LONG SAULT (ON) – Since 1975, boats from the Stormont Yacht Club (SYC) have held an annual two-day club race called the Borland Race from SYC to Crysler Marina in Morrisburg and back. This year the race was set for August 12–13. The pandemic cancelled the event for 2 summers but this year the popular event came roaring back with 12 boats racing.
The race is in memory of Bill Borland. For several years prior to 1975 Bill used his “big” boat, a 19 ft Cygnus and later a 22ft Hurley, to lead an annual dinghy fleet cruise up the river for a two-day beat. The fleet camped on Croil Island and Broder Island near Morrisburg. The race evolved to bigger keel boats over the years and remains today.
Those choosing to race the up-river leg compete for the Upper Canada Village Trophy while the down-river leg is for the Sails and Paddles Trophy. A third trophy, The Borland Memorial Plaque, is awarded to the overall winner of both legs. Handicaps are used to even the racing field.
This year was unusual in that the fleet had wind at their sterns for most of both legs. This made for great sailing. On the up-river leg, moderate winds took the fleet to Croil Island where they had to decide to keep north of the island or go through Delaney Shoal. Those who went north of the island, Knot Normal (Skipper Scott Smith) being one, were rewarded with at least a 20-minute gain on those who stayed south through Delaney Shoal.
The boats happily found each other once again in the main Seaway. Being careful to avoid Cat Island Shoal, later the Steen Shoal and finally the cargo ship, Algosea. Congratulations to Essoin (Skipper Chris Williamson) who used his spinnaker which won him that leg, both in real-time and adjusted time.
All were excited to start hearing boats announcing their arrival at the Crysler Park Marina. The SYC Fleet was welcomed by a steady downpour which continued until 6 pm.
The next morning, a blustery 12-knot wind on the down-leg departure, grew steadily over the following two hours. This made for a great sail for most of the day with Outback (Skipper Brian Clinton) leading the way for a good part of the race followed by Knot Normal and Essoin. Sealestial (Skipper Paul Rodrigue) was patient in slowly overtaking Essoin before the ‘cut’ and then Knot Normal at the entrance to the SYC bay.
While Outback easily crossed the line first, Essoin had made up time so Knot Normal, Sealestial and Essoin battled to get over the line second. At this point, the wind was gusting to 19 knots, forcing the boats to heel dramatically to leeward. The perfect placement of the finish marker really made this race one to remember. As the boats neared the finish line at least one tack was required and this at near maximum hull speed. It was a nail-biting battle to the finish and Sealestial triumphed!
The final winners after adjusted times for handicaps were: Essoin for the up-river leg and Sealestial for the down-river leg and the overall for both legs. Congratulations to the entire sailing fleet for a fantastic race.
Quotes from the race:
It was crazy! In 19 knot winds!!! (Julia Meldrum Smith, Knot Normal)
Thanks to everyone for such a great weekend, lots of fun! (Natalie Bray, Lagan III)
Sunday was fabulous! (AM Blinkhorn, Sealestial)
A wonderful weekend of racing, camaraderie, and a great wind to make the final stretch of the race quite exhilarating. (Nathalie Desrosier, Essoin)
First Borland, great experience! Peter’s great spinnaker, Brian’s huge sail, bold moves around Croil Island, rain and lightening, chai tea in the morning and a vigorous sprint to the finish line. (Chris Williamson, Essoin)
We see the SYC fleet on the horizon! (John St Marseille, Mer Soleil)
The SYC racing season continues with the Ladies Day Race August 26, the Fall Race Series starting September 3 and the Enduro Race September 30.
You can learn more about the Stormont Yacht Club by visiting their website at https://www.stormontyachtclub.ca/.