Course

Following the success of 2013, the Lake Ontario Offshore Racing Committee is pleased to offer the new Main Duck Island Course again for the 2014 Lake Ontario 300 Challenge.

As indicated on the map below the new course for the Lake Ontario 300 Challenge will be:

PCYC (Start) –> Gibraltar Buoy (1st Mark to Starboard) –> Ford Shoal Buoy Mark to Port (Oswego) –> Yorkshire and Main Duck Islands (including MM2 and M9 to port) –> Niagara (R2 Starboard) –> PCYC Turning Mark  –> PCYC Finish Line.

racemapduck

The length of the course remains approximately 300 nautical miles.

The Lake Ontario Offshore Racing Group heard feedback over the 2013 winter that the old course had limitations that might be improved upon.

In particular, rhumblines running along the south shore of Lake Ontario in a circumnavigation style reduced many possible options for racers and in some cases, locked in the positions of the fleet for large distances, which is no fun.  This is especially true on the leg between Oswego and Niagara, where the rhumb line bends around the curve of the shore and makes it overwhelmingly favorable to hug the shore for a majority of the leg.

The objective of the Lake Ontario 300 Challenge has always been to provide the ultimate challenge in offshore racing on the great lakes.  By hitting all four corners of Lake Ontario the challenge in this race has always been the varied wind conditions, directions and currents that are encountered in a single circumnavigation. This new course provides an added navigational challenge by crossing the lake on a diagonal basis on the way to and from Main Duck Islands.

After Gibraltar Mark, competitors are now forced to decide where the best winds will be and navigate accordingly. The options change from deciding whether to go out in the lake or follow the north shoreline to: following the rhumb line, follow the wind lines, head to the south shore and take advantage of local micro-climates and currents or stay on the north shore where familiar wind conditions may be favoured.

Typically the short run from Main Duck Island to Ford Shoal is close hauled with the highest winds on the course. Doing this leg the opposite direction with the same wind could set some speed records.

Participants who’ve raced in the LO 300 for many years know that conditions can change significantly between out in the middle and close to shore.

Returning from Main Duck to Niagara will be wide open just like it was in the early days of this race and will be exciting to watch on YellowBrick Tracking system to see what routing worked best as the boats round Niagara for the last sprint home.


The Scotch Bonnet Island Course participants will sail this new exciting course that started in 2009. Starting at Port Credit, then on to Gibraltar Point/Toronto, Scotch Bonnet Island, Niagara and finish at Port Credit. All marks of the course will be taken to Starboard.

Complete details for both courses will be available at the Skippers’ Meeting.

Course marks:
1. Port Credit Marks – Start and Finish – details will be discussed at the Skippers’ Meeting…
2. Gibraltar Point Mark – A red buoy with a flashing red light located just off the Toronto Islands at approximately 43°36.32′N, 79°23.50′W…
3. Main Duck Island Course only: Main Duck and Yorkshire Islands – Including buoys MM2, a red buoy with a flashing red light located at approximately 43°54.5’ N, 76°35.7’ W and M9, a green buoy with flashing green light located at approximately 43° 55.0’ N, 76° 40.5’ W… Photos and maps of Main Duck Island Light
4. Main Duck Island Course only: Ford Shoal Buoy – a flashing green (4s.) mark located west of Oswego at approximately …
5. Scotch Bonnet Island Course only: Scotch Bonnet Island – a small island with a seventy foot navigation light (White Flashing 4 sec) located east of Prince Edward County at approximately 43º 53.93′ N 77º 32.49′ W. Photos and maps of Scotch bonnet Lighthouse
6. Niagara Mark – A red buoy with a flashing red light, located at approximately 43°19.04′N, 79°04.23′W, 3.4 NM north of the light at Fort Niagara…

Please note that the above charts are for reference only, and that all mark placements and all waypoint references are approximate. Not for navigation.

The following sources for weather information are recommended: