This year’s Bell’s Beer 90th Bayview Mackinac Race began on July 12 in Southern Lake Huron, with 9-11 knots of breeze offering the 227 boats in 14 classes a swift downwind leg along the two courses offered, either to the Presque Isle Lighthouse (on the Michigan shoreline), where the Shore course begins taking a left, or the Cove Buoy where the Cove Island Course does the same (about 130 miles away from the start).
The shorter Shore course covers 204 nm along the Michigan shoreline before heading west to Mackinac Island Bell’s Beer finish line. The longer Cove Island Course is 259 nm and takes sailors around a buoy off the tip of the Bruce Peninsula in Canadian waters before heading west toward the finish line.
A westerly breeze of 9-11 knots allowed an initially mellow downwind spinnaker run to the first turning points in each of two courses. During the evening, however, 'a lot of everything' happened when it came to weather and wind, including rain, dense fog and gusts up to 36 knots. The front continued to move and produced a brisk westerly breeze that kept the fleet 'on its nose' throughout Saturday evening and into Sunday. That meant the Cove Island course had the unfortunate task of playing windshifts for nearly 90nm upwind to Mackinac Island after rounding the Cove Buoy.
This year, the J/120 one-design fleet sailed the longer Cove Island Course with a big fleet of ten boats participating. All the usual suspects from the Great Lakes J/120 fleet were sailing, including most past winners in class. The big class winner was Hot Ticket (Mike and Bob Kirkman), beating the next set of boats by over one hour! No question there was a duel all the way to the finish for the next two boats, both finishing within 45 seconds of each other! Taking second was Funtech Racing (Charlie Hess) and at the short end of that stick was Carinthia (Frank Kern). The balance of the top five was Night Moves (Henry Mistele) in fourth and Flyin Irish (Bill Bresser) in fifth.
In PHRF A on the Cove Island Course were also two J/111s, Tim Clayson’s Unplugged took fifth and Don Hudak’s Capers took seventh.
The Short Course had the largest contingent of J’s sailing. In the Level 35 Division, there are nine J/35s sailing in the fleet of eleven boats! Taking the class honors was Papa Gaucho II (Keith Stauber) with the Bayer/ Bayer/ Barnes trio on Falcon only 1:50 sec behind them! In fourth was Mr Bill’s Wild Ride sailed by Bill Wildner and fifth was Major Detail (Bill Vogan).
Sailing into fourth overall in the 12 boat PHRF C Division was the classic navy-blue J/44 Sagitta sailed by the team of Jon Somes and Larry Oswald from Bayview YC.
PHRF D division had an eclectic, diverse group of boats in their fleet of 16 entries. The J/105s swept the class. The resounding winner by over 1.5 hours on elapsed time was the J/105 Pterodactyl (Mary Symonds). A country furlong behind was the J/105 Send In The Clowns (Terry Timm) in second place. Fourth was Snake Oil (Don Harthorn) and a J/92 took seventh- Kohatsu (John Stromberg).
Top J in the PHRF E division was the J/33 Shenanigan skippered by the team of Dick and Dan Synowiec from North Cape YC, placing a respectable third place. Then in PHRF G, the J/30 Conundrum skippered by Donald King from Lake Shore Sailing Club took fourth place.
On the Shore Course Cruising (white sails) division, Cruising A class saw the J/42 Dos Mas sailed by Gary Gonzalez from Grosse Pointe YC finish second! Then, in the Division IV Shore Course Double-handed group the J/29 Patriot led by Lyndon Lattie took second place followed by the J/100 Vanquish sailed by Don Fick in sixth.
For more Bayview Mackinac sailing information, click here