30 Jun 2011
103rd Race to Mackinac – The Midwestern tradition continues
CYC Race to Mackinac 2010 Event Media
The Chicago Yacht Club is pleased to announce that the 103rd Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, presented by Veuve Clicquot has reached 361 boats and entries are now closed.
Since 1898, sailors have gathered in Chicago to begin the 333-mile sailing race to Mackinac Island, Mich. The Race to Mackinac is one of the oldest and most prestigious freshwater sailing races and attracts some of the best sailors in the world.
'The Mac,' as the race is affectionately known, will have around 3,400 sailors competing in this world class sporting event this year Pre-race events will begin Wednesday, July 13, 2011, the Cruising fleet will set sail at 3:00 PM Friday, July 15th and the Racing fleets will start at 11:30 AM Saturday, July 16, 2011.
The Race starts in downtown Chicago, two miles east of Navy Pier, with smaller, slower boats going first The fleet will sail up Lake Michigan, continue just over four miles into Lake Huron, and finish between Round Island Lighthouse and Windermere Point off Mackinac Island, in Northern Michigan.
'We are delighted that interest in the race is so high and we look forward to welcoming back many old friends and to welcoming many new friends,' said Greg Freeman, the Race Chair, when making the announcement this week. 'The Race to Mackinac is always an adventure for our sailors, their families and their friends. We look forward to an exciting race and to a wonderful celebration on our arrival at Mackinac Island.'
Last year the line honors winner was Hong Kong sailor Karl Kwok who reached the Island aboard his 80 footer Beau Geste in just over 31 hours. This year Grand Rapids, Michigan sailors, Dick and Doug DeVos's 86 footer Windquest will probably start as line honors favorite.
Race record-holders include Roy Disney with his monohull Pyewacket at 23 hours, 30 minutes and 34 seconds in 2002, and the famous adventurer, the late Steve Fosset on Stars and Stripes, which set the multihull record of 18 hours, 50 minutes, and 32 seconds in 1998.
While there is intense interest in the big boats, this race is really about family racing.� As 24 race veteran Greg Freeman explains 'around 60 boats out of the 361(Note it says 361 above) competing in this year's event will be new to the course but for many families this race is a tradition.�People come back year after year. We see fathers and mothers racing with their children.�We see grandfathers racing with their sons and daughters and their grandchildren.'
In recent times the average boat length is just 39-foot, which makes the 333 Note: It's 333 statute miles, 289.4 nautical miles mile race a three day adventure for many of the smaller boats.
'It is an adventure that continues to hold an attraction, with our fleet up over 15% in recent years, largely because of the addition of the Cruising division, which this year will see nearly 50 boats competing,' Freeman said.
The GL70 Details, sails into the sunset. CYC Race to Mackinac 2010 Event Media
To learn more about the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, go to the official Web site at www.cycracetomackinac.com.
13 Jul 2011
Race to Mackinac - Cheap Thrills with T10's – a Great Lakes tradition
(L) Nancy and Tim Snyder,(Cheap Thrill) Mark, John and Gretchen Kroll (Retention) - T10 section Race to Mackinac 2010 Event Media
The 103rd Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, presented by Veuve Clicquot, is one of the oldest and most prestigious freshwater sailing races in the world. 'The Mac,' starts in downtown Chicago two miles east of Navy Pier. The fleet will sail up Lake Michigan, continue just over four miles into Lake Huron and finish off Mackinac Island in Northern Michigan, a distance of 333 miles.
The Cruising fleet will set sail at 3:00 pm Friday, July 15th and the Racing fleets will start from 11:30 am Saturday, July 16, 2011, with smaller, slower boats starting first.
This year 361 boats will be racing across 20 sections and each of the sections will provide a race within the race.
One of the hardest fought, is amongst the one design fleets of Tartan T10 and younger LS10s - boats that just seem to say Great Lakes.
Chicago Yacht Club sailors Nancy and Tim Snyder are owners of a 1984-built Tartan T10 called Cheap Thrill. They have won the T-10 section in the Mac seven times and have placed second overall one of those times. This is Tim's 23rd Mackinac race and Nancy's 22nd.
Nancy explained, ‘The T10s are very popular here in Chicago and across the Great Lakes. Other than that, there are only a handful of them in San Francisco and Houston and maybe a few in Florida. Tartan Marine was an Ohio based company so the marketing had a lot to do with being local.
‘In my view, they are tremendously popular boats because they are large enough to enable you to do all the racing on the Great Lakes, you can do the Mac Race in them, for example. The T10's, stopped production in 1984, so they are not new. They are very affordable, they are terrific day sailing boats and they have a great big cockpit. They are great for just going out with a bunch of friends and spending the day on the boat. There are a number of them that don't race and they are used as day-sailers and such.
‘You also have some accommodation below. There is single burner stove that allows you to boil water, a sink and there is a Porta-Potti, not like an official head with a shower or anything. The boats are very basic - we call them fiber glass pup tents.
‘In the newer LS10s you are able to stand up down below, but in the older T10s you cannot, you are crouched over. There are no windows but it is not a very big boat. You do have this great big hatch cover that when you take it off gives you quite a lot of light below. It's a really great all around boat for day sailing, for racing and for cruising, as long as you don't need luxurious accommodations.
The venerable T-10 class, 24 boats strong, once again heads for Mackinac Island in 2011 Event Media
Tim Snyder added: ‘The T10s are pretty competitive. There will be 24 this year.
‘The newer LS10s have identical hulls but by default they are younger boats, so yes they use a little different construction than some of the older boats, but I will tell you that most of the older boat owners are serious competitors and have done a lot of rebuilding of the hulls. There have been some modifications allowed in some of the bracing, the stiffening that we can do to the older hulls to keep them competitive.
‘They are not quick boats. In howling gales you will be going upwind probably six and a half knots. Downwind you could do a steady nine to ten, with fourteen to fifteen knot surges down the waves.
‘We have always felt the T10 provides some terrific racing, so we get the same thrill as everybody else that's out there going down the waves.
Nancy noted, ‘To be honest we are the cheap seats on the Lake. Affordability and the restricted number and type of sails you can purchase and the kind of equipment you can put on the boat, keeps it within reach people's reach. I think that is part of the reason for the great popularity of the class.
‘On Cheap Thrill specifically this will be our 13th race and we never get tired of the close racing.' said Nancy.
Tim continued. ‘The closest finish we have been involved in was last year's. Within the last 100 yards of the finish line the wind turned off, it just stopped but it didn't turn off for the boats approaching the finish line. It literally looked like a train derailment and with the same kind of panicky noises that would come from a train derailment.'
Nancy explained ‘There were boats going every which way. There was a pretty sizeable current and we were finishing with some of the guys that were doing the double-handed race.
‘We had big boats in there, we had T10s in there, boats were pointing to nearly every point on the compass and it was night. The only thing that was missing was a freighter coming through the straits for us..... that would have just put the icing on the cake' smiled Nancy broadly.
‘In the T10 fleet, Steve Koop's American Flyer and Cheap Thrill had been vying for first and second, back and forth for a day, the better part of 30 hours most probably, and we both got caught up on one end of the line and this vacuum. Mark Kroll and his son and daughter and crew on Retention, the wonderful sailors that they are, was a little bit behind us. Of course they saw us and our struggles, and decided, rightly so and very smartly, not to go there.
Tim said ‘The finish line is quite long, being between Mackinac Island and Round Island, so you have your choice of which end to finish.'
Nancy recounted ‘Retention went around us and won the race. I think they had been maybe a mile behind us, but they won, fair and square, and we watched it happen and we couldn't do a thing.'
Tim said ‘Nine seconds behind Retention was American Flyer and four seconds later was Cheap Thrill.
‘In other years, we've had finishes within 30 seconds. One time we were first and another T-10 nearly caught us at the finish line. We were drifting and they were coming very quickly with wind, and we barely managed to hold on to the lead. The kind of ‘train derailment' that we experienced actually happens with some frequency to the very larger boats, to the 50 and 70 footers, because they often finish very early Monday morning and they get up there at say two in the morning and the wind turns off, as it often does anywhere on the Lake.
‘But it turns off especially there at the top end, because Mackinac is this big granite rock outcropping in the Lake. A bunch of thermal masses with cold water flowing between it, an interesting heat transfer environment.'
Nancy continued ‘It's a very interesting race because of the elements on Lake Michigan and as you get to the upper end with all the islands there's so much at play.
‘The sense of tradition and the sense of family involvement for the Mac Race are both an enormous factor. There are so many boats that are family teams and it is a very special part of this race. The tradition of it and the fact that the specialness of the race gets passed down from generation to generation is really amazing' concluded Nancy.
Next Saturday the 18 sections of the racing fleet are scheduled to start from 1130am, when the double handed boats start first. The T-10's will, restarts and delays aside should start at 1150am. The last class to start will be the biggest of the monohull boats, the turbo's scheduled to start at 1420 (2:20pm)
13 Jul 2011
Chicago Yacht Club's 103rd Race to Mackinac - Weather focus
The GL70 Details - CYC Race to Mackinac 2010 Event Media
The Chicago Yacht Club's 103rd Race to Mackinac, presented by Veuve Clicquot, is just a few days away and there are 3,400 sailors and their families now beginning to focus on the expected weather conditions.
It seems a colorful spinnaker start is likely for both the 50 boat Cruising fleet, whose scheduled start is this Friday 15 July, and for the 301 faster Racing boats that will head off from 11:30am Saturday 16 July, on the 333 mile race to Mackinac Island in Northern Michigan.
This morning Chicago Mackinac Race Weather forecaster Chris Bedford was very upbeat about the weather ahead.
‘It is looking like a pretty good race. The current high pressure system will stay over the Great Lakes for the next couple of days. That moves out to the east late on Friday and Saturday while a new weather front will be approaching from the North West.
‘That will set up a developing southerly flow, which is obviously the best condition for the fleet as it will be pushing them along up towards the Mackinac Bridge.
‘I think that the start on Saturday will begin in a light south east lake breeze initially, and that the lake breeze will probably shut down for a short period, but I don't think it will be all that long before we start to get into a gradient south to south-south west wind that will build across the entire Lake by early Sunday morning.
‘That will continue to build probably into the mid teens I would say across much of the Lake on Sunday and could be around 20 knots Sunday night into Monday.
‘On top of that there will likely be a fairly decent wind acceleration going on through the Mac Straits as well.
‘The way I see it right now is that the fleet will have a little bit of a slow start in the lake breeze but will be finishing in moderate to fresh conditions, probably on late Sunday night for the faster boats and Monday for the medium paced boats.
‘I definitely see this year, right now, as the ‘rich getting richer' scenario. It looks like the wind will be building in the upper part of the Lake first and then working its way down the Lake, so that any boat that is ahead and able to nose up into that stronger pressure is just going to be getting more and more pressure all the time.
‘I see the leading boats just extending way as they get further north.
‘Certainly it does look like a big boat race that's for sure, especially with that wind direction.
Racing close and tight. Good times. CYC Race to Mackinac 2010 Event Media
‘I think the weather for the most part looks decent Saturday and most of Sunday.
There are some possibilities of thunderstorms across Northern Wisconsin and upper Michigan that could come into play Sunday evening and that might throw a little bit of a randomizer into the show.
‘The wind should stay most of the way to the Mackinac Strait on Monday night and Tuesday.
‘By early Wednesday the slower boats going in there are going to actually have a different weather set up.
‘The front goes through and it looks like it might get a little bit chilly up in the northern part of the Lake with easterly flow behind that front. I think the front will build sometime Monday night or early Tuesday, winds will switch around to the north east and east and they could be moderate for a while on Tuesday. Then things might get quite light and unstable on Wednesday because that same front moves north again as a warm front.'
16 Jul 2011
Chicago Mackinac 2011 fleet away!!
Windquest racing in the 103rd Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac presented by Veuve Clicquot Event Media
The 103rd Chicago Yacht Club's Race to Mackinac presented by Veuve Clicquot started yesterday afternoon for the 50 boat cruising fleet, who have had a dream run overnight and are well up the course.
Today in softer conditions, the giant 310 boat race fleet is heading north. The racing fleet has always sailed through the much slower cruisers, but it seems quite possible that the cruising fleet will be the first to the Mackinac parties.
The first fleet away this morning was the double-handed section. Phantom, a J105 owned by Scott Vukovich and John Kalanik from Chicago Yacht Club took a healthy lead. A starboard tack spinnaker set sets the tone for the day. Despite light winds of 3-5 knots with a potential to build, all headed north on a tight reach in order to pass the Two Mile Crib - a potential wind blocker - to starboard.
Further up the course, however, Dirk Kruger's C&C 110 Sea Raider from St Joseph River Yacht Club overtook Phantom to lead fleet north.
In the second start, the fleet from Section 9 crept to the line with poles set. Contender, a C&C 35 owned by Gary Graham out of Bayview Yacht Club crossed the line first. However, by the time the fleet reached the Crib, Siochail, Brian Geraghty's C&C 35 Mark 1, also from Bayview Yacht Club sneaked past Contender. The club rivalry has begun.
Just before the third start, the T10s - the largest fleet in the Racing section - the wind had shifted more to the east. Erica, a Tartan 10 owned by Brian and Michael Kaczor from Columbia Yacht Club reached the Crib first. Behind the 24 T10's, Opus Dei, an Olson 30 owned by Greg and Chris Cyrul out of Privateer Yacht Club was quickly out front of the Section 8 fleet.
The 2010 overall handicap winner Lady K, a J110 owned by Mike Stewart out of Muskegon Yacht Club led the way in Section 7. Peregrine, owned by Mark and Jackie Stoll out of Burnham Park Yacht Club was leading in the J105s
In Section 6, three hours into the race, Aftershock, a J35 owned by William M. Newman and Houqua, another J35 owned by Jack Andree, both out of Muskegon Yacht Club, and ZippyR, a Beneteau 10R owned by Scott Derby out of Macatawa Bay Yacht Club were vying for the early lead.
In the Beneteau 36.7 fleet, Karma, owned by Lou and Martin Sandoval and Jack Buoscio, out of Chicago Yacht Club was the early leader. Stiff competition from Wishes, owned by George Quinlan IV out of the Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club and Fog, owned by Charlie Wurtzebach and Mike Bird also out of Chicago Yacht Club was looming.
Full Tilt, owned Peter Priede and Roy Stewart out of Columbia Yacht Club was leading at the start, but Vanda III, owned by John Toliver and Jim Mitchell out of Chicago Yacht Club chose to take a more easterly track and was proving to be a hot contender in the 109 fleet!
In Section 5, Spitfire, a Frank 40 owned by James K. Hellquist and Larry Warter out of Waukegan Yacht Club was neck and neck with Maskwa, a C&C 115 owned by Donald P. Waller out of Burnham Park Yacht Club rolling up from the second place position.
Just after the Beneteau 40.7 start, the wind reluctantly came around to a southerly flow and was much less patchy. The clouds were burning off and the sun was much brighter and finally some blue sky drenched the Chicago skyline. Abeam the big towers downtown, Tom Weber's La Tempete, representing the Midwest Open Racing fleet was leading the charge.
In Section 4 populated with a Beneteau 44.7's, J120's, Mumm 36's, Alice Martin's well campaigned Painkiller IV, a Sydney 38 out of Chicago Yacht Club was leading the way.
Power Trip, a Synergy 1000, owned by Paul and James Kraft out of Grosse Point Yacht Club was at the top of the fleet in the Sportboat Section. The breeze was building and now there were bow waves for the lightweight fliers
In Section 3, Majic, a Sydney 41 owned by William Hoyer from Muskegon Yacht Club won the start and was making good progress on the eastern side of the course.
In Section 2, Christopher Whitford's Hot Lips, a Farr 40 from Chicago Yacht Club was the boat to beat in the first leg. Coming fast on her stern was Peacemaker, a Ker Custom owned by Kenneth Flaska and Fred Detwiler from Bayview Yacht Club and was flying a code zero.
The wind speed was lifting, probably now at least eight knots, as Drumbeat, a Soto 40 owned by Ted Etheridge out of Macatawa Bay Yacht Club shot away from the start line. Out to the east was Sun Duda!, a Santa Cruz 52 owned by F. Duda Sr. and L. Duda out of Chicago Yacht Club and Vortices, a J145 owned by Chris Saxton out of Bayview Yacht Club in the Section One fleet.
In the Multihull Division, Sundog, a Seacart 30 trimaran owned by Paul and Kathleen Parks out of Annapolis Yacht Club owned the line, second was Lei Loe, a Corsair 31, owned by H.L. Enloe out of Silver Gate Yacht Club; and CAT13, a Reynolds 33 owned by Martin Foster out of Viking Multihull Sail Club.
Last but not least, the Turbo Section fleet was preparing to cross the line as the wind was now gusting beyond 10 knots. The fleet was not flying ‘chutes, with their apparent wind well forward, their code zeros powering them at speed.
As expected, Windquest, the giant canting keel Maxi Z86 owned by Dick and Doug DeVos out of Macatawa Bay Yacht Club wound up quickly and blasted away. Equally as predictable, Equation, Bill Alcott's STP65, out of Bayview Yacht Club, formerly the Sydney Hobart winner Rosebud was a close second.
All and all, the starts were clean and uneventful. Thankfully, the light winds and grey skies we witnessed in the morning turned into a fresh breeze and blue skies which all the sailors will enjoy through the afternoon.
Two hours after the start, Bob Cohen from Endeavor, a Beneteau 36.7 up on the Wisconsin shore is that the wind is just holding above eight knots, but the sun is shining brightly. Same song from Peter O'Malley aboard the Olsen 34 Tenacity, who reported postcard sailing conditions.
Now the real question, with wind strengths rising at the top end of the lake, will the cruising fleet turbo-tortoises creep across the line ahead of the racing hares, who will now need to sail at twice their speed for the next 20 hours in softer conditions... that could be a tough challenge.
But this is but the first part of an epic race, so watch this space.
For more news and information go to www.cycracetomackinac.com
17 Jul 2011
Chicago-Mackinac - strong conditions ahead for big fleet
Windquest racing in the 103rd Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac presented by Veuve Clicquot Event Media
A fascinating battle in the Chicago Yacht club's 103rd Race to Mackinac presented by Veuve Clicquot, with 361 boats racing north.
Last night the leading Cruising Division boats, who started 24 hours ahead of the leading racing fleet, were set to make history, reaching Mackinac Island ahead of the Turbo fleet.
The cruising fleet after making solid progress for the first 24 hours, slowed down in the wee hours, however now winds are building in the northern end of Lake Michigan.
At 4am, the breeze around Point Betsey had swung to the southwest at a light 5-10 knots, but winds are going to build over the next few hours, up to 10-15 knots by 7am, and as much as to 15-20 knots by 10am, increasing rapidly to 25-30 by 1pm, and then easing slightly as the fleet approaches the Mackinac bridge.
Just after 1am CDT time this morning, in Cruising Section 1, Carl Charleff's Moody 54 Princess M was 74 miles from the Mackinac bridge travelling at almost seven knots. Behind her, three miles back was Chicago Yacht Club Commodore Joseph Haas' Final Diversion, and in third place, the Tartan 4000 Roxy another three miles behind. Cruising Section 2 leader, Dr. Michael Leland's Najad 332 Hope was just 20 miles behind leaders.
Behind them, the biggest of the racing boats, the Turbos are catching up quickly..
Dick and Doug DeVos' 86-foot canting keeler Windquest is already 110 miles up the course. However she is just 2.5 miles ahead of Bill Alcott's STP65 Equation, better known around the world as Rosebud, the former Sydney Hobart winner. The first of the multihulls, Paul and Kathleen's Seacart 30 Sundog, is just 10 miles back travelling at 11 knots.
The first of the Great Lakes 70s is John Nedeau's Windancer who just behind her travelling at similar speed, followed by Lance Smotherman's Details, Jerome Sullivan's 70-foot canting keeler Merlin and another GL70, Albert D'Ottavio's Thirsty Tiger. Then two miles back it's Bill Martin's GL70 Stripes and a second multihull, Fred Ball's Newick 50 Manitou.
Then came a brace of TP52's; Mark Hauf's iMedi was half a mile ahead of Phil O'Neill's Natalie J,
Section 1 leader Ted Etheridge's Solo 40 Drumbeat was 24 miles behind Windquest.
Fred Detwiler, aboard Section 2 leader, the custom Ker 39 Peacemaker, reported just south of Little Sable a steady 6-9 knot breeze, moving from south to southeast. She was sailing under clear skies, just 30 miles behind Windquest.
The first of the Section 3 boats, the Farr 395 Mosquito, was four miles behind her and the leading J109 Vana III was doing seven knots close behind.
More information as it comes to hand.