by Guy Perrin
Registration is complete for the 23rd running of the Lake Ontario 300 Challenge and it promises to be an exciting 300 mile race that could come down to minutes at the finish line.
Competitors pass the commitee boat at the start of the Lake Ontario 300
'We have some very tight divisions in the competitive, sport boat divisions, which always makes a race like this very tense,' stated Darren Gornall, chairman of this year’s race and past Sperry Cup Winner.
Currently, there are over 135 sailboats coming from as far away as Chester, Nova Scotia and Erie, Pennsylvania, as well as from all points within Lake Ontario including Kingston, Cobourg, Rochester, and Youngstown.
There are over 25 yacht clubs represented in this race with yachts ranging from 27’ to 44’ in length. They are competing in a variety of divisions that include, fully crewed, double handed, single handed, and a multihull division.
17 boats have registered in the Double Handed Division, which in the early days of this competition was the only division possible. There are six yachts registered to compete in the Solo Challenge on the Main Duck Course. They have met the criterion that allows them to compete on what is probably the most grueling challenge on the Great Lakes.
Competing on the shorter Scotch Bonnet course, are 48 boats with no flying sails (spinnakers) and higher handicapped yachts that would take too long to complete the longer Main Duck Course.
Approximately 65 yachts will compete fully crewed with flying sails on the Main Duck Course with three IRC divisions totaling 24 yachts and five PRHF Divisions totaling 41 yachts.
Scratch sheet can be viewed on http://www.yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=572!yachtscoring.com
For the first time this year, the Lake Ontario 300 will be presenting a trophy to the overall PHRF as well as IRC handicap winner. This may be why we have seen an increase in the number of IRC rated yachts that are competing this year.
The lower handicapped or faster yachts tend to race IRC because it is a more precise measuring system. Although all sailboats have a PRHF rating, they may choose to race under either handicap system.
Up until this year, all times were converted to a PRHF rating to provide an overall winner for the race, which was not always an equitable solution.
The creation of two overall winners this year, with the Sperry Cup PRHF and The Gold Cup IRC, has provided a solution.