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Chicago-Mackinac Race—Mac Finishes

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 18 Jul 2011
The Chicago Yacht Club's 103rd Race to Mackinac, presented by Veuve Clicquot—It’s been a full-on fourteen hours for finishers here on Mackinac Island as some 60-plus boats crossed the finishing line sometime between Sunday evening and Monday morning. While the early reports involved tales of downhill sailing, boats arriving later in the evening were dealt a catastrophic bag of conditions, covering the gamut of light stuff to a severe Midwestern thunderstorm that delivered sheet lightning, peak winds in the mid-40s and torrential rain. Currently, another 70-plus boats are somewhere between the iconic Mackinac Bridge and the Mackinac Island finishing line, limping home. Additionally, multiple boats have retired due to the severity of the night’s storm.

While Dick and Doug DeVos’ Windquest, a Max Z86, took line honors in the Turbo Section, provisional results put John Nedeau’s Windancer, a Great Lakes 70, in first, with Lance Smotherman’s Great Lakes 70, Details in second and Bill Martin’s Great Lakes 70 Stripes rounding out the top three.

While the Turbo Section can always counted on to spin heads at starting lines, it was Carl Chaleff’s Moody 54, Princess M, racing in Cruising Section 1, who made history by becoming the first cruising boat to take overall line honors. Clearly, Princess M’s extra cruising amenities didn’t hurt their performance. Chaleff himself has become a strong proponent of cruisers enjoying distance races on their 'turbo tortoises,' as the quick cruisers have been coined.

Interestingly, Roxy, a brand-new Tartan 4000, crossed the finishing line just a few minutes astern of Princess M. According to crewmember Tom McNeill, a yacht designer at Tartan, Roxy’s story was unique. 'We were hooking up our electronics at the start,' said McNeill. 'None of our sails had even been hoisted prior to the start.'

Post-storm humidity and ghostly light airs are carrying the remaining boats to the finishing line, following last night's terrible storm. 'The North Lake Michigan reported a peak wind gust of 45 knots at approximately 11:00PM EDT,' said meteorologist Chris Bedford. 'Today promises to be much calmer, with light South-Southwesterly winds mainly 5-10 knots on the lake. However, this is a chance of more thunderstorms developing across the area this afternoon and this evening.'

For more information on the Chicago Yacht Club's 103rd Race to Mackinac, please visit www.cycracetomackinac.com
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