by David Stoyka
Detroit's Bayview Yacht Club, one of the most storied and historical sailing clubs in the world, have announced the kickoff of the 2013 Bell's Beer Bayview Mackinac Race. The 89th consecutive race commences on Southern Lake Huron, just north of the Blue Water Bridge, Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 11:30 AM.
Bayview Mackinac Race 2012
'Bayview is in its third year of a five-year plan designed to secure the future of the race while placing a clear focus on the competition and sailors,' said 2013 Bayview Yacht Club Commodore Kent M. Colpaert. 'The multi-year sponsorships we have secured from our partners, including our title sponsor Bell's Beer, has given the race unprecedented stability and has allowed us to ensure the races sailing traditions and the Bayview Experience.'
On cue with Bayview's long-term strategy is more great news from Kalamazoo's Bell's Brewery, as Marketing Director Laura Bell announced a two-year extension of title sponsorship of the prestigious race through 2016. Bell's is currently in its third year as the title sponsor, and company owner, Larry Bell, understands the benefits of the company's investment in the race from both on and off the water.
'As a company with strong Michigan-based roots, we are proud to continue our support of such a world-class event as the Bell's Beer Bayview Mackinac Race. As a fan and a competitor in the race, I am thrilled that our sponsorship has allowed Bayview to focus on the sailing,' said Larry Bell, owner of Bell's Brewery Inc. 'It is such an honor to have my company's name on the billboard that showcases the best our great state has to offer.'
On-the-water competitors will see very little change to the 2013 event; boats will again cross the finish with the iconic Round Island Passage Light in the Straights of Mackinac to starboard.
'Our goal is to make the race an enjoyable competition for participants and spectators alike,' said Carl Bihlmeyer Race Chairman2013 Bell's Beer Bayview Mackinac Race. 'In addition to the race enhancements made last year, the consistency of our rules and regulations will allow competitors to focus on preparation and sailing. Off the water, fans will have a chance to join the fun through a variety of exciting events that strive to benefit the community.'
For the second year, metro Detroiters will have a chance to experience the Acura Sailing Under the Stars Charity Preview, the public kick-off event for the race to be held from 6 - 11 p.m., Saturday, June 15. Featuring offerings from 25 of metro Detroit and Port Huron's finest restaurants, eateries and sweet shops, this year's event is sure to be the must attend event of the early summer.
'Acura Sailing Under the Stars is the perfect way to kickoff festivities surrounding the race, and Bayview Yacht Club is the perfect place to spend a June summers night. The turnout and the buzz generated last year made continuing the signature charity preview a no brainer,' said Doug Fox of Ann Arbor Acura. 'To experience the atmosphere of the Detroit river front, and enjoy some of the region's finest restaurants and entertainers and supporting many great causes, makes this one of the can't miss events of the summer.'
The event is expected to raise more than $40,000 and will benefit six local non-profits, including Autism Speaks, COTS, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Matrix Human Services, Play Place for Autistic Children and Rose Hill Center.
Tickets for the Acura Sailing Under the Stars Charity Preview are $75 per person and can be purchased at Sailing Under the Stars. During the process of purchasing a ticket, guests will be asked which charity they would like proceeds of their ticket to benefit. Valet parking is included in the price of the ticket.
In addition to the food, there will be a number of bands performing on two stages located on the grounds of the historic yacht club.
Again this year, the Bell's Beer Bayview Mackinac race welcomes back sponsors Acura, Soaring Eagle Casino, Grand Hotel, Shepler's, Doyle's Sails, Aitken-Ormond Agency, Frankenmuth Insurance, Legal Copy Services and new sponsor, Barefoot Winery.
'More and more companies are realizing the power of the race and that this event is one of the true summer traditions in Michigan. Fans of all ages come out to watch the boats,' said Bihlmeyer. 'I believe as we add more partners to the race, sailors and spectators will benefit the most from these great strategic partnerships.'
This year will mark 89th consecutive years for the world-class event. Some 200 plus sailboats and 2,500 sailors are expected take part in the annual regatta with an estimated 100,000 sailing fans and families attending the festive activities in Port Huron leading to the Saturday start.
Again this year, the July 23 award ceremony and party will be held at Woodfill Park, which is located at the foot of the hill leading to Grand Hotel.
For the fifth time, sailing fans around the world will be able to follow individual boats or the entire fleet on the Bell's Brewery and Bayview Yacht Club websites as Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking devices will be placed on all participating sailboats. In 2012, more than 4million hits and 400,000 page views were tracked on the web site during the race.
The economic value of the race is approximated between $30 and $59 million, depending on weather conditions, making it one of the premier events hosted in the State of Michigan, and one with major economic impact to a host of local Michigan businesses, especially in tourism.
From its traditional start in Southern Lake Huron, the fleet will head North on one of two courses. The shorter course, called the 'Shore Course,' covers 204 nautical miles (252 statute miles) along the Michigan shoreline before heading west to Mackinac Island Bell's Beer finish line. The longer 'Cove Island Course' is 259 nautical miles (298 statute miles) and takes sailors around a buoy off the tip of the Bruce Peninsula in Canadian waters before heading west toward the finish line.
This year five Divisions will be offered: Cove Island Racing; Shore Course Racing; Shore Course Cruising; Multi-Hull; and Double-Handed. All competitors will be handicapped using Performance Handicap Racing Fleet system.
'Each year we talk about how the race is always been about the sailors getting on the water and racing, but we also need to give a special thanks to our volunteers and the families of the racers because none of this would be possible without the diligent work and support of the racer's families, friends and the staff of Bayview. I congratulate the Mackinac 2013 Race Chairman, Carl Bihlmeyer for an exceptional job in getting this race organized and setting the stage for a safe race on two courses,' said Commodore Colpaert.