Saturday, July 13, 2019

Chicago to Mackinac Race Preview

J/109 sailing Chicago Mackinac Race
(Chicago, IL)- The Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac is one of the longest annual fresh water races in the world. "The Mac" starts at the Chicago Lighthouse, just off Navy Pier and ends after a 289.4nm dash to Mackinac Island. More than 270 boats are preparing to race the 111th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac that starts July 12 for the Cruising Division and July 13 for the Racing Divisions.

The 2019 edition has a diverse fleet that will traverse the course north up Lake Michigan. Thirteen states and three countries are represented, and there are over sixty J/Teams competing in the fleet of 240 offshore keelboats (about 25% of the fleet).

In the ORR handicap world are a range of J’s from the J/88s up to a J/145. In Section 2, Bill & Jean Schanen’s bright red J/145 MAIN STREET will be dueling with a few large boats. Section 4 includes Jim Gignac’s J/130 SALSA, Thomas & Beth Ann Papoutsis’ J/133 RENEGADE, Robert Klairmont’s J/133 SIROCCO 3, and Robert Christoph’s brand new J/121 LOKI (its inaugural Mac Race). A real mix of classic and newer J’s are participating in Section 5; such as Randy Kuhn & James Richter’s J/44 CHEEP N DEEP, Matt Songer’s J/122 EVVAI, Tom &^ Carol McIntosh’s J/111 MISTY, and three J/120s- FUNTECH RACING (Charlie Hess), MAZAL TOV (Arne & Deborah Fliflet), JAHAZI (Frank Giampoli).

Then, in Section 6 the sole J/crew is Ben Lumpkin’s J/112E MARY GAIL.  The brand new (and sailing its inaugural Mac Race) J/99 HOKEY SMOKES will be sailed by the veteran Mac Race team of Rich & Lori Stearns’ in Section 7, along with Marty Luken’s J/109 FANDANGO and Mitch Weisman’s J/35 FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER. Rounding out the ORR fleet for J’s in Section 8 are two J/88s-
Dan & Dana Floberg’s MISTY and Andy & Sarah Graff’s EXILE.

There are three one-design divisions of J/111s, J/109s, and J/105s. Fourteen J/111s are sailing with a number of the top Midwest teams looking forward to their 40+ hour tactical/ strategical fight up the lake. Those teams include Len Siegal’s LUCKY DUBIE, Kevin Saedi & Raman Yousefi’s MOMENTUS, Colin & Mark Caliban’s NO QUARTER, Scott Sellers’ NO SURPRISE, Brad Faber’s UTAH, and Tom Dickson’s WARLOCK.
J/111s sailing off Chicago, IL
As one of the largest fleets this year with fourteen boats, many of the J/111s will also race in their World Championships later this summer, also hosted by the Chicago Yacht Club. ROWDY, owned by Richard Witzel, is one that will be doing both.

For two years running, ROWDY has finished second in its section, and according to Roland Rayment who has been on the boat with Witzel from the beginning, "We try hard and put a lot into it. The past couple years we’ve been nipping at the top finish, so hopefully, this is our year."  Rayment predicts the J/111 could very well win overall should the sweet spot of 15-20 knot Southwest/east conditions present themselves. "With the right conditions, the J/111s can’t be beat; no question they can win the Mac Race overall.”

J/35 sailing Chicago Mackinac RaceIn a similar manner, there are many rivalries that will be brewing in the thirteen boat J/105 class. The following four teams have all won major one-design J/105 events and, in the end, just minutes will separate these top boats; Mary Symonds’ PTERODACTYL, Clark Pellet’s SEALARK, Jon Weglarz’s THE ASYLUM, and Gyt Petkus’ VYTIS.

Not to be outdone, it may even be closer in the fourteen-boat J/109 class and the competition could not be any tougher. Watch for these class leaders to be a factor in the overall leaderboard; James Murray’s CALLISTO, Peter Priede’s FULL TILT, Robert Evans’ GOAT RODEO, David Gustman’s NORTHSTAR, Scott Sims’ SLAPSHOT II, George Miz’s SMEE AGAIN, Doug Evans’ TIME OUT, and Jack & Jim Tolliver’s VANDA III.

Meanwhile, in the Level 35s class, there will be a quartet of four J/35s participating, a boat that has proven to win the overall Chicago-Macs and Bayview-Macs in the past. Those teams include ALPHA PUPPY (Richard Stage), BAD DOG (Larry Taunt), NOMATA (Dan & Jill Leslie), and FIREFLY (Sheri Dufresne). For more Chicago to Mackinac Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.