Hot off the presses is the 2012 edition of the PORTS Cruising Guide to Lake Ontario. The PORTS Cruising Guides have long been our favourite guides, not just of the Great Lakes, but of all the Cruising Guides out there. Their layout, aerial photos, writing style, and useful yachty tips make them both indispensable and fun. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you plan on sailing or power-boating around on Lake Ontario, you absolutely need this book. See also their guides to Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, The Trent-Severn, and The Rideau & Ottawa River.
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Other great cruising guides that have just been updated with new editions for 2012 include The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Cruising Guide, The 2012 Yachtsman’s Guide to the Bahamas, The Gentleman’s Guide to Passages South, and The Cruising Guide to the Leeward Islands. For even more guides, check out our Cruising Guide section online, stop by the store, or give us a call.
The Nautical Mind salutes the 185 crews preparing for the Lake Ontario 300 which starts the morning of July 17th off Port Credit Yacht Club. As the longest, annually–held fresh water race, it is a test of endurance and team-work and is an exciting challenge for local sailors.
The event, begun 20 years ago, has gone through many changes. The first race had 67 double-handed boats racing from the west end of the lake to around Main Duck Island and back. It was considered quite an achievement just to complete the course. Today with three times the participants, it enjoys the support of commercial sponsors, has real-time particpant tracking during the race, and has been split into two courses—a short course for whitesail (300 km) and a long course for spinakers (300 nm). It is one of the five long-distance, offshore races held on the Great Lakes including the Chicago to Mackinac Island Yacht Race, The Bayview to Mackinac Island Yacht Race, the Trans-Superior Yacht Race, and the Trans-Erie Yacht Race.
Will this year be a blow or a drifter? Will the boats be tossed in the wash-machine conditions of the long fetch at Main Duck Island or will they have to wait out a calm that can prolong the race to four days or more? Lake Ontario can throw up conditions that are as tough as many ocean races.
There are no published accounts of the Lake Ontario 300, but you may be interested in Tom Ervin’s stories of the Mackinac races in Victory: A First-timer Relives the Fastest Bayview Mackinac Race Ever or A Class of Their Own. Or you can have a look at out many other salt-water race accounts.
* Participants are required to have charts and a list of lights on board.