by Susan Kantor
The cruising division set sail for the 106th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac at 3 p.m. on July 18th. Event Chairman Matt Gallagher, who is sailing in cruising division on Endeavour, said 41 cruising boats began the race under light winds, clear skies and flat water.
The Cruising Division during the 103rd Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac
'The Cruising Division is off with sunny skies and a light breeze,' Gallagher said. 'I wish my competitors well on their journeys and look forward to seeing them on the island.'
According to Chris Bedford, chief meteorologist at Sailing Weather Service, the fleet should continue to expect clear skies overnight and through the weekend.
'We’re going to have some dry weather over us for most of the race and good conditions,' he said. 'There may be some thunderstorms leaking into Michigan on Sunday and Monday, but right now it doesn’t seem to be an issue.'
The water temperatures are cooler than usual this summer at approximately 60 degrees across Lake Michigan.
'The cold water temperatures we have this year will play a role in the strength of the lake breeze or the overnight land breeze,' Bedford said. 'Lake breezes should be a little stronger this year. Land breeze effects—the overnight wind—will be weaker this year.'
Back at the Chicago Yacht Club docks on Friday evening, the racing division gathered for the Skipper and Weather Briefing, which included race notices, sponsor news and a Coast Guard update.
The 106th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac is a 333-mile invitation only race from Chicago to Mackinac Island. There are 318 boats and approximately 2,500 crew members in this year’s race. The racing divisions start Saturday, July 19, at 11 a.m.