15 Jul 2011
Chicago Mackinac weather set to test big fleet
The 103rd Chicago Yacht Club's Race to Mackinac presented by Veuve Clicquot started this afternoon for the 50 boat cruising fleet. Tomorrow, the massive 310 boat race fleet will head 333 miles north, with the first start for double-handed boats scheduled at 11:30am.
|Weather guru meteorologist Chris Bedford talks shop. Event Media|
Meteorologist Chris Bedford presented a detailed weather update to a very attentive Skippers' briefing at Chicago Yacht Club's Monroe Station this morning and again this afternoon.
Earlier this week, the weather picture looked quite straight forward for the sailors but the slow moving high that has delivered such gorgeous weather to the Great Lakes over the last four days has complicated the race for tacticians looking to plot the fastest course. Bedford explained that earlier in the week, it seemed that there could be a well-established southerly flow for most of the race but now lake and land breezes would become much more important.
The tactical decisions have been made more complex, because cool weather over the last few months has meant that the lake temperature is down at least five degrees from a normal year, modifying the thermal wind strengths. A light east south-easterly lake breeze is likely at the start, but it could die quite soon after dark, before changing to a south-easterly gradient breeze overnight. So the positioning of the boat relative to the shore will be a key factor in on water success.
|Lake breeze graphic Event Media|
The wind is likely to be strongest along the Wisconsin shore but conditions will vary considerably across the lake. A south-westerly breeze is likely to fill in across the lake late tomorrow but there could be nightly thunderstorms providing regularly challenges.
The cruising fleet started in winds of between 10-12 knots and stayed left on the course.
It is likely that the race leaders will take at least 30 hours to reach the finish line that is well outside the record race times set by the late Steve Fossett (18 hours, 50 minutes) in 1998 with the multihull Stars and Stripes. The late Roy E. Disney set the monohull record (23 hours, 30 minutes) in Pyewacket in 2002.
It does seem that the race leaders will see the strongest conditions as they close on the Mackinac Bridge, which could coincide with a frontal change. But by then it is likely the race will have been won or lost in the difficult mid-race transition stages.
The details from the weather briefing can be found on the home page of www.cycracetomackinac.com
Race to Mackinac - event media
To learn more about the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, go to the official Web site at www.cycracetomackinac.com.
Press wishing to cover the event, can register their interest and gain additional information and access to high resolution images for editorial use at the online media center at http://www.cycracetomackinac.com/.
For more information, please contact Rachelle Treiber, Chicago Yacht Club Communications Manager, at 312.861.7772, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2011 Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac - Presented by Veuve Clicquot.
About Chicago Yacht Club: The Chicago Yacht Club is one of the oldest and most respected yacht clubs in the world. Today, the club boasts a membership of nearly 1500 boating enthusiasts, and is one of the preeminent organizers of regattas, races and predicted-log events in the United States. The club offers an array of spectacular off-the-water amenities, including fine dining and full-service catering at both its Monroe and Belmont stations.
About the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac: At 333 miles (289.4 nautical miles), the Race to Mackinac is the oldest annual freshwater distance race in the world. ‘The Mac' starts at the Chicago Lighthouse, just off Navy Pier and continues to Mackinac Island. 2010 marked the 102nd Running of the Race to Mackinac in which 362 boats competed in the third consecutive sellout of the Race. The Race has also amassed a strong following using technology and social networking; it can be followed virtually using Facebook, Twitter and its Race tracking interface. The 102nd race and yacht club site was visited by over 300,000 website visitors.
About Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin: Since its creation in 1772, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin played an instrumental role in establishing and evolving the champagne industry as we know it today. Located in Reims, France, Veuve Clicquot prides itself on utilizing only the most distinct grapes from their vineyards for each bottle. Now, over 200 years later, Veuve Clicquot Champagne inspires the world to 'Be Clicquot': modern, audacious and premium quality. These values, set forth by the ground-breaking and extraordinary Madame Clicquot and maintained by generations of Clicquot drinkers, promise a remarkable experience with each sip of Veuve Clicquot Champagne.