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Racing on the Lake Ontario 300

Posted 8/30/2019

by Garry Cooke

(Original article published in the FPYC August Scuttlebutt)

 

The Cooke BrothersThe Cooke BrothersThe annual Ontario 300 race is one of the biggest on the Lake, with typically about 100 entries. This year there were 85 boats registered for the two courses; the ‘Main Duck’ long course, and the ‘Scotch bonnet’ short course. The long course is about 300 nautical miles and the short course is about 200 nm. Two boats in the marina participated in the Ontario 300 this year. Randy St.Jacques on ‘Scrubs’ sailed in the fully crewed division of the ‘Main Duck Course’. Myself (Garry Cooke) and my twin brother Peter sailed in the double handed ‘Scotch Bonnet’ course on ‘Eclipse’. 

 

Storms on the courseStorms on the courseThe wind this year was generally better than last year, and we sailed most of the way to Scotch Bonnet with the boat on a broad reach, which allowed us to make great speed down the Lake. We encountered three thunderstorms one after the other, and we were doing about 9-10 knots with bursts up to 11.5 knots with just the main and jib! The wind kept us going most of the way to Scotch bonnet and most of the way back to Niagara. Because of the wind on a broad reach, we were able to pull away from the pack, and maintained 2nd position all the way around until the dead air patch in Niagara, where the 3rd place boat managed to get past us. The wind shifted more on the nose and became lighter until it died out completely at the Niagara turning mark. We sat for a couple hours trying to coax the boat along. At one point we were going sideways at about 0.4 knots according to the GPS, when the knot meter read zero, which was likely the current from the river pushing us further out into the Lake.

 

Eclipse at PCYCEclipse at PCYCWe managed to pick up some wind going back to Port Credit, and sailed at hull speed for most of the way across, but again encountered light air at the finish, where we sat and looked at the finish mark for over an hour, fighting to stay ahead of the gradually gaining boat behind us. We crept over the finish line, tacking twice to defend our position from the boat behind us.

 

 

Yellow Brick trackerYellow Brick trackerWe were still happy with our performance though, achieving 1st place in the double handed division (NFS) and 3rd overall line honours. My brother was especially thrilled, since he is new to sailing and came over from the UK for the race (and to celebrate our Dad’s 90th birthday of course!). 

The race had one unfortunate mishap; fortunately with no injuries. A multi-hull got flipped in the 33 knot winds. USCG rescued the three crew members and placed flashing lights on the upturned hull as a navigation warning until the wreck could be towed.

The race is exceedingly well organized, and my thanks go out to the hard working volunteers at PCYC who put the race on.  The race committee plan the event during the year prior to the race. There are also many safety requirements imposed and there is GPS tracking that shows the position of all boats on the course. (ybtracker.com).

As can be seen from the track we had good winds going and most of the way back. The lack of wind and 30 deg knocks at the finish are also evident from the track. Not so clear are the several hours spent becalmed at Niagara!

 

Congratulations Garry!Congratulations Garry!

It is a good race, and for those that cannot afford the time for the long course, the short course is still a great race and a great challenge. We took 1 day and 20 hours to complete the short course, while the long course took boats approximately a day longer.

I would encourage members to try and promote interest in the short course racing under white sails to see if we can have a larger group represent our club at the event next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In Canada, we like bridges.

Posted 5/1/2019

Original article published on Canadian Yachting Online

 

While there’s a lot of talk about building walls these days – here in Canada, we’re all about building bridges. In western Lake Ontario, the Burlington Bay James N. Allan Skyway is a commuter’s lifeline, an indomitable navigational landmark for sailors, and the gateway to Canada’s largest port in the Great Lakes system. The Burlington Bridge, as it is more commonly known, is also the portal for this year’s must-race Canada Day weekend regattas. Whether your fancy is to explore the winds across Lake Ontario or to test yourself in the swirls of Hamilton Harbour – there is something for every boating enthusiast over the nation’s birthday weekend. 

The second annual FPSC FIASCO Regatta will be held on Sunday, June 30th and is a joint partnership between Fifty Point Sailing Club (FPSC) and Burlington Sailing and Boating Club (BS&BC). 


Based on the famous Three Bridge Fiasco Race in San Francisco Bay, 2019’s FPSC FIASCO Regatta will be starting on the lakeside of the Burlington Bridge. The three Lake Ontario marks that we’ll send you around in this long distance race will be, of course, a secret until the skippers meeting! How you choose to go around those marks, in what order, into what hole, behind what freighter will be sure to spark an evening full of conversation at the post race party at BS&BC.

For those interested in extending the weekend into a week of long distance racing, FIASCO is also the first race of the annual GHYRA Regatta Week. From June 30th to July 5th, racers and cruisers can experience the winds and hospitality of the various ports in the Golden Horseshoe region. If discovering what is on the other side of the Burlington Bridge is more your flavour – on Saturday, June 29th, BS&BC is hosting the inaugural Beyond the Bridge Regatta in Burlington Bay. There will be on-water activities for keelboat racers, dinghies, and cruisers. There’s something for everyone on the 2019 Canada Day Long weekend – on both sides of the bridge.

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FPSC @ 2018 Chester Race Week

Posted 2/21/2019

Completely Wound Up's crewCompletely Wound Up's crewHailed as Canada’s largest Keelboat Race and one of Sailing World Magazine’s top 20 greatest sailing events in North America, Chester Race Week annually draws over 1200 sailors to the idyllic waters of Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. Last season, it called out to FPSC’s own Laser 28, Completely Wound Up, her skipper Greg Jordan, and crew Ken I'Anson, Doug Mair, Joanna Suan, and Troy Farncombe.

Sailing, let alone racing, in Mahone Bay presents a strikingly different experience compared to Lake Ontario. With islands, shoals and navigational buoys scattered across the racecourse, a visitor to these waters must keep one eye on the navigational charts and another on whatever could be seen beyond the boat’s bow in the fog. Depth can quickly change from 71 feet of water to 7 feet! Across the 5 racecourses that the Chester Yacht Club’s fleet of volunteers set, seals, dolphins intermittently popped above the waterline while classic wooden boats and modern racing hulls skimmed over top.

 
 
Deciphering the courseDeciphering the courseCompletely Wound Up was entered in the Inshore PHRF fleet, which consisted of a total of 9 boats, with the majority of competitors hailing from Nova Scotia’s ports. Each day the race committee set us out on two races, one would be a simple windward to leeward course, and the 2nd, a long distance “navigator’s race”. Chester Yacht Club has 20+ racing marks consisting of a mix of natural and dropped marks.
 
Deciphering the destinations for the long distance courses was synonymous to decoding the mystery symbols of Oak Island (which by the way, is right next to Chester – and if you are a fan of the show – you know something big is going on in Smith’s Cove this season!).
 
  
 

Fo’c’sle’s famous Admiral’s ChowderFo’c’sle’s famous Admiral’s ChowderFinishing 4th overall with a total of 7 races sailed in a very tough fleet with challenging ocean conditions, the crew of Completely Wound Up are truly proud to have represented Ontario sailing in a regatta that is on every Canadian sailor’s Bucket List.

 
Speaking of buckets - indulging in buckets of fresh mussels and seafood with a pint of beer is a lovely way to tie off a day of hard ocean racing.

 

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Once upon a time, there was a beaver...

Posted 1/11/2019
 
The original Flying Beaver / HBCN logo by Leslie Aitchison.The original Flying Beaver / HBCN logo by Leslie Aitchison.There’s a beaver in FPSC’s logo and you’re probably wondering why.
 
The answer about the beaver is a fairly simple one - it’s a nod and homage to the history that roots Fifty Point Sailing Club. Let’s travel back to 1997. The Hamilton chapter of the Lightning racing fleet was known as the Flying Beavers (and beyond that, we don’t know where it came from, but it’s a mighty fine noble animal). As the racing community grew in the Fifty Point Marina, the racers there and the Lightning group joined forces to build upon the mutual love of sailboat racing. Together they moved all their boats to a harbour called Newport Marina and the yacht club Hamilton Boating Club at Newport (HBCN) was formed.
 
HBCN and its members eventually migrated back to Fifty Point Marina and operated there as a fully functioning yacht club alongside Fifty Point Yacht Club (FPYC) until 2013. Between the years of 2013 and late 2018, HBCN retained status as a yacht club in suspended animation as the racers spent some time at the newly formed Newport Yacht Club Stoney Creek (NYC-SC). The racing sailboats once again have returned from the Newport basin to Fifty Point Marina. The HBCN yacht club and charter were reawakened in December 2018 and reborn as today’s Fifty Point Sailing Club.
 
FPSC logo by Joanna SuanFPSC logo by Joanna SuanOur logo thus had to have a beaver. We’re a racing group, so he/she/it/undeclared was given a couple of racing stripes on the tail. The people and the passion for sailboat racing always return to find one another, regardless of the harbour, and so the compass was chosen. The colours black and white? There is no grey here. We have fun racing sailboats together: that’s all we do, that’s all want to do, and that’s all we hope you will all do together with us.
 
Welcome back, Flying Beavers.
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Letter from the Commodore

Posted 1/1/2019
Dear Lake Ontario Sailors,
 
Happy New Year!
 
I write this letter to introduce Fifty Point Sailing Club (FPSC) to you and your fellow sailors. FPSC adds a racing program back to Fifty Point Marina Basin.
 
A brief history of FPSC, formally HBCN, or more recently Newport Yacht Club Stoney Creek (NYC-SC): Our racing program has moved back to the Fifty Point Marina basin from the Newport Marina. Our racing program has been shared between the two basins for years, with boats from both Marinas participating in our Tuesday night racing programs as well in our regattas. Now with the majority of the boats involved in our racing program recently re-locating into the Fifty Point Marina, and with fewer boats still located at NYC-SC, it was time to bring the program back to Fifty Point Marina.
 
All of our racers are the same, as well as our Regattas. We feel the number of boats in the Fifty Point Basin gives our new charter FPSC a great opportunity to grow in numbers of racing boats. We are looking forward to growing FPSC and continuing our great racing tradition.
Speaking of Regattas, we are full into planning for our Fiasco, and Peaches ‘n PHRF events that have been loved by racers from your Club and many other Clubs around the lake. I want to take this time to formally invite you and your members to these two premier Regattas in 2019. You can gain access to more information on our website as it develops over the next few months: www.fiftypointsailingclub.com and our Facebook page /Fiftypointsailingclub.
 
I would also like to take this opportunity to introduce to you the officers of Fifty Point Sailing Club: Troy Farncombe (Vice Commodore) and Randy St.Jacques (Treasurer).
 
Please if you have questions, or if you just want to say hello, feel free to contact me at any time, See You on the water!
 
Warm Regards,
 
Greg Jordan
FPSC Commodore
 
Cell: 289-834-2324
E-Mail: commodore@fiftypointsailingclub.com

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