Krahulec Completes Solo Crossing of Lake Ontario
News/ Aug 13

Krahulec Completes Solo Crossing of Lake Ontario

Ridley Graduate Boat Club member Lyn Krahulec recently completed a solo crossing of Lake Ontario from Port Dalhousie to the Downtown Toronto shoreline. Here’s the story of Lyn’s journey as written by Walt Krawec.

In today’s world of extreme sports, oarsmen and oarswomen have been pushing past the envelope of traditional competitions to new and unheard-of levels of difficulty! In keeping with the ‘higher-faster-longer’ motto of modern-day Olympics, rowing is a sport where the challenges are being amped. Any knowledgeable and experienced rower will attest to the extreme demands of the traditional, 2000m straight-away race as would be experienced on the Henley Course in St. Catharines, or the endurance-oriented head races that are many times longer! But these days, there is a growing commitment to do the unthinkable… from crossing one of our Great Lakes to rowing around their periphery, and so far as to do ocean crossings!

The “why” for doing these extreme challenges is as different as the people themselves. The 62-year-old, Port Colborne native, Lyn Krahulec, shared her motives:

  • COVID-19: With all formal rowing competitions having been cancelled, Krahulec took up the challenge of what is believed to be the First Female to cross Lake Ontario in a Single Scull Racing Shell.
  • A Tribute To Dad: Lyn, the only daughter of the late Joe Krahulec, (remembered as a compelling force in junior hockey in St. Catharines who later signed professionally with Boston Bruins) wanted to honour her Dad’s love of sport and the competitive spirit he had groomed in her.
  • A Statement to Celebrate Women: Always adamant to set a high standard of female proficiency and independence, Lyn welcomed a shot at equalling the achievements of others before her who had successfully completed the solo crossing!

Recounting the Journey

Krahulec shared, “Conditions were not favourable! Prevailing westerly winds and waves created the most adverse rowing conditions possible for my ‘due north’ compass bearing (Port Dalhousie to Toronto). It was a lesson in extreme perseverance! At one, point nearing completion, I found myself in the midst of a sailing regatta, requiring a desperate 500m side-ward charge to evade a fleet of sailboats racing toward me!”

“Further on, there was a slew of boats of all kinds and sizes ripping around the lakefront. Their wakes were coming from all directions so that at times, it was impossible to make headway. Each time the cockpit filled with water I had to partially bail out before being able to continue. As I made my way back to the Ontario Place marina, one huge wake rolled me desperately close to the tipping point of being swamped! My stream-lined racing shell is elegant and admired on the Henley flat-water rowing course, but it was out of place in these angry waves and unwelcomed by these reckless boaters. It was super exciting to engage in the moment, to be fully present, utilizing my best rowing skills and relying on the extreme manoeuvrability of my scull.”

“In the end, everything turned out well, thankfully. The entire day, each experience was surreal! Later that evening, my head was reeling as though I was still being bounced around in the water. Despite it all, the satisfaction of this monumental, wonderful accomplishment kept on bringing a smile to my face.”

Ms Krahulec wishes to acknowledge the contribution of each of the following people toward the success of the mission, and wishes to sincerely thank them.

Walt Krawec for bringing the benefit of his prior successful solo lake crossing experience, and the ‘security blanket’ of his presence beside me in his single, doing it all over again.

Nancy Storrs, Captain of Ridley Graduate Boat Club, for her coaching and meticulous thoughtfulness and hands-on attention to every detail of the challenge.

Bobby Niven for his completely accommodating attitude to the many changing circumstances that happen with respect to weather; for his poise under pressure when directing our safety needs amidst sailboats, monster wakes, and impending collisions; and especially for the amazing professional-calibre photographs that document and memorialize this amazing experience!

Fluidesign for providing the excellent racing shell which out-performed when I needed it the most!

About the Journey

Participant: Lyn Anne Krahulec
Accomplishment: First Female Solo Crossing of Lake Ontario
Date of Successful Completion: Saturday, August 8, 2020
Start: Port Dalhousie, Ont.
Finish: Toronto CN Tower shoreline
Distance: 28 miles or 46 km
Time Taken: 5 hours 27 min.
Conditions: Sunny, 22°C
Winds: West 3-5 / South 5-7
Personal Info: Age 62; Ht. 5’9”; Birth Place: Port Colborne, ON
Rowing Bio: Coach; International World Masters Sculler
Occupation: High-Performance Mental Coach and Profession Clinician at
Racing Shell: Length 25.5’ x Width 11′
Composition: Single skinned high modus carbon fibre
Weight: 28 lb
Manufacturer: Fluidesign

Lyn Krahulec

All photos are credited to Bobby Niven.