Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Stormy Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race

J/121 wins Bayview Mackinac Race
(Port Huron, MI)- While last year was a drifter, this year was anything but for the 202 boats competing in the 2019 Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race. The 95th running of the longest consecutively held freshwater race in the country started Saturday, July 20 at noon on lower Lake Huron and served up a “little bit of everything” on its way to the finish line at Mackinac Island.

“It included reaching, running, a lot of beating, and a pretty nasty storm thrown in on Saturday evening,” said Bill Martin (Ann Arbor, Mich.), the skipper of a Santa Cruz 70. According to Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race Chairman Robert Nutter, the storm dumped torrential rain for three hours straight and harbored gusts in excess of 30-40 knots. Nutter commented, “there were some breakdowns, but most everyone persevered. and enjoyed a great race with average wind speeds of 15-20 knots.”

Cove Island Course
On the Cove Island Course of 259.0nm, the first leg northeast to the Cove Island buoy along the Canadian shoreline was a reach for the entire fleet. Then, a storm rolled through with winds in the 20-30 kts range from the west-northwest, with the fleet finding themselves beating for over 75.0nm. Then, as the storm passed, it veered as predicted into the northerly quadrants and got lighter, permitting most of the fleet to be lifted on starboard tack and some of the faster mid-fleet boats basically had a long fetch on starboard tack into the Mackinac Island finish line.

Out for redemption in Class D was Robert Christoph’s J/121 LOKI. As they did in the Chicago-Mackinac Race, LOKI set a fast, hard pace in the first part of the race to the Cove Island buoy, comfortably leading the class boat-for-boat and punishing the Chicago to Mac Race winner- the 1D35 Turbo called Chico 2. Thereafter, as the front rolled through, the J/121 LOKI reveled in the windy conditions, played the shifts for the favored tack to the Mackinac Island finish line, and continued to sail away from the class. Finishing at 4:34 AM Monday, they covered the track in 39:44:35 to win their class comfortably by nearly 2 hours corrected time! As a result, a very happy J/121 LOKI crew was now on the podium for the second time in just one week! Rounding out the top five were Jeff Schaeffer’s J/111 SHMOKIN JOE in 3rd, Don Hudak’s J/111 CAPERS in 4th, and Robert Klairmont’s J/133 SIROCCO 3 in 5th.

Class E was comprised solely of ten J/120s. Taking class honors was Henry Mistel’s NIGHT MOVES, joining them on the podium was Charlie Hess’ FUNTECH RACING in 2nd and Kenneth Brown & Mark Pikula’s J-HAWKER in 3rd (these two were only separated by 30 secs at the finish!). The balance of the top five included John Harvey & Rick Titsworth’s SLEEPING TIGER in 4th and Curtis Kime’s VICTRIX in 5th position.

Guess who won Class H that was made up of mostly J/35s? Yes, you guessed right! Bill Wildner’s infamous MR BILL’S WILD RIDE. Second was Dennis Meagher’s SNIPE and third was Bill Vogan’s MAJOR DETAIL. Fourth was Phil Velez’s AMANTE and fifth Cheryl Miller’s DEAN’S LIST.

Winning the all J/Boats Class I was yet another familiar name at the top of the podium, none other than the Chicago Mackinac Race winning J/109 GOAT RODEO sailed by Robert Evans! And, yet another champion team took the silver, Mark Symond’s J/105 PTERODACTYL- winners of the J/105 class in the Chicago Mackinac Race. In fact, both boats earned the honor of being the winning J/109 and J/105 for the second respective Mac Race, a feat that has been repeated in previous Mac Races for these two teams. Third was Chris Mallet’s J/109 SYNCHRONICITY, fourth was Jim Murray’s J/109 CALLISTO, and fifth went to Mark DenUyl’s J/105 GOOD LOOKIN.

Gary Gonzalez’s J/42 DOS MAS took the silver in Class K Cruising Sails. Then, Brad & Ian Faber’s J/111 UTAH took the silver in the DoubleHanded Class L division.

Third in Division N in the Shore Island Course was Brett Langolf's happy crew on the J/34 IOR KNEE DEEP!
J/34 IOR Knee Deep in Bayview Mac race
A total of 20 classes sailed in three divisions at the 2019 Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race, which prides itself on being one of the most spirited events on the Great Lakes. On Friday night (July 19), participants lined the Black River with their boats to participate in Boat Night. They paraded to the start on Saturday morning to the cheers of spectators lining the shore. After finishing on Sunday and Monday, skippers and crews found their way to the Pink Pony (an iconic bar on Mackinac Island) to get a delicious Bell’s Beer once they cleaned up, and Tuesday afternoon they attended a giant awards party and concert on the grounds of Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel.  Follow the Bayview Mackinac Race on Facebook here  For more Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.