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Strategy & Teamwork Make for Success in 101st Race to Mackinac

Thursday, July 23, 2009 (CHICAGO) – The light air sailing conditions of the 101st Race to Mackinac meant strategy and teamwork were keys to winning the Race, held July 17-22, 2009. The skippers of Zoom, Asylum, and Nice Pair share their winning strategies for this difficult race that took the 337 boats entered an average of 80 hours to complete.

‘This is a great feeling. We never expected or anticipated this,’ George Miz, winner of the Chicago-Mackinac Trophy Division, explained. ‘This is my 21st Mac and we’ve only won our section one other time, but we’re very pleased.’

The Zoom crew of Chicago, is owned by Miz, Peter Dreher, and Michael Newman and they won the fast-boat division with a corrected time of 55:09:53. Miz credits their success to good advice from a weather advisor to sail up the west side to take advantage of the shore breeze. ‘We agreed that was the plan, and we we’re not going to bail on the plan, which paid off in the end.’

For Jon Weglarz and crew on the Mackinac-Cup Division winner Asylum, it was all about the proper alignment of preparation, timing, and of course, homage to the wind gods. When asked about Asylum’s navigational strategy, Weglarz kept mum.

‘What can I say, I’m old school. We didn’t want a tracker so to not anger the winds gods.’ The crew of Asylum has over 100 collective Macs between them, although none of the crew have ever won a first in fleet. ‘We only drink water from Lake Michigan during the race. So I guess you could day were a bit superstitious,’ he added. ‘For us, it was the race of a lifetime.’ Asylum won with a corrected time of 54:35:39.

Among the multihulls, it was finally wedding bells for Bruce Geffen and crew on Nice Pair. ‘We’ve been bridesmaid to Matt Scharl on Gamera four times, it was pretty awesome to break his streak,’ Geffen remarked. ‘We are close competitors and friends, and he was the first to call me up with congratulations.’

Nice Pair benefited from the thermals off the Michigan beaches north of the Manitous, sailing so close at times they were in only 8 feet of water, pulling the boards up to not hit the sand. ‘This was critical for us as we were able to make-up about 30-40 miles before we hit Gray’s Reef.’ Geffen co-owners Gary Hall, Bart Hall and Brad Glance of Ann Arbor, Mich. won with a corrected time of 62:29:49, and they continued on sailing the SuperMac to Port Huron, where they placed 2nd.

Be it perseverance, strategy, or superstition, each skipper gave overall credit to his hardworking crew. ‘Even though my name makes the papers, it’s the people who sail with me who really make it happen,’ Geffen concluded. Similar sentiments echoed among each skipper, illustrating how sailing the Race to Mackinac is truly a team effort. The other overall division winners were Skye, owned by Bill Zeiler of Wilmette, Ill. in the Doublehanded Division, with a corrected time of 59:52:53, and in the Cruising Division, Intangible, owned by Tom Falck of Hinsdale, Ill. won with a corrected time of 56:15:21.

For all results, including section winners, go to

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This entry was posted on Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 at 7:22 pm and is filed under Chicago Mackinac, Main Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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