> Niagara (R2 to Starboard) --> PCYC Turning Mark --> PCYC Finish Line.

The length of the course remains approximately 300 nautical miles.

The Lake Ontario Offshore Racing Group heard feedback over the winter that the current course had limitations that might be improved upon.

In particular, rhumblines running along the south shore of Lake Ontario in a circumnavigation style reduced many possible options for racers and in some cases, locked in the positions of the fleet for large distances, which is no fun. This is especially true on the leg between Oswego and Niagara, where the rhumb line bends around the curve of the shore and makes it overwhelmingly favorable to hug the shore for a majority of the leg.

The objective of the Lake Ontario 300 Challenge has always been to provide the ultimate challenge in offshore racing on the great lakes. By hitting all four corners of Lake Ontario the challenge in this race has always been the varied wind conditions, directions and currents that are encountered in a single circumnavigation. This new course provides an added navigational challenge by crossing the lake on a diagonal basis on the way to and from Main Duck Islands.

After Gibraltor Mark competitors are now forced to decide where the best winds will be and navigate accordingly.

The options change from deciding whether to go out in the lake or follow the north shoreline to: following the rhumb line, follow the wind lines, head to the south shore and take advantage of local micro-climates and currents or stay on the north shore where familiar wind conditions may be favoured.

Typically the short run from Main Duck Island to Ford Shoal is close hauled with the highest winds on the course. Doing this leg the opposite direction with the same wind could set some speed records.

Participants who've raced in the LO 300 for many years know that conditions can change significantly between out in the middle and close to shore.

Returning from Main Duck to Niagara will be wide open just like it was in the early days of this race and will be exciting to watch on YellowBrick Tracking system to see what routing worked best as the boats round Niagara for the last sprint home.

Check out the Lake Ontario 300 website to see the course and make your comments on our Facebook page.

2013 Lake Ontario Challenge will be even more exciting with a few new features to the race that include the 'new look' Mount Gay Hats, the Old Crusty Challenge that will provide the sailor wearing the most tattered Mount Gay Hat at our Friday Night Pre Race Party an exciting prize from Mount Gay. We have a cash prize for Line Honors for our first time entries from Gord Honor Realty. Our new date will ensure only one activity at the club and will reduce the traffic at the popular Sperry Top-Sider Pre Race Breakfast.

With over 100 entries mid June is a great sign that this year will be another exciting challenge.


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