Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac 2007
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:
Best of luck to the ships and their intrepid crews!!
It was even a bit too windy out there at the start for some of the racers in the new "Cruising Division"...
No record this year. It is coming up on 24 hours and Windquest just passed the Manitou's. Fast start and then a quiet night and Sunday. Disney record still stands!
Windquest was the first to finish.
It appears that most of the fleet is now becalmed around the Manitou's.
They are still going at it.
Three days later and a large portion of the fleet has yet to finish.
Some of the boat speeds were down around 1 knot and below.
I give them credit just for surviving being becalmed out there.
I've sailed in two Chi-Macs. This heavy/no air seems typical. We slapped around one night with the spinnaker wrapping around the headstay off the Michigan coast, clearing the chute so we could pass thirty boats on a steady puff, and then blew it out the next day at the Manitous in an unexpected wave-induced gybe. Dead calms, followed by hail a half-inch deep on deck, until it's blasted off by 50-knot squalls that drive the boat, bare-poled, at 8 knots towards Mackinac. One day I came on watch to see the schooner America dead astern with no steerage. Another, we romped under the bridge with boats on both sides like carousel horses, running with us to the finish. It's a race all the way, no matter what the conditions.
This year - ugh!!
This year's Mac was the slowest in 45 years. I was on a J-105. We started in 30 knot winds blowing out of the southwest. If only it could have stayed that way the entire trip, it would have blown us directly to Mackinac. We popped the spinnaker right at the start and saw 14.5 knots of speed! Fastest I've ever sailed on a monohaul. Unfortunately, after about three hours, it died. Crawled around at about two knots while the wind decided to back around to the northeast. Started to build again, got up to 20 knots of wind, we were beating close-hauled into seas building to four-feet and I was the most forward rail meat. Wet, wet, wet. In a couple of hours, in calmed down to about 10 knot winds and then back to calm around 4:00am.
Sunday morning broke with beautiful blue skies, the wind continuing to back around to the Northwest, and a slightly broad reach in 17 knot winds (and 8-9 boat speed) across the lake to about 25 miles south of the Manitou's. Then, it hit (or, in this case, it left). No wind. For over 15 hours, no wind. Monday around noon, we were still 15 miles south of the Manitou's. UGLY!!!
The first 24 hours were pretty glorious with all kinds of sailing action. After that, it sucked. I took a picture of an adjacent boat that was stuck in the hole with us. The Chicago Yacht Club used the picture on their home page with a description of how slow the race was. Normally, most boats finish in 40-60 hours. This year, most went 70-90. Since three of our six-person crew had to be at work on Wednesday, we 'retired' and motored to a nearby harbor. Not the way I expected my first Mac to end. Oh well .... there is alway next year - the 100th running of the Mac!
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