In the spring of 1955, Doug Hood, a member of Port Credit Yacht Club, approached George Cuthbertson the creator of C&C and offered to put up a trophy if someone would produce a simple measurement system for handicapping custom built yachts. Doug donated the trophy named after his brand new bouncing baby daughter Susan. Approximately 25 boats were measured and the first race was held in early June of that year. The course was Port Credit to Oakville to Port Dalhousie and back to Port Credit. In spite of a fire on one yacht, very little wind, and Doug winning his own trophy in a Cruising 6 Metre “Junge”, the race was a great success.
Today, the Susan Hood Trophy is presented to the yacht winning PHRF overall, with other trophies for the division winners. It is believed that this is the only case where the title trophy is not awarded to the winner of the “Grand Prix” class (CCA, IOR, and now IMS), although there are trophies for those divisions as well.
Excerpt of article by John Weakley
The race is a 73 nautical mile overnight race around the western end of Lake Ontario. Starting at 8:00 PM from just offshore of the Port Credit Yacht Club competitors sail through the sunset to the Burlington Weather Mark then make their way to a mark off of the Niagara river before heading back across the lake to Port Credit.
In 2011 the racers experienced some amazing weather not unfamiliar to seasoned lake racers:
The video below is a cool trailer lead-up to the 2011 race:
Video below of Black Diamond, a Jeanneau 39i in a wild squall storm sailing in Susan Hood Trophy Race 2011. Black Diamond experienced all sorts of conditions on Lake Ontario from no wind for most of the night to a 50 knot squall, rain, sleet, snow and hail. Finally completing the 75 miles in 16 hours.
Video aboard BLAST: At around 11:00 the storm front hit us. We scrambled to reduce sail area as the winds went from light to sustained 30+ knots and we were being blown downwind at 10+ knots with just our main up. The boat was under tremendous strain since we still had a full main sail up and couldn’t get a reef into it so to avoid damage as the wind was continuing to build we rounded up into it and quickly dropped the main. Here’s a short clip from just before we doused the main.
Susan Hood on facebook