Last year was a record setting Mackinac, with a memorable wind and rain lashed finish and a capsize that continues to be a core part of Weather Channel programming. This year it was back to a more mundane yet still challenging race.
Pre race forecasts pretty much nixed any chance at setting records for a fast trip. These forecasts held up. The faster boats in the fleet sailed in light conditions with the wind astern. There were some better breezes for fleet tail enders as the wind did finally pick up.
Strategic questions such east or west shore breeze or not were much discussed. Many boats such as Crazy Horse and Panache in Section 2 favored the Michigan side. This was the tactic of most of the fleet.
The Transpac 52 Rosebud however headed first to the Wisconsin side and then crossed over with a filling breeze. This was reminiscent of the Farr 40 Voodo’s performance several years ago. Bacchant which placed 2nd overall stayed much more to the middle of the lake not heading towards Michigan until near Big Sable Pt. There were probably enough variations in tactics that more than one approach proved a winner.
Alchemy a 77 footer in its first Mackinac was first to finish. They crossed the line at 0245 on Monday. This was 12 hours behind Pyewacket’s 2002 record. Alchemy’s race was slowed by a wind hole near Charlevoix.
However, handicap honors generally went to smaller boats. The Chicago-Mackinac Trophy Division was won by Retriever an Alden 51. Despite it’s 50+ feet Retriever was in Section 5, among the lowest rated boats in its division.
The Mackinac Cup was won by Bantu the Block Island 41 which has had multiple Mackinac successes. Bantu sailed in Section 9 the Mackinac Cup’s final section.
Overall Multi Hull honors went to Cathexis. The light downwind conditions were difficult for catamarans. Nice Pair which corrected out 3rd, said they sailed an extra 120 miles above the rhumb line distance trying to sail decent down wind angles.
For some boats the Chicago race will be their only Mac. Others have left Mackinac Island and are down bound for Port Huron and the season’s second Mac race which is previewed below.
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