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post #1 of 7 Old 07-15-2007 Thread Starter
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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:

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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!!!
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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!!

More links:

Last edited by ChicagoNewport27; 07-15-2007 at 04:50 AM.
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-15-2007 Thread Starter
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It was even a bit too windy out there at the start for some of the racers in the new "Cruising Division"...

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The race, organized by the Chicago Yacht Club, was first run in 1898.

Most boats typically finish in about 35 hours. The record time of 23 hours and 30 minutes was set in 2002.

Johnson said organizers were hoping the strong winds would continue through the weekend and help the sailors set a new record time.

But the windy conditions weren't welcomed by all the racers. Six boats competing in the newly added Cruising Division "retreated" and returned to port after struggling in the winds, [race spokeswoman Celeste Johnson] said. Boats in that division tend to be smaller than the other yachts competing in the race.

"They just decided not to do it," Johnson said. [Source]
Well, you know the saying: "Discretion is the better part of valor!"

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post #3 of 7 Old 07-15-2007
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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!
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-16-2007
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Windquest was the first to finish.
It appears that most of the fleet is now becalmed around the Manitou's.

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If a man is to be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most - E.B. White
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-17-2007
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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.

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If a man is to be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most - E.B. White
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-17-2007
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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.
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post #7 of 7 Old 08-03-2007
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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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"To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it - but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.
- Oliver Wendel Holmes
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