Saturday, July 20, 2019

Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race Preview

Mackinac Island finish
(Port Huron, MI)- Even though it is 95 years old, the Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race is showing no signs of slowing down. The longest consecutively run freshwater race in the country starts July 20 with 202 boats on the starting line. The fleet, representing nine states in the U.S. and two provinces in Canada, has been divided into 20 classes in three divisions on two courses.

The race starts on lower Lake Huron and finishes at Mackinac Island to the north. “We’ve come a long way since the first race in 1925 when 12 boats entered,” said Event Chair Robert Nutter, adding that even through the Great Depression and World War II, the race carried on. “It’s now a can’t-miss event on the Great Lakes sailing schedule, and it has been enjoyed by generation after generation of sailors.”

The weather forecast for Saturday looks a bit questionable, showers and thunderstorms are forecast, temps in the upper 90s, and west to southwest winds in the 5 to 15 kts range (e.g. a roasty toasty humid start!). A least the fleet will be able to start their northerly tracks and escape the heat near Detroit. After the slow-moving cold front moves off to the east, another one rolls in on Sunday late morning to early evening, with winds backing into the northwest in the 6 to 12 kts range.

Cove Island Course
The longer Cove Island course takes the “big boats” due NNE to an island in Canadian waters in the northeast corner of the lake. From there, the fleet heads nearly due west to the finish at Mackinac Island, using the same iconic Old Round Island Point Lighthouse as the southern marker for the line.

Class D includes several hot J/Teams, such as Robert Christoph’s J/121 LOKI, Robert Klairmont’s J/133 SIROCCO 3, and four J/111’s (Don Hudak’s CAPERS, James Cooper’s FREEDOM, Jeff Schaeffer’s SHMOKIN JOE, and Tim Clayson’s UNPLUGGED).

Class E is comprised of ten J/120s. Those teams include Charlie Hess’ FUNTECH RACING, Mike & Bob Kirkman’s HOT TICKET, Marv Ihnen & Ken Tanner’s IHNSANITY TOO, Dave Sandlin, Kenneth Brown & Mark Pikula’s J-HAWKER, Stephen Polk’s KAIROS, Arne Fliflet’s MAZAL TOV, Henry Mistel’s NIGHT MOVES, John Harvey & Rick Titsworth’s SLEEPING TIGER, Curtis Kime’s VICTRIX, and Tim Yanda’s VIVA LA VIDA.

Class H is virtually all J/35s, ten of them are making the trip north across Lake Erie! No question the “gold standard” for the class will be Bill Wildner’s infamous MR BILL’S WILD RIDE. Hoping to give them a “run-for-the-money” will be teams like Tim & Amie Ross’ BLACKHAWK (Team Detroit Lions), Cheryl Miller’s DEAN’S LIST, Ed & John Bayer’s FALCON, and Bill White & Bill Mosher’s STEELIN GOLD.

Class I is comprised of J/105s, J/109s, and a J/112E. The J/105’s include Mark Symonds’ PTERODACTYL and Cynthia Best’s PHANTOM. The J/109’s include Jim Murray’s CALLISTO, Robert Evan’s Chicago-Mac Cup winner GOAT RODEO, and Chris Mallet’s SYNCHRONICITY. The lone J/112E is Tim & Cathy McGuire’s ELEVATION.

Class K- Cruising includes Gary Warner’s J/35 DYNOMYTE and Gary Gonzalez’s J/42 DOS MAS.

Class L- Doublehanded has Brad & Ian Faber’s UTAH racing against two other good fast boats- a Farr 30 and Olson 40.
Shore Course
The Shore Course for smaller boats goes straight NNW direct to Mackinac Island, so the Michigan shoreline becomes a factor in decision-making regarding how the hot shore, cool lake dynamic affects the winds.

Sailing in Class N is the famous J/34 IOR KNEE DEEP sailed by Brett & Katie Langolf from Sandusky, OH and Adam Lawing’s J/29 KOLOA.  Follow the Bayview Mackinac Race on Facebook here  For more Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.