Mackinac Bound—Sailing News from the U.S. and Beyond
The GL70 Details, sails into the sunset. CYC Race to Mackinac 2010 Event Media
For the past two weeks, American distance-racing fans have had an amazing opportunity to watch two classic races unfold, the Transatlantic Race and the Transpacific Yacht Race. Midwestern sailors, however, have had to keep their hands in their foulies, knowing that their time to shine was coming soon. Thankfully, that day has arrived, as the fifty-boat cruising division of the 103rd Race to Mackinaw begins their 333-mile push to the fabled island today; the 301 participating raceboats start the same course tomorrow. As with all distance races, weather and wind are the key actors. 'I think that the start on Saturday will begin in a light southeast lake breeze initially,' said meteorologist Chris Bedford earlier this week, 'and that the lake breeze will probably shut down for a short period, but I don't think it will be all that long before we start to get into a gradient south to south-south west wind that will build across the entire Lake by early Sunday morning.' As of this morning's skipper meeting, however, the forecast has slowed, indicating that the high-pressure ridge to the east will take longer to move through than anticipated, thus potentially stalling the predicted southerly flow. As is often the case with fickle-wind distance races, Bedford admits that this race could likely prove to be another case of the rich getting richer, e.g., the faster boats tapping into the fresher breezes sooner. Be sure to check out more pre-race media, in this issue.
Sail-World will be on hand during the Race to Mackinaw, producing up-to-the-minute race reports, interviews, and other engaging media. Please be sure to check the site regularly for updates, and stay tuned to the newsletter for more, as it becomes known.
Meanwhile, in Volvo Ocean Race circles, Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ has wrapped up the testing phase on their new Volvo Open 70, Camper, which is now being prepared to be shipped to Europe for the start of the next VOR, which kicks off this October. 'Our testing phase in New Zealand is complete we have sailed 8,000 nautical miles since April,' said skipper Chris Nicholson. 'We've sailed from the tropics to the edge of the Southern Ocean, so it's been a great opportunity for us to really push Camper in a wide-range of true race conditions. With our time in New Zealand now drawing to a close, we have new goals now for Europe leading up to the starting line.'
IMG 5688 - 2011-07-13 at 11-03-50 - Emirates Team NZ - SL33 - 13 July, 2011 Richard Gladwell
Also from ETNZ, be sure to check out news of their new partnership with Dell computers, as well as their latest toy, the Morelli and Melvin-designed SL-33 catamarans, which will serve as test beds for the team's bigger AC72.
Also inside you'll find updates from both the Transpac and the Transatlantic races. On the east side, the last boats have been dealing with a significant ridge of persnickety high-pressure, while on the left side things are getting decidedly spicy as boats continue to approach Hawaii and cross the finishing line.
May the four winds blow you safely home,
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor
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