Once again the offshore yacht-racing season on Lake Ontario is ready to kick off with the annual Susan Hood Trophy Race. Despite our warm spring weather, 'The Coolest Race on the Lake' is really the coldest race on the lake!
Susan Hood 2012
Over 100 yachts will converge on the Port Credit Yacht Club Friday June 1 to compete in the first of many offshore races on Lake Ontario. This race starts Friday night at 8:00 p.m. and is a 78-mile course that can take anywhere from 12 to 20 hours to finish, depending on the winds and the size of boat. With the water temperature still being very cold, all you need is a little breeze to feel a chill. Increase the breeze and add a little rain and it will quickly feel like you are sailing in the middle of winter. Not to mention that the race takes place through the night and competitors won’t have the advantage of sunshine for the better part of the race.
500 plus sailors will congregate for a brief visit from various parts of the lake to compete in the 'Coldest Race on the Lake'. It is all about the challenge and a chance to win the coveted Susan Hood Trophy. The race was started in 1955 to test a new handicap system that was designed for various types of yachts competing in the same race. Doug Hood, a member of Port Credit Yacht Club and a Mississauga resident donated a trophy in name of his newborn daughter. Since inception, the race has been hosted by Port Credit Yacht Club and has seen some of the coldest nights on the lake through some of the most severe weather systems. This year is no exception, with temperatures dropping for the weekend combined with a prediction of rain, it could be both or it could turn out to be a nice clear night. That is part of the challenge of racing overnight at this time of the year and participants don’t take the experience lightly. Safety is the #1 priority.
The race starts outside Port Credit Yacht Club where residents can watch the start at the end of Lakeshore Promenade. From Port Credit the fleet of yachts will go to the Burlington weather tower located at the south side of the Burlington Skyway. The race then heads to the R-2 Mark just off Niagara River and then returns to Port Credit.
Saturday morning (June 2) will bring some great sights, as the bulk of the fleet will be coming into the finishing area just off the Lakefront Promenade with exciting finishes. 'It’s a great sight to see boats battling for every second they can cut from their time after racing all night,' remarks Robin Ball, a former competitor, PCYC Commodore and now a volunteer on the organizing committee. Robin helmed a 40’ yacht last year that was one of many to get knocked down when a series of line squalls came through the night catching many boats off guard. 'It was quite an ordeal so early in the season but once everything was re-organized and put back in order, the race went on and it was great to arrive back in port.
Of the 115 yacht registered to date, 15 are from Port Credit Yacht Club in Mississauga and 12 are from The Royal Canadian Yacht Club in Toronto.