Joe Doris raced on his Hanse 400, Setanta...
Nearly 50 boats hit the start line and headed towards Toronto Island with a decent breeze at our backs. All was looking fine for a reasonably fast race but there was still some doubt about a fading wind on Sunday morning according to the forecast. But, that was too far in the future to think about right now. It was time to put in the last gybe before the Gibraltar mark. Angle was looking good so we completed the maneuver and took aim. It was a little crowded when we got there but everybody behaved themselves in true LOSHRS style. So down with the kite and up with the #1 genoa, clean up the lines and point towards the Burlington mark.
Nice. It was looking like a fetch all the way and the wind was building slightly. Time for a sandwich but first focus on sail trim. Good, we are hitting our target boat speed. Then just we were getting comfortable, a big wind shift. A header. I decided to take it for a while to see if it would swing back around. Others tacked on the shift and headed inshore. This proved to be a pivotal point in the race but at the time appeared insignificant as we had a long way to go before we got to the Burlington mark. I was one of many that stayed on starboard tack all the way and felt very happy with my decision. VMG numbers were still favourable for quite some time as it appeared we were being lifted to the mark. With 8 miles to go to the Burlington mark the wind increased to 18-20kn. My strategy started to unhinge at this point. I had too much sail up and found myself being pushed south the mark. After many tacks upwind I finally reached the mark. I was horrified to find so many boats that had taken that early inshore hitch made out like bandits. Time now to focus and get back in the race, plenty of race course left to make amends.
The leg from Burlington to Niagara was a roly-poly affair with good wind but we had difficulty keeping the asymmetrical spinnaker full in the following seas. The new plan was to try and claw back as many lost miles as possible and hopefully get back in the fray on the upwind leg back to PCYC.
All was going well on the upwind even though we were being headed as we crossed the lake and being pushed east. Fortunately I had switched to my #3 for this leg and it proved to be a good choice for most part. As we approached the north shore we had to put in a number of tacks. No big deal but the wind was slowly fading. All we could think about was finishing before the wind died completely. That was not meant to be. Hours later we inched our way toward to turning mark and I felt like Yuri Geller as I bent my boat around the mark. I told my crew that if we hit the mark it could take us another hour to finish. We ghosted across the finish line as the remnants of the breeze turned to a zephyr then, nothing. Not a whisper.
We high-fived each other and cracked open a beer. A good race, but oh the pain of not taking a bite inshore on that first leg. For sure I will remember that for next year.
Now my thoughts turn to the final 2017 weekend in Dalhousie. Can't wait, gotta love this LOSHRS racing!
Results of this year's LOSHRS 100 Miler can be found here:
Coming up this weekend, on September 16th and 17th, are the Port Dalhousie weekend races. If you haven't already seen them, the race documents, including Sailing Instructions and Official Notice Board for these races are on the
We'll see you out on the water!
Chair, Lake Ontario Offshore Racing