This Saturday, July 12th, 287 boats will start the 333-mile
Chicago to Mackinac race. This year the Chicago to Mac
precedes the Port Huron to Mackinac Race. Sailors generally
expect to spend two nights on the water with any number of
factors controlling the outcome. This will be the 96th
sailing of the 333-mile race.
New to the Mac this year is the use of the Americap II
handicap system. Americap II is a rating system combining
multiple elements. Included are boat measurement (similar
to IOR), wind velocity and direction (familiar from IMS) and
a combined time on time/time on distance scoring (both
methods used in PHRF).
In simple terms the course takes the boats from one end of
Lake Michigan to the other and often from one side to the
other. The course includes cityscapes, sand dunes,
islands, light houses, the Mackinac bridge, and plenty of
blue Lake Michigan water.
Last year Pyewacket set a new mono hull elapsed time record
of 23 hours 20 minutes. Included was an epic 9-hour, 50-minute
passage to the Manitou Islands an average of over 20 knots!
This year Alchemey, also from the west coast, is a potential
record breaker. Just launched this spring, Alchemey is a 77
footer designed by Alan Andrews. Alchemy has only been
raced twice, with one race being the Queens Cup across Lake
Michigan. Under PHRF Alchemy rates 16 seconds a mile
faster than Pyewacket. Over 333 miles that is a lot of time.
Current forecasts show the fleet starting in 10-15 knot west
winds, which will then shift to the SW from 10-20 knots.
These are excellent and fast conditions. Last year, writing
on Friday, I predicted a Pyewacket record. At this point
I’ll stick to Alchemy being a potential record breaker. For
one, the boat is much less refined than Pyewacket, for
another short term weather forecasts are more accurate.
Check back Friday for Chicago Mackinac weather outlook on
our Chicago Mackinac Site.
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