Monday, August 1, 2016

2016 Chicago - Mackinac Race:

This year’s Mac was an epic race with several storms crossing the course bringing lots of fireworks, big winds, and rain. Despite the predictions of very light winds, the start saw all the boats quickly launch their spinnakers and the drag race on as the boats spread out across the lake. It was a beautiful sight to see several hundred boats headed north as the sun set that evening. The early leaders started out just to the left of the rhumb line while a number of boats followed the prerace forecast and stuck closer to the Illinois shoreline.  Late Saturday night the first of several storms stuck bringing 50+ knots winds as the initial wall cloud passed over. After abating the winds settled to 20-24 knots, but that was only a prelude to the storms that rolled across the lake Sunday. It made a huge difference if you were ahead or behind a thunderstorm. As by Chris Bedford predicted at the skippers meeting the rich got richer. That said, all the J105’s did a great job and thrived in the big winds. Sunday night the wind settled down giving the teams some much needed rest, before picking up to a steady 10-14 knots from the west to sweep the fleet across the finish line. There were a number of lead changes throughout the race.

Mark Gurney’s Buzz won the race and they had the scars to show for it. One of their crew was thrown out of his bunk splitting open his forehead. Fortunately, they had an oral surgeon on board who stitched him up and they never stopped racing. A new comer to the fleet, Dave Pierce’s Caught in Traffic finished 2nd. A fantastic accomplishment given the many challenges the weather presented this year. Carter Williams’ Creative Destruction finished 3rd with several junior sailors on board. For the full results see: Race to Mac

Congratulations to all the boats for surviving a challenging race with only minor damage. Looking at all the torn sails and wet gear spread out on the island, the J105’s did a great job. It was a sail-maker's dream. Can’t wait until next year!

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