May 31, 2023
First some history.
The Lake Ontario Racing Council (LORC) was formed back in the mid 1980’s when the Metro Yacht Racing Council (MYRC) and the Canadian Yacht Racing Association (CYRA) joined together. A constitution was written and eight clubs in the greater Toronto area were the players at the table.
In the early days, there were two racecourses – a course for smaller one-design boats, and a much larger course for all others. The member clubs, which at that time hosted only one-day events, paid a hefty sum to LORC, which in turn, organized the race committees and covered the course expenses in return. LORC collected the registration fees and organized the racers, giving proceeds back to the member clubs that hosted the events. There was an extremely well attended Awards night held annually at the Old Mill where winners and non-winners (there are no losers) came to celebrate the season past. The regular meetings of the Council put together the racing calendar, keeping in mind other events, such as LYRA (Lake Yacht Racing Association) and the Youngstown Level Regatta, and did its best to try to avoid conflicts.
Over the years two courses became three and the clubs decided it was time to work together and organize their own race committees and equipment. The calendar coordination became a priority. At each event, there were three courses and 100 plus boats.
Keel boat racing was alive and well, but the clubs were jealous of the success of the weekend event, the Youngstown Level Regatta, its 400+ boats and article in “The Rolling Stone” about the event. Instead of eight one-day regattas, there would be six two-day events. No sooner were those two weekend dates freed up when every club jumped in to create their own regatta. Calendar coordination became a nightmare. Too many events competed for registrations from too few competitors, and conflicts became inevitable.
The time had come to include the racing fleets at the Council table, but that did not happen. Racers had a chance to express their views and requests once a year but had no real voice. Gradually, they stopped attending the Competitors Meeting held annually, and with so many other events on the calendar, LORC became unnecessary, or so it seemed.
2021 looked bleak, but 2023 arrived.
LORC’s 2023 started with a muffled bang: no wind but there will be more / Photo: Wendy Loat/Nick Bailey
Clubs started appointing race committee people rather than racers to the Council, and by 2021, it appeared the writing was on the wall. The racers didn’t seem to care anymore and the club representatives tired of doing the work.
A motion to dissolve the organization was tabled. When it was revived in early 2023, the clubs had begun to realize that LORC was both needed and outdated following the 2022 season. The troops were rallied, and a meeting was pulled together at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club to devise a plan. The motion to dissolve LORC did not garner enough support to pass, nor did other motions put forward at the meeting.
It was decided that a minor name change to reflect the nature of the racing, rather than the council, was needed. Why not change Council to Circuit to reflect that the series starts at the east end of Toronto, gradually moves west to Port Credit, then back east, finishing off Center Island? Why not try new ways of getting more people out racing on their boats? Why not let representatives of the fleets have a seat at the table and tell us what they want? The two meetings held in April included representation for active one-design fleets, including the J105’s, J80’s and Beneteau 36.7’s, with input from the Viper 640’s, Etchells and PHRF representative racers.
LORC has 40 years of history, and trophies and awards with history and meaning, many of which date back to the MYRC and CYRA days. Over the years, many sailors have enjoyed the camaraderie at the regatta parties, and the opportunity to race against and meet members of other clubs, madly exchanging war stories and excuses post-racing at the host club, with boat positioning displayed with the use of both hands, or cutlery.
Change is in the air. A new logo has been created and the clubs are muddling through this year with big plans to pull it all together properly next year, given more time.
The 2023 season was kicked off, as has now become tradition, with the Ashbridge’s Bay Yacht Club Open Regatta, held May 27 & 28 and over 60 boats registered. Next up is the Royal Canadian Yacht Club Open, June 3 & 4, with the remaining events (Port Credit YC Open, National YC Open, Etobicoke YC Open and Queen City YC Open). The series championships have been brought back. The Notice of Race for the series and other LORC info can be found HERE.
If you haven’t done inter club racing before, please come and join in the fun. See you at RCYC!