(Port Huron, MI)- The annual traditions for two of the largest cities on the Great Lakes is about to commence over the next two weekends- the “Mac Races” that start from Detroit/Port Huron and from Chicago. This year, the Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race starts first, as is the case in even-numbered years (odd-years’, Chicago starts first). There are 220 boats registered and they have to choose one of two courses: the Cove Island Course of 259nm and the Shore Course of 204nm.
For the first time in its seven-year history, the Pro-Team Challenge at the Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race, known unofficially as the “race within the race”, will be recognized officially as a class. The announcement was made at a media event in June where celebrity representatives from the Detroit Lions, Detroit Pistons, Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers participated in a blind draw to choose four Michigan boats to represent them in the famed race to Mackinac Island that is hosted by Bayview Yacht Club and begins its 92nd edition on Saturday, July 16.
The Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association, working with Bayview Yacht Club and Detroit’s four professional sports teams, started the race in 2010. Since then, the competition has become a favorite among sailing crews. The chosen owners and crews each plan a visit to their respective team and are outfitted in team gear and given flags to fly during the race.
“Six years ago, when we were brainstorming this concept, we never could have thought it would become so popular with the sailors and Detroit’s pro sports teams,” said Bill Harrington, Officer, Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association. “I was a bit surprised at the competition between the teams and the pride they take in winning. Everyone has really embraced this competition.”
This year’s Pro-Team Challenge also will include representatives from Set Sail for Autism as honorary team members, giving them the opportunity to participate in all activities associated with the program, including the pro-team visit. Set Sail for Autism, a program to help young adults with autism reach their full potential, benefits Oakland University’s Center for Autism and is a community partner of the Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race.
Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race Pro-Team Challenge contenders for 2016 include Ed Vermet & John Hughes’ J/120 NAUTI BOYS, representing Bayview Yacht Club/ Detroit Yacht Club/ Detroit Pistons on the Cove Island Course.
The Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association presented a plaque recognizing all the past winners of the Pro-Team Challenge and the pro team they represented. The team with the best overall finish in its respective division will be declared winner of the Pro-Team Challenge.
The largest fleet of J’s is sailing the longer “Cove Island Course”- from the start off Port Huron, the fleet heads NNE to Cove Island just off Canada in northern Lake Huron, then boats head practically due west to the Mackinac Island finish line. It can be a brutal course since the last 100nm or so can be a punishing beat into 15-25 kt westerlies (the prevailing breeze) with mountainous “chop” to pound through for over 24 hours. Class B has Chris Saxton’s J/145 VORTICES from Bayview YC. Class C is the J/120 One-Design class with eleven boats entered, including class cheerleader Frank Kern and his merry bandits aboard the long-distance traveling CARINTHIA, Fleet Captain Charlie Hess’ FUNTECH RACING, Mike & Bob Kirkman’s HOT TICKET, Dave Sandlin’s JAYHAWKER and Henry Mistele’s NIGHT MOVES.
Class D has J/111s, J/109s, J/105s and a J/88. Sailing this class is Tim Clayson’s J/111 UNPLUGGED, Port Sanilac Marina’s J/88 SARALYSIA, three J/109s- CHASE (Charles Schroeder), PHOENIX (Bill Hamilton), TOA (Jim Mitchell & Bruce Danly), and three J/105s- GOOD LOOKIN (Mark DenUyl), PTERODACTYL (Mary Symonds), WINDSHADOW (Jim Murphy).
Class E has one J/42 entered, Gary Gonzalez’s DOS MAS from Grosse Pointe YC. Class F Cruising sails has one J/35 registered, Gary Warner’s DYNOMYTE from Grand Traverse YC
Class G is essentially a Level 35 class that has eight J/35s and one J/33 in their midst along with two Thomas 35s. Most of the top J/35 teams in the Great Lakes are participating, including Ed & John Bayer’s FALCON, Bill Wildner’s MR BILL’S WILD RIDE, and Gregg Whipple’s WHIPLASH. The lone J/33 is Dick & Dan Synowiec’s SHENANIGANS.
Four J/teams are sailing the shorter “Shore Course” (a.k.a. the easy cruising course since it’s virtually always reaching). That fleet starts off Port Huron and basically goes straight north along the eastern Michigan shoreline until you can take a slight left and finish in the Straits off Mackinac Island. Included in the fleet are Brett Langolf’s J/34 IOR- KNEE DEEP, John Stromberg’s J/92 KOHATSU, Lyndon Lattie’s J/29 PATRIOT and Tom Day’s J/30 CONUNDRUM. For more Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race sailing information
This article was syndicated from J/News Articles