Saturday, July 21, 2018

Chicago-Mackinac Race Preview

J/145 sailing Mackinac Race(Chicago, IL)- The Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac is the most popular and loved annual fresh water race in the world. "The Mac" starts at the Chicago Lighthouse, just off Navy Pier and ends after a 289nm dash to Mackinac Island. 306 boats will start off the Chicago city-front on Saturday afternoon, July 28th. The race has become a bucket-list event for America’s Cup winners, Transpac and Volvo Ocean sailors. More than 2,500 people attend the race annually and participants traveled to Chicago from over 500 different cities, 35-plus states and a dozen countries.  The 2018 edition will be well attended by J/sailors in a dozen-plus classes, including one-design divisions for J/111s, J/120s, J/109s, and J/105s.

Known as “America’s Offshore Challenge™,” the Chicago-Mac Race is shaping up to be a “gear-buster” for its 110th year. With potentially strong northerly conditions forecast of 20 to 30 kts, race organizers are emphasizing preparation and safety for the competitors.

J/122 sailing Chicago Mackinac Race“If current weather/ wind models hold, strong northerly winds will be smack in the middle of our race course as a result of a stationary low-pressure system over Michigan,” said Sarah Renz, CYCRTM chair. “Sailors should prepare for some wet and wild upwind conditions for the first part of the race. Lake Michigan can deliver big seas and some of the most challenging conditions. It will be a tough race, but we hope everyone races hard, stays safe, has fun and we will see you up at the Island.”

Eighteen J/111s will not only be expecting to have strong one-design class racing, but a shot at occupying over 50% of the top 20 overall as they have done in the past, including an overall Chicago-Mac winner- David Irish’s NO SURPRISE.  Other top boats will include KASHMIR, MISTY, LUCKY DUBIE, ROWDY (winner of Class E in the Bayview Mackinac Race), SKULL CRACKER, UTAH and WIND CZAR.

The nine-boat J/120 class will have a few survivors from the longest Bayview Mackinac Race ever recorded.  Most boats doing a quick turn-around at Mackinac Harbor to do a super fast delivery 290nm down Lake Michigan in time for the Chicago-Mac Race this coming weekend! Those top crews include HOT TICKET (2nd Bayview Mac), J-HAWKER (3rd Bayview Mac), VICTRIX (4th Bayview Mac), and NIGHT MOVES (5th Bayview Mac).

The J/109s have thirteen boats ready to do battle on the starting line Saturday afternoon.  Top teams included VANDA, TIME OUT, SLAPSHOT, CALLISTO, GOAT RODEO and NORTHSTAR.

J/133 sailing Chicago Mackinac RaceThe fifteen-boat J/105 class will have PTERODACTYL, SEALARK, THE ASYLUM, the Petkus’ VYTIS and FLYING PIG.

Mackinac Cup Division
Section 2 will have the famous bright-red J/145 MAIN STREET sailed by Bill Schanen’s family from Port Washington, WI.

Section 3 has fourteen boats racing, of which five are J/crews, including three J/130s (SALSA, WILLIE J, EDGE) and two J/133s (RENEGADE and SIROCCO 3).

Section 4 has sixteen boats heading to the starting line with one J/44 (CHEEP N DEEP II- Randy Kuhn & Jim Richter from Lake Forest, IL) and four J/122s (BLITZKRIEG- Matt Schaedler from Toledo, OH that was this year’s overall Bayview Mackinac Race winner; EVVAI- Matt Songer from Marquette, MI; GOTTA WANTA- Robert Mampe from Traverse City, MI;  & HOLLIGAN II- Bruce Pierce from Toronto, Ontario).

Section 5 has fourteen boats and one lone J/crew sailing the J/112E MARY GAIL- Ben Lumpkin from Evanston, IL.

Chicago Mackinac Trophy Division
Section 7 has thirteen boats registered with two custom-outfitted J/109s doing battle (Bruce Danly and Jimmie Mitchell’s TOA and FANDANGO).

Section 8 thirteen boats, with three J/88s and six J/35s vying for class honors.  The J/88s include EXILE, RAMBLER & WINDSONG.  The J/35s are having a bit of a renaissance with ALPHA PUPPY, BAD DOG, BOZO’s CIRCUS, OB LA DI, THE FLYING SPHAGETTI MONSTER, and TOUCH OF GREY (the winningest J/35 in the world, other than MR BILL’S WILD RIDE).

Section 9 has fourteen boats, with just the J/100 BARRACUDA hoping to get a podium finish.  For more Chicago-Mackinac Race sailing information