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Chicago-Mackinac - strong conditions ahead for big fleet

by Rob Kothe on 17 Jul 2011
Windquest racing in the 103rd Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac presented by Veuve Clicquot Event Media
A fascinating battle in the Chicago Yacht club’s 103rd Race to Mackinac presented by Veuve Clicquot, with 361 boats racing north.

Last night the leading Cruising Division boats, who started 24 hours ahead of the leading racing fleet, were set to make history, reaching Mackinac Island ahead of the Turbo fleet.

The cruising fleet after making solid progress for the first 24 hours, slowed down in the wee hours, however now winds are building in the northern end of Lake Michigan.

At 4am, the breeze around Point Betsey had swung to the southwest at a light 5-10 knots, but winds are going to build over the next few hours, up to 10-15 knots by 7am, and as much as to 15-20 knots by 10am, increasing rapidly to 25-30 by 1pm, and then easing slightly as the fleet approaches the Mackinac bridge.

Just after 1am CDT time this morning, in Cruising Section 1, Carl Charleff’s Moody 54 Princess M was 74 miles from the Mackinac bridge travelling at almost seven knots. Behind her, three miles back was Chicago Yacht Club Commodore Joseph Haas’ Final Diversion, and in third place, the Tartan 4000 Roxy another three miles behind. Cruising Section 2 leader, Dr. Michael Leland's Najad 332 Hope was just 20 miles behind leaders.

Behind them, the biggest of the racing boats, the Turbos are catching up quickly..

Dick and Doug DeVos’ 86-foot water ballasted Windquest is already 110 miles up the course. However she is just 2.5 miles ahead of Bill Alcott’s STP65 Equation, better known around the world as Rosebud, the former Sydney Hobart winner. The first of the multihulls, Paul and Kathleen’s Seacart 30 Sundog, is just 10 miles back travelling at 11 knots.

The first of the Great Lakes 70s is John Nedeau’s Windancer who just behind her travelling at similar speed, followed by Lance Smotherman’s Details, Jerome Sullivan’s 70-foot canting keeler Merlin and another GL70, Albert D’Ottavio’s Thirsty Tiger. Then two miles back it's Bill Martin’s GL70 Stripes and a second multihull, Fred Ball's Newick 50 Manitou.

Then came a brace of TP52’s; Mark Hauf’s iMedi was half a mile ahead of Phil O’Neill’s Natalie J,
Section 1 leader Ted Etheridge’s Solo 40 Drumbeat was 24 miles behind Windquest.

Fred Detwiler, aboard Section 2 leader, the custom Ker 39 Peacemaker, reported just south of Little Sable a steady 6-9 knot breeze, moving from south to southeast. She was sailing under clear skies, just 30 miles behind Windquest.

The first of the Section 3 boats, the Farr 395 Mosquito, was four miles behind her and the leading J109 Vana III was doing seven knots close behind.

More information as it comes to hand.
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