sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Video Gallery Photo Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : Evolution of the Lake Ontario 300 Challenge

Evolution of the Lake Ontario 300 Challenge

'Lake Ontario 300 competitors in 2010'    Jeff Chalmers

Twenty-one years ago the Lake Ontario Single Handed Racing Society formed the Lake Ontario 300 Challenge as the ultimate long distance race for double handed sailors. Three Hundred Nautical Miles, non-stop from one end of Lake Ontario to the other and returning back to the start. The race was an inspiration after some of the LOSHRS members raced the Chicago-Mackinac race, which is probably why the distance was set as a length slightly longer than the Chicago race.

The LO300 Challenge was designed as more than just a distance challenge, it was about navigation, negotiating the shipping lanes, the varying winds experienced in different parts of the lake, multiple roundings and an out and back style of course. Perhaps, most importantly, it was about preparation and sailing skills.

Originally, this race was created for the fleet of dedicated single-handed sailors and the experienced sailors looking for a new challenge. A few of these original participants are still competing today, which is a testimony in itself to the attraction of this race. When the race was first announced in 1990 it appealed to a variety of participants from the serious racers to cruisers, husband and wife teams, father and son teams and of course the 'rock Stars' of the day. When all was said and done everyone experienced a totally new challenge.

Over the years the LO300 has evolved and now encompasses a wide range of yachts with a wide range of motivations to participate. Today's Lake Ontario 300 is a more exciting race at a variety of levels and divisions for various reasons.

In the first two years all participants competed with spinnakers. White Sail participants were introduced to the race in 1992 and out of a total of 81 participants, 11 competed in White Sail.

By 1997 the number of participants had started to decline and a fully-crewed division was added to allow more boats to compete in the challenge. Naturally some double-handed yachts converted to fully-crewed, but there were new yachts taking up the challenge. Unfortunately though, the race was not being marketed or promoted well and the number of participants hit an all-time low in 2000.

By the year 2000 participation in the double-handed division was 49%, fully crewed accounted for 50% of the racers and there was one white sail participant. Even though the numbers had decreased the make up of the participants had changed dramatically from the original double-handed race.

Fortunately some course design changes, and some basic marketing started to get the word out about the race and by 2003 the number of entries had doubled. It was a challenging race in 2003 and it made organizers realize that something had to be done to accommodate white sail participants. Out of the total of 6 white sail entries in 2003; none of them finished the race.

In 2004, a 200 nautical mile shortened race was added to the LO 300 Challenge to create a more realistic course for white sail participants. The addition of this course was well received and had immediate effects. The numbers started to increase in both fully crewed and double handed fleets from 6 entries in 2003 to 44 entries in 2007 representing 42% of total participants. This dramatic change to the race is one that has been a contributor in introducing many cruisers to this challenge.

It was at this time that the organizing committee developed a solid long-term marketing strategy designed to expand the LO300 and make it the most prominent race on the lakes. This strategy has successfully resurrected the race with a combination of new participants, new divisions and some veteran participants returning to take up the Challenge.
Over the last 5 years a combination of promoting and making necessary changes to this event, the LO300 has been successful in attracting a consistent number of new competitors as well as providing an opportunity for competitors to migrate from one division to another.

The attached graph demonstrates how the race has dramatically changed over the last 5 years and how it offers a challenge to just about every sailor on the lakes.

- In 2007 a Multi-Hull division was added to the race.
- In 2008 an IRC division was created in response to the need for a competitive division and handicap system to accommodate the Sport Boats.
- In 2008 the course was redesigned as a permanent circumnavigation for both the White Sail and Spinnaker divisions, incorporating both historic islands on the lake, which creates an attraction for many sailors.
- In 2009 a Single Handed Division was added and greeted with great enthusiasm. This division has already started to expand demonstrating that sailors are still looking for a new challenge. (Amazing that single-handed sailors created the race in 1999 and in 2009 a single-handed division was first added to the race.)
- The latest change was the addition of spinnakers to the Scotch Bonnet Island course. This change was intended to make the race more appealing for smaller and higher PRHF yachts looking to compete flying spinnaker. The 200-mile race is still very challenging and the average finish time is in with the rest of the fleet.

When looking at the range of fleets in the 2010 race compared to the 2003 race it is no wonder this event has now grown to become the premier yachting event on Lake Ontario and is a major yachting event on the great lakes. The appeal of this ultimate challenge is now attracting a larger number of US yachts and the Sport Boats looking to enhance their résumé's with a LO300 victory. From short-handed to fully crewed, spinnaker vs. white sail this race has it all. The 2010 race was an experience for all who started with over 30% of the starters not finishing due to very challenging conditions. This year's event will be another exiting one to participate in with many returning from last year to challenge the lake and take care of unfinished business. This year friends and family will be able to follow the excitement with a new satellite tracking system.

As demonstrated on the attached chart indicating participants by fleets, it is clear to see that the Main Duck Island Course and the Scotch Bonnet Island have taken on a new look that creates some exciting opportunities. The majority of competitors are still flying spinnakers. There has been a migration from white sail to spinnaker and the reverse has also happened. The objective of the LO300 over the last 5 years has been to ensure the 'Challenge' is available to as many yachts that want to take it up and based on the number of new competitors already registered for this year's race, the objective of the Lake Ontario 300 Challenge will be realized once again.




by Brian Townsend

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=85624

3:38 PM Thu 7 Jul 2011 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.


News - USA and the World

HUD Vision: An interview with Afterguard Marine’s Alex Moret *Feature by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor, Seattle




















America's Cup: Expected de Ridder penalty should be reduced *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz, Auckland, NZ
















Congressional Cup - Victory for Taylor Canfield and crew by Rich Roberts (As Amended by ISAF),




2014 Halifax – Saint-Pierre Ocean Race by Patricia Nelder, Nova Scotia














Image Gallery: Stratis SL33 flies on the Waitemata by Richard Gladwell,Sail-world.com/nz,


Audi Melges 20- Sperry Topsider Charleston Race Week - Light final day by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,










International Optimist Regatta Clinic and Team Race - Register now!
Congressional Cup: World top rankers finish that way in Long Beach
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week Day 3 finale
America's Cup: Gino Morrelli outlines the new AC62 design
Doyle Sails New Zealand signs Andrew Brown as One Design Manager
America's Cup: Dean Barker's Blog - A sail with the Duke and Duchess *Feature
29er World Youth Sailing Week Easter regatta - Day 1 and 2 overall
C Thomas Clagett Jr Memorial Clinic/Regatta - Entries start to roll in
50th Congressional Cup: See the delayed coverage and media conferences
Clipper Race 10 Day 27: Closing stages - Qingdao to San Francisco
Canfield, Williams, Bruni, Swinton in Congressional Cup final four
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week - Day 2
Audi Melges 20 Charleston Race Week - Perfect conditions in Charleston
Oyster Regatta Antigua - Full on ocean conditions for day 3
PWA World Tour - A taste of things to come at La Torche + Video
Women's International Match Racing Series kicks off in June
Melges 32 Audi Tron Sailing Series - Action shots by Max Ranchi
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Frustrating conditions
Man rescued after falling overboard in Pacific taken to hospital
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week 2014 - Youth leading Melges 20
Congressional Cup - Canfield leads toward Congressional Cup sailoffs   
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week 2014 - Perfection for Day 1   
America's Cup: Coutts claims ISAF Jury on a crusade, backs Kiwi report *Feature   
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Will light winds hamper progress?   
Les Voiles de St. Barth - Preparing to rock Saint Barthélemy waters   
Clipper Round the World Race - OneDLL and Qingdao now in San Francisco   
America's Cup: Emirates Team NZ up against funding hurdle for year *Feature   
Melges 32 Sailing Series Napoli - Day 1 images by Stefano Gattini   
50th Congressional Cup: View the Live racing here   
Melges 32 Sailing Series - Napoli action shots by Max Ranchi   
Volvo Ocean Race - Team Alvimedica launch new boat   
Emirates Team NZ: Royals duke it out on the Waitemata   
2014 Charleston Race Week - Thousands of sailors descend on Charleston   
The Congressional Cup 2014 - Williams hangs on with a classy crowd   
50th Congressional Cup: View the Live racing here   
RORC Transatlantic Race - Notice of Race now available   
Oyster Regatta Antigua - Sunshine and smiles on day 2   
Rolex China Sea Race on the horizon   
What can a boat name tell you about the person behind the helm?   
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Race 10 rumbles on   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XL NEW US