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2019 CYC Race to Mackinac: A tricky, tactical race

by Laura Muma 16 Jul 21:30 PDT 12-13 July 2019
Coming into the finish at the 2019 Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac presented by Wintrust. © Matt Knighton

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. Of the 266 boats that began either Friday (Cruising) or Saturday (Racing) in Chicago, a resounding 265 finished and marked one of the highest completion rates in recent years.

While the wind conditions favored the lighter side of the spectrum, it delivered a tricky, tactical race that tested crews for this year's America's Offshore Challenge. Those teams that played the delicate balance of hugging the Wisconsin shoreline and then venturing into the middle of Lake Michigan found it paid huge dividends. The move required nerves of steel, in particular for the veteran teams that are used to jumping over to the Michigan shoreline early in the Race.

This is Doug DeVos's 39th CYCRTM, and it's one of only four or five times he spent significant time in the middle of the lake and sailed on the west side of the Manitou Islands. He and the Windquest TP52 team earned the Royono Trophy this year as the first monohull to finish CYCRTM.

"This definitely was a race when finding the right spot was very good and finding the wrong spot was very bad, so it was a very tricky race in that regard," he said.

Metro Detroit's Jim Weyland, owner of the One Design 35T Chico 2, had a fantastic adventure for his fifth CYCRTM. "Our crew spent a lot of time looking at the forecast and predictions, and all signs pointed toward going up the Wisconsin shoreline," he said. "We knew it was a risk but felt at least 50 percent certain."

The team's risk-reward strategy paid off. Chico 2, not only won Section 4, it also won the large boat Racing Division for the Chicago Mackinac Trophy.

In the Mackinac Cup Trophy, Rob Evans, the 29-year-old owner and skipper of the J/109 Goat Rodeo, sails with members of Clemson University's Sailing Team. They have won the J/109 section the past two years, and not only finished first in 2019 but finished on top of the "small boat" Division on corrected time.

Earth Voyager, a Formula 60 trimaran co-skippered by Ryan and Todd Howe from Rochester Yacht Club, NY, won the Martin D. Rieck Trophy as first multihull to finish. They were also the first racing boat overall to cross the line early Sunday morning.

Caliente, a Kris White 44 owned by Michael Steck from Winfield, III., earned the Manitou Passage Trophy.

In the Cruising Division, Peter Thornton's classic 104' ketch Whitehawk, came steaming in Sunday afternoon as the first cruising boat to finish for the Ile Aux Galets Cup.

First overall in the Cruising Division, Ryan Johnson and his Perico team in Cruising 2 won the Vanena Cup on corrected time.

New for 2019 is the Point Betsie Trophy for the team challenge. Three boats, one from each Division, join forces and the lowest cumulative team score wins. The 2019 inaugural winning team is "Red, White and Blue," comprised up of Chicago Yacht Club member boats Eagle (Chicago Mackinac Trophy), Intangible (Cruising), and Providence (Mackinac Cup).

"It's been an honor to serve as Chairman of the Chicago Mac for the past two years," said Sarah Renz, chair of Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac. "As sailors, we've been challenged with a broad spectrum of conditions to test our talents. As a part of the organizational team, I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to make our race 'America's Offshore Challenge'."

Full results available here.

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