The 2004 Chicago Mac race will take it’s place on the short list of slowest Mac’s ever. First to finish Genuine Risk sailed the course in 32 + hours, 7 hours slower than the record they hoped to break. Despite the light conditions the new 90 footer averaged 10.11 knots!
On handicap Genuine Risk was edged by the recently launched Esmeralda which scored another win for the Farr design team. Windquest, formerly known as Zephurus V, completed a top 3 overall in the Mackinac Cup division. These three boats showcased the latest in sailing technology.
For the great portion of the rest of the fleet, 10 knots was something not seen in boat speed, and rarely in wind speed. Our pre race weather outlook said: A high pressure of 1028 MB will appear over the lake on Saturday and then “stall”. Stall was a fully descriptive word. The high stalled and much of the fleet along with it.
90 was a number seen again as in 90 boats Did Not Finish the race. While boats have gotten faster, people’s patience has shortened accordingly.
It’s interesting that both Mac races were considered slow this year. The Port Huron race had 4 DNF’s on the longer Southampton course and 12 on the Shore Course, 16 total.
For whatever reason the Chicago fleet was much more prone to not finishing. I’m sure Lake Huron sailors will trumpet these numbers.
They’ll have more happy news in that 5 of the 7 boats that won flags in both races were from Lake Huron.
After days of light air sailing, and nights with even less wind, the 2004 Mac eventually came to an end. While boats still competed the traditional awards ceremony went on as scheduled and some sailors to their chagrin missed the free rum party.
Boats continued finishing with regularity into Wednesday morning. The final boat to cross the line was Misty at 0306 Wednesday. Misty is a classic Concordia Yawl. These were built between 1938 and 1966, with 103 the number produced. Misty’s slow trip did not go unrewarded, she was 6th in section and 38th out of 101 overall. With the bleeding edge Genuine Risk 1st over the line, Misty served as a classy wooden book end to the race.
The trying conditions called for Perseverance (winner in the J120 class), maybe some good Karma (1st in the Beneteau 36.7′s). The Top Dog prevailed-at least in the Tartan 10′s- although Rover was on his heels, again in the Tartan 10′s. Providence (1st section) may seem to have favored some, although there were no Twister’s (winner section 1) sighted.
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