Slow edition for Chicago Mackinac Race

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Mackinac Island, MI (July 20, 2021) – “We didn’t get to race last year (because of the pandemic), but this year we got to sail twice as long,” joked one of the 3000 or more sailors that just completed the Chicago Yacht Club’s 112th Race to Mackinac.

The iconic race that covers 289.4 nautical miles from the Chicago Lighthouse off Navy Pier to Round Island Lighthouse off Mackinac Island was indeed longer in the sense that the bulk of the fleet finished last night and early this morning, but that wasn’t solely because of light air.

It was more a matter of the race presenting as primarily upwind and the breeze going from decent at the start to completely dead at some points near the Manitou Islands, offering windless holes that stranded some of the fleet’s 231 boats longer than others.

“The forecast was for it to be a very tactical race,” said Race Chair Martin Sandoval, adding that Cruising Division started Friday (July 16) and the balance of the fleet started Saturday (July 17), “and it didn’t disappoint. Sailors participate in the race for the experience.

“Were there times they wanted to see more wind? Yes. But they recognize that there’s a mental challenge to adapting a plan as you go to meet the conditions. Once the wind filled in from the west (after the Manitous), folks in the Mackinac Straights made it in two hours to the bridge. It mixed up the results for sure; there are some different names in the winner’s circle.”

At stake were bragging rights in 20 “sections” (otherwise known as classes) for Cruising (3 sections), Racing (10), One-Design (5), Multihull (1) and Doublehanded (1) boats and the glory that comes with winning overall in divisions for Cruising and Racing (the latter further divided by rating band into those sailing for the Chicago-Mackinac Trophy and those sailing for the Mackinac Cup).

First to finish just before midnight (Chicago time) on Sunday (July 18) was the Andrews 65 Eagle One with Timothy LaRiviere (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) at the helm. First overall in Cruising and first in Cruising 1, Eagle One outpaced the largest boat in the fleet, Peter Thornton’s 104’ Bruce King-designed ketch Whitehawk, which finished next, around 9:15 the following morning. When asked what stood out as his favorite part of the race, an exhausted LaRivere said, “The start, the finish…and everything in between.”

The finish line is sighted from shore to the Round Island Light located on the west shore of Round Island in the shipping lanes of the Straits of Mackinac, which connect Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Oakcliff’s Max Z86 OC86, led by newly named Hall of Fame Inductee Dawn Riley (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) was the first of the racing division boats to finish (just before 11:30 yesterday). The team finished ninth in Section 1, where the PAC 52 Natalie J won over what their team called the favorites to win: Vesper and Windquest, both Transpac 52s.

Taking home the Chicago-Mackinac Trophy was the Ericson 35 MK II Providence (also winner of Section 9), co-skippered by Jerry and Greg Miarecki (Chicago).

Winning the Mackinac Cup was the J/111 nosurprise (also winner in J/111s), skippered by Scott Sellers (Larkspur, Calif.)

Andy Graff and Scott Eisenhardt aboard the J/88 Exile won the Doublehanded, while the Cris White 44 Caliente, skippered by Michael Steck (Naperville, Ill.) won Mutihull Division.

The “Chicago Mac” is widely considered a Bucket List race, but alternatively, many sailors are so used to including it on their calendars they can’t remember when exactly they first became addicted to it.

The Island Goat Sailing Society takes seriously its responsibility for keeping track of Old Goats,” those who have sailed 25 or more Mac races, and indeed there are those who have 35, 45, even 65 of the races under their sailing belts.

This year, 92-year-old Gene McCarthy sailed his 66th Chicago Mac on his Tartan 10 Island Goat Express. He’s top of the list in the Island Goats Sailing Society (25 races gets you in the club) http://islandgoats.org/roster.htm

Source: scuttlebutt – https://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/2021/07/20/slow-edition-for-chicago-mackinac-race/

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