The race was first organized in 1990 by a group of sailors from the Port Credit Yacht Club and the Oakville Harbour Yacht Club (now merged with the Oakville Yacht Squadron) who were involved in single handed racing around the west
end of Lake Ontario. Originally the race was a double handed event with
a limit of two people per boat. In 1998 fully crewed yachts were also included
as a separate Class.
There have been a variety
of courses used, all at least 300 nautical miles (approximately 335 land
miles) straight line distance (Course Diagram).
Since yachts cannot sail directly into the wind, and because the competitors
will choose different courses between marks as they search for better winds,
some yachts could sail as much as 400 miles and take 4 days or more to
complete the race. An example of this can be seen by viewing the plot
of the yacht "WINDRIVEN" which won the Fully Crewed Class in 2001 with
an elapsed time of 2days, 18hrs, and 31minutes. The last yacht to finish
that race had an elapsed time of 3days, 10hrs, and 39minutes.
The Challenge: Because winds vary
considerably both in strength and direction depending on location and time
of day, one challenge is to find the fastest route between marks. Especially
for the double handed yachts, the challenge is staying awake. There is
no stopping for a rest, so crews must be organized into shifts (watches
in nautical terms). As easy as this sounds, it is difficult to get some
sleep at noon so you will be wide awake at 4:00 am. For the double handed
yachts, much of the race is spent with one crew sailing while the other
sleeps (or at least naps). Add in the extremes of weather: storms or sitting
under a hot sun with no wind and a plethora of flies, and the challenge
gets that much greater.
In addition to having considerable
safety equipment on board, each yacht is required to check in with the
Canadian Coast Guard on a predetermined schedule. This procedure is used
to determine if a yacht may be in trouble, and if necessary to initiate
The race involves
yachts of different designs and sizes. Because boat speed is a function
of hull design and sail size, each yacht is assigned a rating based on
these factors. The system used is the Performance Handicap Racing Fleet
(PHRF-LO). This rating is then applied to the yachts elapsed time to determine
her final position in the race. Because of this, the order of finish is
very often different than the final standings. A big yacht may finish well
ahead of a smaller yacht, but because this was expected, the bigger yacht
will end up losing since she did not beat the smaller yacht by as much
as her rating said she should. If you visit this web site during the race,
the Race Results will be updated as the yachts finish, and will show how
positions change depending on how well each yacht does in beating the competition
by as much as she had to.
Stay up to date
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© 2000-2007, The Solmar Lake Ontario 300 Organizing Committee
The Solmar Lake Ontario 300 Challenge is organized jointly by the
Oakville Yacht Squadron and the Port Credit Yacht Club.
Please feel free to contact our webmaster about anything pertaining to this website.
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