FAQ

We understand that some of the details within the forms, notices and instructions that are standard requirements for Offshore Racing on Lake Ontario, may be confusing and require clarification.

 

Should you have an inquiry about the Notice of Race, the LOOR Offshore Special Regulations, or any other document, please send an email to our Safety Committee.

Qualifications

How do I know if my yacht will qualify?


The Lake Ontario 300 Challenge is for sailing vessels with L.O.A. not less than 24 feet and manned by a skipper and crew who have demonstrated recent competency in yacht racing or passage making. The yacht must have a PHRF, IRC or GLMRA Rating Certificate to determine the exact rating to be afforded to your vessel (more details aboutyacht rating).




Do I need to be a member of a yacht club?


Yes, for insurance purposes, you must be a member of a yacht club recognized by the Canadian Yachting Association or US Sailing.




I have not raced long distances in the past but have many miles of cruising/passage making. Will this suffice?


You are most welcome. Many cruisers have more experience over long distances than racers.





Boat Inspection

How do I get my yacht ready for the Pre-Race Inspection


Obtain a copy of the Lake Ontario 300 Mandatory Equipment Requirements list. Lake Ontario 300 mandatory equipment Requirements are documented in LOOR Offshore Special Regulations (OSR) Extracts for Category 3 Monohulls and Multihulls on the LO300 Race Document Web Site (yachtscoring). For 2018 the document is available here. Once you are satisfied that all the mandatory equipment is aboard and functional, contact the Safety Officer, or one of the flag officers of your home club. Ask that person to run through the list with you and sign off that everything was in place. Bring the signed list to the Skippers’ Meeting and give it to the Registrar.





LO300 background

When did the LO300 start?


The Lake Ontario 300 Challenge was designed in 1990 as the ultimate challenge of navigation and sailing skills. Originally the race was only open to double handed sail teams, but in 1997 fully crewed divisions were added to increase participation.When did the LO300 start?




What are the LO300 courses?


It is the longest annually competed offshore racing course at 300 nautical miles. It navigates all four corners of the lake with the various local wind conditions and currents.

There are two courses within this event; the actual 300 nautical mile course which stretches from Port Credit Yacht Club down to a buoy just off Oswego, N.Y, around Main Duck island, past the Niagara #2 buoy and then back to PCYC. The shorter course (190 nautical miles), for non-flying sails vessels, also starts at PCYC then heads east and takes a turn at Scotch Bonnet Island (near Prince Edward County), before sailing around the Niagara #2 buoy, and then across the lake to the finish at PCYC.




Do all boats finish the race?


Novice racers, professional racers and experienced offshore ocean racers continue to be amazed at what Lake Ontario can offer up over 2 or 3 days. Finishing the LO300 is not a given, since the inception of this race there has never been 100% of participants finish the race. The highest finish rate is 93% and the lowest finish rate was 30% in 2002. Over the last decade finishing percentages have improved with technology etc. but remain in the 80 to 90% finish rate. The Lake Ontario 300 Challenge will always be the race on the lakes that is a victory to finish.





Racing Divisons

What’s types of winds should I expect?


The LO300 Challenge has always promised all types of winds; headwinds, tailwinds, tight winds, high winds, low winds and no winds and generally has delivered year after year. The best scenario from a racer’s perspective would be a fresh south westerly breeze. This will get you down the track at hull speed for most boats. The south westerly is the predominant wind direction but varies in strength with a typical dying wind in the evening. If the wind holds that sets up a good upwind leg for the second half of the race towards to finish. This allows for some tactical decisions and passing lanes. Worst case is light wind which makes for very slow progress and the invasion of the ankle-biting flies. Not a pleasant experience!




How do I plan for this race from a tactical point of view?


The best way to approach this race is to break it down into five distinct small races – two distance legs, and three shorter strategy legs. On the first, very short leg and say the first 10 miles or so, you just want to worry about getting clear air, getting away from the city, and away from the typical Saturday cruisers. That is always tough. How you play the rounding of Main Duck Island, and the beat back up the lake is always the toughest part of the race.

Gains and losses of 10-20 miles are very easy to win or lose if you play it right. And of course, the finish. Goodness knows, when the sun sets in Port Credit in July, the wind absolutely EVAPORATES, literally two miles from the finish line. And everything you’ve worked so hard for over the past 2-3 days can vanish within site of the finish line.




Is the race traditionally rhumbline sailing or are there nuances to be leveraged?


One always wants to sail the rhumbline whenever it is possible, and for the past number of years, 3-4 of the five legs have been close to rhumbline sailing. The nuances that are to be leveraged occur mostly at the Main Duck Island rounding, playing the land breeze off Prince Edward County, and the biggest one; at what point do you head south towards the Niagara mark on the south shore as you play the typically upwind 120 nm beat back up the lake.

On any given year the best laid strategies can change in a heartbeat. The extent of the course provides added challenges and opportunities in a tightly competed race since there are multiple opportunities to pick up distance on the fleet or more importantly, catch-up to the fleet.





Strategy

What’s types of winds should I expect?


The LO300 Challenge has always promised all types of winds; headwinds, tailwinds, tight winds, high winds, low winds and no winds and generally has delivered year after year. The best scenario from a racer’s perspective would be a fresh south westerly breeze. This will get you down the track at hull speed for most boats. The south westerly is the predominant wind direction but varies in strength with a typical dying wind in the evening. If the wind holds that sets up a good upwind leg for the second half of the race towards to finish. This allows for some tactical decisions and passing lanes. Worst case is light wind which makes for very slow progress and the invasion of the ankle-biting flies. Not a pleasant experience!




How do I plan for this race from a tactical point of view?


The best way to approach this race is to break it down into five distinct small races – two distance legs, and three shorter strategy legs. On the first, very short leg and say the first 10 miles or so, you just want to worry about getting clear air, getting away from the city, and away from the typical Saturday cruisers. That is always tough. How you play the rounding of Main Duck Island, and the beat back up the lake is always the toughest part of the race.

Gains and losses of 10-20 miles are very easy to win or lose if you play it right. And of course, the finish. Goodness knows, when the sun sets in Port Credit in July, the wind absolutely EVAPORATES, literally two miles from the finish line. And everything you’ve worked so hard for over the past 2-3 days can vanish within site of the finish line.




Is the race traditionally rhumbline sailing or are there nuances to be leveraged?


One always wants to sail the rhumbline whenever it is possible, and for the past number of years, 3-4 of the five legs have been close to rhumbline sailing. The nuances that are to be leveraged occur mostly at the Main Duck Island rounding, playing the land breeze off Prince Edward County, and the biggest one; at what point do you head south towards the Niagara mark on the south shore as you play the typically upwind 120 nm beat back up the lake.

On any given year the best laid strategies can change in a heartbeat. The extent of the course provides added challenges and opportunities in a tightly competed race since there are multiple opportunities to pick up distance on the fleet or more importantly, catch-up to the fleet.





First-time Racers

What’s types of winds should I expect?


The LO300 Challenge has always promised all types of winds; headwinds, tailwinds, tight winds, high winds, low winds and no winds and generally has delivered year after year. The best scenario from a racer’s perspective would be a fresh south westerly breeze. This will get you down the track at hull speed for most boats. The south westerly is the predominant wind direction but varies in strength with a typical dying wind in the evening. If the wind holds that sets up a good upwind leg for the second half of the race towards to finish. This allows for some tactical decisions and passing lanes. Worst case is light wind which makes for very slow progress and the invasion of the ankle-biting flies. Not a pleasant experience!




How do I plan for this race from a tactical point of view?


The best way to approach this race is to break it down into five distinct small races – two distance legs, and three shorter strategy legs. On the first, very short leg and say the first 10 miles or so, you just want to worry about getting clear air, getting away from the city, and away from the typical Saturday cruisers. That is always tough. How you play the rounding of Main Duck Island, and the beat back up the lake is always the toughest part of the race.

Gains and losses of 10-20 miles are very easy to win or lose if you play it right. And of course, the finish. Goodness knows, when the sun sets in Port Credit in July, the wind absolutely EVAPORATES, literally two miles from the finish line. And everything you’ve worked so hard for over the past 2-3 days can vanish within site of the finish line.




Is the race traditionally rhumbline sailing or are there nuances to be leveraged?


One always wants to sail the rhumbline whenever it is possible, and for the past number of years, 3-4 of the five legs have been close to rhumbline sailing. The nuances that are to be leveraged occur mostly at the Main Duck Island rounding, playing the land breeze off Prince Edward County, and the biggest one; at what point do you head south towards the Niagara mark on the south shore as you play the typically upwind 120 nm beat back up the lake.

On any given year the best laid strategies can change in a heartbeat. The extent of the course provides added challenges and opportunities in a tightly competed race since there are multiple opportunities to pick up distance on the fleet or more importantly, catch-up to the fleet.





2018 © Lake Ontario Offshore Racing

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