Please select your home edition
North Sails 2019 - NSVictoryList - Leaderboard

Cruising Division sets sail in 111th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac

by Laura Muma 13 Jul 2019 10:28 PDT 12-13 July 2019
2019 Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac Cruising Division start © Ellinor Walters

The Cruising Division set sail Friday in better-than-forecasted conditions, a sign that the 266 competitors hope bode well for the weekend ahead in the 111th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac presented by Wintrust, despite a light-air forecast.

Friday's sunny skies and a 10-13 knot Southeasterly breeze gave Peter Thornton's stunning 104' ketch, Whitehawk, a chance to stretch her legs and glide north. Thornton transitioned to the Cruising Division this year after going out with a bang in the 2018 CYCRTM when his Volvo 70 Il Mostro took line honors after a grueling race.

The Racing Division begins today between 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., comprised of 10 sections designed to stagger out the speed differentials between the smaller boats like Tartan 10s and J/Boats, to the more-powered TP52s, Santa Cruz 70s and the Multihulls.

All the boats will pass by Navy Pier to officially check in to the 2019 America's Offshore Challenge in one of the largest annual Parade of Boats. From 10:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., Chicago Yacht Club is hosting its annual Parade of Boats send-off party at the Pier with live commentary and a great chance for family and friends to cheer on their competitors before they embark on the 333-mile (289nm) adventure up Lake Michigan.

Weather or Not: Racers are Ready

The 266-strong fleet of racing and cruising boats have been finalizing preparations all week in preparation for any - and every - type of weather that Lake Michigan may send their way. The past two years of strong winds and unexpected storms has challenged the sailors, but that is also part of what brings them back or entices the first timers to tackle the race known as America's Offshore Challenge.

According to Race Meteorologist Chris Bedford in the Friday weather briefing presented by NAUTIC-ON, this year may end up becoming more of a mental challenge. With a stubborn high-pressure system sitting on top of the Midwest, a light-air race is predicted.

Regardless, Jim Lidbury and Dhamithe can't wait to get out there. The two began hatching the plan to do the Mac last year on Arsakularanatna's C&C 110 Zen, and it was an easy sell for fellow Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club member Anthony Ngal to jump on board.

"For us, this is an exotic race," said Lidbury. "We are all first-timers except for Dhamithe. Our group has sailed offshore around the world, but we all know of the Race to Mackinac and how special it is. We can't wait to experience it."

Safety First

Safety has been top-of-mind for CYCRTM. The organizers implemented new requirements based upon recommendations from the Chicago Yacht Club's Safety Enhancement Committee and an overall review of offshore racing safety regulations.

Now, 50 percent of crew are required to hold a valid certificate in an Offshore Safety at Sea course. All minors are required to have a valid certificate, as well the Person in Charge for each boat. This has been a recommendation for the Race in years' past but has moved to a requirement for the 2019 Race. In addition, 75 percent of all crew must have participated in a Crew Overboard drill.

Race Chair Sarah Renz appreciates how the sailors have rallied around the increased safety protocols. "Ensuring that our sailors have the skills and knowledge to take care of themselves and help their fellow competitors has always been a focus of the Mac Committee," she said. "We have had tremendous response from the sailors and teams in support of safety, and it's shown in the high attendance levels at our safety seminars and clinics to educate boaters on proper life jacket maintenance and hands-on training."

Related Articles

J/88 selected for USA World Team Worlds Qualifier
Mixed offshore race from Chicago to Mackinac is an Olympic 2024 qualifier The Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac® presented by Wintrust (CYCRTM) is excited to announce the event has been selected by US Sailing as the Double-Handed Worlds Qualifier in preparation for the 2024 Olympics. Posted on 8 Feb
2019 Sir Thomas Lipton Challenge Cup day 2
Chicago Yacht Club stands in first after two days of racing 'Stay out of the pack... and preferably in the front' was the goal of today's current first place skipper Will Holz of Chicago Yacht Club. On day two of the Sir Thomas Lipton Challenge Cup, Holz and his crew were able to do just that Posted on 27 Oct 2019
How do you boost participation in the sport?
Mix it up! Like the Chicago Regatta did Chicago Yacht Club has been searching for the sweet spot. This year's Chicago Regatta is proof of concept. CYC flipped the switch on the traditional format and is At The Front of a new line of thinking. Posted on 21 Sep 2019
2019 J/111 Worlds at Chicago overall
Rob Ruhlman's Spaceman Spiff earns the title Rob Ruhlman's Spaceman Spiff took control of their own destiny on Friday, nailing both race wins to earn the title of 2019 J/111 World Champion. Posted on 24 Aug 2019
2019 J/111 Worlds at Chicago day 2
Martin Roesch's Velocity speeds up the leaderboard The seas on Lake Michigan were rocking and rolling on Thursday, as was the leaderboard at the J/111 World Championship, hosted by Chicago Yacht Club. Martin Roesch's Velocity shot up to the chief position, posting a 1,4,6 on the day. Posted on 23 Aug 2019
2019 J/111 Worlds at Chicago day 1
Worth the wait following storms that rolled through Following storms that rolled through Chicago on Tuesday, 23 J/111s had to wait a bit longer still on Wednesday to launch the 2019 J/111 World Championship, hosted by Chicago Yacht Club. Posted on 22 Aug 2019
U.S. Para Sailing Championship
Doerr, Fiske, Koblenzer win Independence Cup The 2019 Independence Cup and U.S. Para Sailing Championship, hosted by the Judd Goldman Sailing Center and organized by the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation came to a close Sunday afternoon. Posted on 29 Jul 2019
Independence Cup, US Para Sailing Champ in Chicago
These two regattas have a historic connection and will join forces this week A talented and dedicated group of passionate athletes have convened in the Windy City this week for the 2019 Independence Cup and U.S. Para Sailing Championship, hosted by the Judd Goldman Sailing Center. Posted on 24 Jul 2019
J/Crews dominate Chicago to Mackinac Race
The 111th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac will go down as one of the slowest on record The wind conditions favored the lighter side of the spectrum, with teams that played the delicate balance of hugging the Wisconsin shoreline and then venturing into the middle of Lake Michigan finding huge dividends in the upper half/ third of the race. Posted on 21 Jul 2019
2019 CYC Race to Mackinac: A tricky, tactical race
This edition challenged teams from start to finish A successful 111th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac (CYCRTM) presented by Wintrust is in the books as the final competitors made their way to the finish line early Tuesday morning. Posted on 17 Jul 2019
Marine Resources 2019 - FooterNorth Sails 2019 - NSVictoryList - FooterETNZShop-TEAMSHOP-728x90 HR Bottom