Soaked crews made it back to PCYC after experiencing the full gamut of conditions in the 2011 Susan Hood Trophy Race. Many abandoned the race after hours of drifting near the Burlington Weather Mark; PCYC's Simon Hampson on Kawabonga explained when I saw him on the docks at 5:30 AM: 'Despite the light winds at the start, we still managed to get to within two miles of the Burlington mark in three hours, then we spent the next three hours drifting towards the mark in the slow current with no wind in the sails. We were still a half-mile away when we decided to turn on the engine and come back home. A bit frustrating but at least we were out on the water!'
Those who persevered towards the Niagara mark at the mouth of the Niagara river were eventually greeted by a cold front that swept across lake Erie and the western end of Lake Ontario on Saturday morning; torrential rain was accompanied with high winds. Some crew reported having to run with the storm in sustained 30 knot winds for extended periods while others were simply recovering from being knocked down by even stronger gusts.
After many hours on the finish line, we finally saw three spinnakers over the horizon; these were eventually replaced by small headsail as the winds changed directions and increased in velocity close to shore. Half a mile out, Keith Bechard's ZOOM from RCYC was the first boat to round the PCYC Mark before the crossing the finish line a few minutes later at 10:35 AM to take line honours. They were closely followed by Umi Taka and Chariot; it would be almost another two hours though for the next boats to finish as the top three had avoided the worst of the storm.
Yachts were racing in IRC, PHRF Flying Sail Crewed and Double-handed, PHRF No Flying Sails Crewed and Double-Handed. Top three in each division are as follows:
Place, Yacht Name, Type, Owner/Skipper, Hometown, Results, Total Points
IRC - 1 (IRC - 11 Boats)
1. Umi Taka, Beneteau First 40.7 40, Chris Rypkema , Oakville, Ont, CAN