For those interested...
The Chicago Yacht Club's Race to Mackinac 2007 started yesterday!
Chicago Yacht Club - Race to Mackinac 2007
333 miles! The longest freshwater boat race in the world!
Many of the entrants in this years Mac race are carrying tracking transponders. You can track the progress of the Race here:
Flagship Tracking Services
About the tracking technology:
GPS Tech Lets Fans Track Mackinac - Videos - WMAQ
This years race was one of the fastest starts on record, and only one of a few spinnaker starts in the long 99-year history of this race. Just look at this weather report from yesterday's start:
07/14/07 10:00 AM CDT Southwest winds to 30 knots becoming west 15 to 25 knots by early afternoon, then northwest 10 to 20 knots late in the afternoon. chance of showers and thunderstorms. waves 6 to 8 feet subsiding to 4 to 6 feet. Tonight north winds 10 to 20 knots early becoming west 5 to 10 knots after midnight. waves subsiding to 1 to 3 feet. Looks like a fast and furious start!!!
Veteran Mac racers will tell you it's been some time since the Chicago to Mackinac race kicked off amid 20 m.p.h. sustained winds. That's what's predicted as the race gets underway at noon Saturday--making today's open potentially the windiest in years. The gusty winds precede a cold front which is racing southeastward beneath an abnormally strong July jet stream bearing winds as high as 125 m.p.h. at its core. These powerful upper-level winds (at the 18,000 to 36,000 ft. level) threaten to lift Saturday's moderately humid low 60(degrees) dew point air, producing scattered-coverage t-storms in the process...
Best of luck to the ships and their intrepid crews!!