Gathering along Chicago's waterfront are some of the world's better sailors and certainly a remarkably strong contingent of J sailors from across the lakes. Three J/One-Design classes are represented- J/105s, J/109s and J/111s. Plus, there are J/Teams spread throughout the Double-handed and handicap classes, many who've proven time and again they're not only champions in their own classes and divisions, but quite a few who've won the Mackinac Island races overall!
Starting with the one-design classes, it will be interesting to see if the J/111 class can repeat their outstanding performance in the 2012 Mac Race, where most of the class swept the top spots overall. There are eleven J/111s including all the top contenders from last year. Amongst the top teams from Chicago, you have several winners of recent regattas, including Paul Stahlberg's MENTAL, IMPULSE (Dr George Miz, Peter Dreher, Mark Hatfield), KASHMIR (the Mayer, Henderson, Brummel team-- the 2012 class and overall winner), Tom McIntosh's MISTY, Tom Edman/ Steve Dabrowski's NIGHTHAWK, Len Siegal's LUCKY DUBIE, Bill Smith's WOOTON and Rick Witzel's ROWDY. From Milwaukee, Wisconsin is the team of HOBGOBLIN led by Rick Hobbs. From Michigan is 2011 double Mac Race winner NO SURPRISE sailed by Great Lakes racing legend Dave Irish. Finally, Henry Brauer's FLEETWING, recent winner at New York YC's Annual Regatta in the J/111 class will be participating as "virgin" Mac racers!
The J/105s have the largest J/One-Design fleet with sixteen boats participating. Some familiar names will be contenders, including the 2012 Bayview Mac top J/105, Mary Symond's PTERODACTYL from Grosse Point YC. Top local Chicago boats include Clark Pellett's team on SEALARK, Sandy Curtiss's ROCKING HORSE (a past Ben 40.7 Great Lakes Champion) and John Weglarz's inmates again running THE ASYLUM. Tough hombres all, perhaps a 289nm dogfight to the finish!
With multiple Mac class champions participating, the J/109 class has eleven strong teams sailing. Amongst the top boats will be MOMENTUS (Kevin Saedi and George & Robin Simkins), REALT NA MARA (Tom & Joe Londrigan), NORTHSTAR (David Gustman), K-III (Irv & Cary Kerbel), VANDA III (Jim & Jack Toliver) and DRIVEN 2 (Jim Milliken from Traverse City, MI).
While not one-design, but racing as a Level 35 class are six very fast J/35s, all with a few notches on their belts proclaiming primal supremacy in various one-design/ handicap events. Chief among them is Larry Schell's TOUCH OF GREY, with a cadre of others challenging them like SHEARWATER (Tom Anthony), HOQUA (Jack Andree), BOZOS CIRCUS (Bruce Metcalf), BAD DOG (Larry Taunt), ALPHA PUPPY (Rick Stage).
In the handicap classes will be a wide variety of J's participating, from J/92's to J/145's. In Double-handed division will be the J/105 OCH! (Brendan Docherty) and the J/29 TFWB RELENTLESS (George & Scott Petritz).
In Section 2, there will be two J/145s fighting it out with some Santa Cruz 52s and Farr 40s. Both J/145s, VORTICES (Chris Saxton) and MAIN STREET (Bill Schanen, publisher of SAILING MAGAZINE) are tough contenders, both having won their classes in the various Mac Races.
Section 3 sees two J/130s, two J/133s and J/124 all slugging it out with Farr 395s and Sydney 41s for class honors. The J/124 STILL MESSIN (Adam & Jerome Esselman), the J/133s RENEGADE (Tom and Beth Ann Papoutsis) &j SCIRROCO III (Bob Clairmont), and the J/130s WILLIE J (Doug Petter) & EDGE (Bob McManus) will amongst the class leaders.
In Section 4 are two J/120s and a J/122. The J/120s are Frank Giampoli sailing JAHAZI and Matthew Songer skippering PERSEVERANCE. The champion J/122 in their midst is Mitch Padnos & Tracy Brands's SUFFICIENT REASON; as SKYE she won the Mac Race Overall three-times and last year the Padnos family team won their division!
Section 6 has an assortment of J/Teams from 30 to 35 feet. Sailing will be the J/110 LADY K (Mike Stewart), the J/92 SPLIT DECISION (Bruce Santerre), the J/92 CYCLONE (John Madey), the J/33 RETRIEVER (Matt Beer), and the lone J/105 VYTIS sailed by Gytis and Tomas Petkus.
For you armchair sailors, the Chicago YC has again contracted with one of the world's leading offshore sailboat tracking companies- Yellowbrick Tracking. You can find that on the Chicago-Mac website. For more Chicago Mackinac Race sailing information