The Sail-World team Came out of a restaurant on Mackinac Island in northern Michigan USA around 11pm local time, last Monday night and you could smell the rain, just trying to decide whether to walk across the street to that ever dangerous bar called the Pink Pony when the skies opened.
A viloent thunderstorm. Storm force winds, almost horizontal rain. Wait a few minutes said my North American companions, but in a few minutes the Mackinac Island Main Street was a river lit by lightning bolts.
But 40 miles further to the south east, the embedded thunderstorm was much stronger.
In one area just 35 miles from the finish line, winds of of 100+ knots sustained for more than seven minutes and there were still 350 boats on the water in the 2011 Chicago to Mackinac yacht race.
Chicago Mackinac storm 2011
Sailors on a boat called Sociable came upon an upturned sports boat called WingNuts, they pulled six sailors from the boiling sea, but they, another 10 boats and the US coastguard searched in vain for the skipper and his girl friend.
The U.S. sailing community is in shock. This was the first sailing related death in the 103 runnings of this iconic race.
The Sail-World team, operating the official media centre for the Chicago Yacht Club, had a big team onboard. We stopped conventional reporting of the race and we worked closely with the event team, preparing official releases and set up a major online press conference.
Shades of Hobart 1998, but this time I've seen it from the landside.
It sends a shiver down my spine.
The main message is tho' for all sailing event managers - look hard at your action plans. Its no longer safe to assume, because you are on a lake or in sheltered waters, this could not happen to your event.
On a happier note, there will be another big Tetra-Media team (Sail-World, Powerboat-World, MarineBusiness-World and FishingBoating-World team at Sydney Boat Show, nine of us in all, you will see our blue shirts. (Nancy Knudsen, our Cruising Editor and her husband Ted Nobbs will be on the Show stage)
Stop us and say hi.
Having just flown back in from Chicago, (landed this morning) we are now preparing for the Northern Season, we have the Gold Coast, Keppel, Airlie Beach Race Week, Hamilton Island Race Week and the newly badged Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week.
If you liked this newsletter, do nothing, we will send you another .. Naa, please don't send me another.
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