A tradition at the Port Credit Yacht Club since the mid-fifties, the Susan Hood Trophy Race is usually known as the beginning of the offshore racing season at the western end of Lake Ontario. For 2011, racers' enthusiasm for the event appears to be taking us back to it's glory days with nearly 100 yachts registered and eager to get to the start line.
Friday evening, June 3rd; it's relatively warm with very light air as the yachts pull out of the PCYC harbour; the sun is still shining as the start sequence goes underway just before 8:00pm but the Susan Hood Trophy Race is a night race and veterans know better than to take these benign conditions for granted as an early Spring on Lake Ontario can be full of surprises. Without a hitch, double-handed and fully crewed yachts cross the start line; they range from modern high performance racing yachts to 40-year-old family cruisers. They slowly head west towards the Weather Tower just off the Burlington Skyway, where they will turn towards the south shore and the mouth of the Niagara River before returning to PCYC; a course of approximately 80 nautical miles.
The crews are ready following last minute preparations at PCYC; a weather briefing provided from local weather expert Ron Bianchi, has warned the fleet to expect unsettled weather after light air for much of the night. Spirits are high as the sun goes down and the fleet gets ready for a long night.
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by Guy Perrin
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12:25 PM Sun 5 Jun 2011GMT
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