Reid Distilleries ABYC Open – Much Ado, Not Much Wind

SinC ABYC Open 2023

May 31, 2023

Light air meant only a few boats finished

The Lake Ontario Racing Circuit kicked off the 2023 season at Ashbridge’s Bay Yacht Club at the east end of the city of Toronto. The weather forecast looked spectacular with sunny skies and warm temperatures expected. Given the cold water of Lake Ontario this time of year, the development of thermal winds is inevitable; or is it?

Regatta Organizer, Geoff Brown had lined up an array of sponsors to ensure a fabulous post-race party. Registrants were invited to come to the club Friday night for dinner and a sundowner. Club members volunteered to help with docking wearing dark grey Reid’s Distillery ABYC Open shirts, and dock locations were prearranged for competitors. 

Saturday morning arrived. Beautiful day, especially for late May. The noon start time arrived, but the wind was still fitful. Paul Brennan, International Race Officer, started a race, but as the sequence continued from the J105s to the Beneteau First 36.7 fleet, to the Viper 640’s, the wind ticked down with the starting clock. By the time the J80 start was to take place, there was less than three knots.

SinC ABYC Open 2023 2 400Only the J105 got any play time

Although the other fleets were very slowly marching toward the weather mark, with only a few minutes left to go, it was apparent that the lead boats were unlikely to make the 30-minute time limit to the first mark, and even if they did, the wind was disappearing and they would quickly sail into nothing. The race was abandoned waiting for the thermal to settle. Try number two sent the J105 fleet to the weather mark, but they took whatever wind there was with them. There was not enough wind left to start the other fleets. The course was shortened, and the fitful breeze shifted. We watched the J105s hoist spinnakers, douse, hoist again, douse and the favourable current, more than the wind, brought them to the shortened course finish. That was it. Nothing. Nada. Not enough wind on the PHRF boat course to even attempt a start. 

SinC ABYC Open 2023 3 400After racing Saturday, the party was on featuring Reid’s Distillery complimentary servings of Gin & Tonic cocktail and Ferox Estate Winery, Crystal Head, whiskey by Signal Hill and beer from the C’est What Durham Brewery.

The “Bottoms Up” band entertained the dancers for the better part of the evening. Surely Sunday would bring wind. 

Alas, it was not to be. Instead of two knots, we had one. No racing. The regatta featured the fasted prize giving ceremony on record, as only one fleet managed to get only half of a race in. The wind decided to go on vacation for the weekend and didn’t leave us a note.

Next up: June 17 &18 is the Royal Canadian Yacht Club event, the 2023 RCYC Open Regatta. Registration is now open and race documents can be found at

– Wendy Loat, with help

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