A significant contrast from the 2010 event, the nearly 130 racers who participated in this year's Lake Ontario 300 Challenge were greeted with excellent weather and fabulous sailing conditions throughout most of the race.
Fifty yachts raced on the Scotch Bonnet Island Course, which takes racers 200 miles from Port Credit along the north shore to Prince Edward County, across the lake to the mouth of the Niagara River before returning to Port Credit; this popular shorter course was created a few years ago to cater to slower spinnaker yachts and white sail entries.
The reminder of the fleet race on the Main Duck Island Course, a complete 300-mile circumnavigation of Lake Ontario; Port Credit to Main Duck Island at the very eastern end of the lake, south to Oswego in new York State, across the south shore to the Niagara River and back to Port Credit. The event includes fully crewed and double-handed entries on both courses; it also offers, in collaboration with the Great Lakes Singlehanded Society, a lake Ontario venue for their Lake Ontario 300 Solo Challenge attended by nine solo racers this year.
The warm temperatures and seasonal breezes were a delight for the fleet. As predicted by Ron Bianchi during the Friday night Skippers Meeting, a cold front came through on Monday morning to break to perfect conditions; some crews mentioned 40 knots of wind and a short lived torrential downpour but no one reported any damage. It was shorts and t-shirts sailing at night under the full moon; flashlights were not even required.
Overall winner and Sperry Cup recipient is Blue Streak, Robert Eckersley's J/109 from Queen City Yacht Club in Toronto. Line honours on the Scotch Bonnet Island Course goes to Abracadabra, a white sail J/35 skippered by QCYC's Klaus Noack, while Ken Martin's Beneteau First 45 Star Chaser from PCYC was first across the finish line on the Main Duck Island Course.
Family and friends of the racers were able to follow the action from shore via the Yellowbrick Race Viewer; this new tracking solution partnership for the Lake Ontario 300 has proven to be very popular. Racers, fans and the race committee could also interact directly with the viewing public via Twitter and Facebook, another great opportunity for future enhancements.
Full results are available at Yacht Scoring