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2003 Chicago Mac Notes

During the course of the Chicago Mac I noted and observed a number of things. So, you get to participate in the emptying of my reporter’s note book.

Note #1 Squall Jacket a year late?

A press release announcing race winners noted, “Skippers and crew of winning boats in each division are awarded Lands’ End squall jackets.”

After last year’s Chicago Mac I wrote a Short Tack on ‘The Squall’. This squall made quite an impact up and down the course. The bigger boats near the finish line had quite a run, including dismastings. Down the course the catamaran Caliente capsized. Yup looks like Lands End joined in a year late.

The 2002 Squall

Squall Jacket,,1_2_1931_66_69397_47844_5:view=59,00.html?sid=8561066148503160000

Note # 2

For those not etymologically inclined Alchemy means to turn base metals into gold, or take the common and transform it to special. Sailing wise gold or a special achievement can be seen as records.

While Alchemy definitely has record setting potential weatherwise the 77 footer has been working with chicken Sh*t winds in trying to make Lake Michigan records.

For the Queens Cup, Alchemy’s first Lake Michigan race, Muskegon had an average wind of only 5.6 knots. When the fleet raced the Tripp Cup across to Milwaukee the average wind was 14.8 knots.

For the Chicago Mac, Alchemy had days when the winds averaged 6.0 and 4.8 knots at Muskegon. The day prior to the race the average wind was 13.2 knots!

Muskegon June Weather
South Lake Michigan Buoy

Note # 3

Paging through a book of Mackinac history I came upon an account of the 1969 race. It was termed a “battle of light canvas.” 2003 was also a light air race, although what’s used as canvas differed.

First to finish that year was Norsaga a 12 meter. Norsaga didn’t finish until Tuesday morning in a time of 60 hours 29 minutes.

This year in similar conditions Alchemy needed over 24 hours less to finish the course!

Of course, 2002 was a heavier air year. This was also the case in 1968. That year Norsaga sailed the course in 37 hours 40 minutes as 157 of 185 starters finished.

12 Meter Trivia

Note # 4

Is there an old/ heavy boat bias? Winner of the Mackinac Cup division was Bantu a 40 year old design. Winner of the big boat division was an Alden 51 designed along traditional lines. 2nd was Bacchant a design dating back prior to World War II. The Queens Cup was won by a Tartan 4600, the Hook Race by a Tartan 4100. These races had Americap (Chi Mac) and the others raced under PHRF.

It makes one wonder if there isn’t some type of a bias. There’s been tremendous progress in making sailboats lighter and faster. Look at the 52 foot Rosebud which beat the Great Lakes 70′s across the line. The GL 70′s date to the 80′s while Rosebud is just 2 years old.

One interpretation of the situation is this…..designers and sailors make progress while handicap systems don’t. A case can be made that this lessens the incentive to invest in designs that are newer and faster.

40 years of 40′s
Americap Explained

Note # 5

Many a Mackinac sage has said, “if you see the sables then you’ve lost the race”. Using the tracking data at we can give this old saw a brief test. In the J 105′s New World saw the Sables while Space Cowboy didn’t. New World came home 3 hours ahead. In Section 3 Bacchant bypassed sightseeing the Sables while St. Francis got a good look. Bacchant ended up with a 3 hour edge on Mackinac Island sites. Going back to 2001, “it seemed as though the boats inshore scooted and the boats offshore parked.” Me thinks that unlike Pegasus in the Transpac “that got every shift” Lake Michigan was not as consistent and so results of strategies weren’t as consistent as one thinks.

Big Sable Light
Little Sable Light

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 16th, 2003 at 10:52 am and is filed under Chicago Mackinac. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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