Susan Hood, 75 Mile over night race on Lake Ontario

Well Guys, Black Diamond is back in Toronto….It was a grueling two weeks, stepping the mast down in Catskills, NY and after navigating 33 locks through the Erie & Oswego Canals, then an all night crossing of Lake Ontario, lengthwise about 125 miles (200 km). We stepped the mast back up on Thursday, the day before we entering the Susan Hood (The Susan Hood is an all night race from PCYC to Burlington to Niagara-on-the-Lake and back to PCYC). Doing all this work in one shot felt like a marathon. I can definitely see my self in a trawler when I get tired of all this.

Cezary took this picture while we were stepping the mast just before the Susan Hood.

Cezary took this picture while we were stepping the mast just before the Susan Hood.

While stepping the mast up, Cezary took this picture half way up our 60 foot mast, standing on the spreaders and taking a little picture of me on the fore deck. Look at the dark water, what a contrast to the Bahamas. Anyways could not have had the boat ready in time if it was not for the help of the crew, namely Cezary and Kate Thomas. Cezary even installed a new HD TV Dome on the mast while it was down, what a trooper. Also thanks to Uncle Paul Thornton for making sure all the wiring was connected properly.

Calm before the storm

Start of the Susan Hood at Dusk, the calm before the storm.

Start of the Susan Hood at Dusk, the calm before the storm.

My father George took this beautiful picture at the start of the Susan Hood race on Friday May 29th. The race started at 8PM, just before dusk. At the starting gun, a squall rolled across the lake, 25 knots of wind (50km), and a down pour of rain ensued, everyone got soaking wet before the race even started. For awhile there, we had less than 10 feet of visibility. Then we proceeded around the lake without much sleep all night, arriving by 11:02AM on Saturday, 15 hours later, and 1 minute faster than last year. We should have been far faster with the extra wind, and the use of a spinnaker this year. We lost almost 2 hours due to a strategic error, we choose to stay in shore between Burlington and Niagara thinking there would be more wind. In addition to not providing any more wind, this increased our sailing distance. Oh well live and learn. We’ll be back next year and give it another shot. We are now looking forward to Monday night racing around the bouys at PCYC.



Just before dusk a squall hit all the boats!



s/v Black Diamond

I have been boating for over 25 years, at the age of 43, this is more than half of my life time. Starting out with a number of smaller power boats, then switching to sail about 8 years ago. I have sailed various boats from wind surfers, dinghies (lasers), keel boats from 26 to 45 foot yachts. I live in the area of Toronto Canada and sail mostly on Lake Ontario. I have been racing yachts for the past 7 years. I have also entered many long distance races such as the Fort Lauderdale to Charleston, completed in 2 days 8 hours, we received 4th place in division, 8 minutes in PHRF behind a 3rd place trophy. Then 4 times finishing the Susan Hood, a 75 mile over night race, 4 times entered in the Lake Ontario 300 the worlds longest fresh water race, a 308 knotical mile race around the perimeter of Lake Ontario. My crew and I on Black Diamond finished in 2 days 12 hours in 2009. In 2009, delivering the boat back up to Canada from the Bahamas we entered in a couple of interesting races, one from Fort Lauderdale to Charleston described as a sled ride up the gulf stream, the Charleston race week regatta series and the New Year's Day Staniel Cay Regatta in the Exumas, Bahamas. This race we came in 2nd over entire fleet, only lost by 3 minutes in a 2 hour race to a 47 footer. This was a boat for boat race, no PHRF scoring. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So cast off the bowline, Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain Blue water experience include yacht deliveries from the Abacos, Bahamas to Charleston South Carolina 2006. This delivery was a non-stop, 3 and half days, total of 500 miles. We crossed parts of the Bermuda Triangle, and during most of the delivery were over 200 miles offshore. The delivery of Black Diamond a 40 foot Jeanneau racer/cruiser has been delivered to New York City and then offshore to Florida and the Bahamas from Toronto, Canada. This delivery from NYC to Florida was completed 100 miles offshore, for a distance of over a 1000 miles non-stop to Jacksonville, Florida. Completed in what might be a cruisers record of 5 days 3 hours non-stop offshore. This fall my family and I added another 500 miles of sailing throughout much of the Bahamas. Spending 6 weeks aboard Black Diamond sailing the Abacos, Nassau and the Exumas. I then sailed the boat back to New York, completely offshore, entered a few races along the way, and back to Toronto through the Hudson River and Erie Canal. During the 2009 season, we sailed Black Diamond off the dock 148 different days out of 365, winning the Vacant Dock award the second year in a row. Most recently, 2011, completed the delivery of friends boat Tracey & Nilson Ruiz, from Tortoal, BVI to New York. Tortola to Georgetown Bahamas in 5 days non-stop. Last leg from Charleston to New York over the momorial day long week-end non-stop Friday to Monday in 4 days. All completed safe and sound without incedent. Need any deliveries let me know. I am also an Open Water Certified diver and an active member of the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron, certifications included Power/Sail boat handling, Seamanship Sail, Piloting/charting, GPS Navigation, Extended Offshore Cruising and a VHF Radio operation license. I hope to further my education, qualifications and experience in long distance cruising and racing. One of my goals is to obtain a commercial Captains License. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]

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