Preview: 2017 Bayview Mackinac Race

Published on July 21st, 2017

Detroit, MI (July 21, 2017) – More than 200 boats and 2000 sailors will start the 93rd Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race on Saturday, sailing around the clock from Port Huron, Mich. to Mackinac. At close of registration this afternoon, 125 boats, including 7 multihulls, are signed up for the longest course offered (the 259 nm Cove Island Course), while 82 teams are signed up for the shortest (the 204 nm Shore Course).

“We had some teams drop out that had competed in the Chicago Yacht Club’s Mackinac race,” said Race Chair Tricia Smotherman, noting that severe weather in that race, which rotates with Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race each year as to who goes first on the schedule, forced nearly 100 boats to retire, “but, like always, we have a healthy fleet and the competitors can’t wait to go racing.”

Along with being revered for its challenges on the water, the Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race has become one of the most festive sailing events in the country, punctuated by a party for thousands at Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel on Tuesday after the finish. Tonight is “Boat Night,” when entries line up their boats along both banks of the Black River for some last-minute frolicking with friends and fans during the coinciding Blue Water Fest in Port Huron. Tomorrow morning, the fleet will motor to the starting line in a parade that passes under the Bluewater Bridge and past more fans who set up lawn chairs on the shore and cheer on their favorites.

After between 40 and 70 hours of racing, the fleets finish between the southeast corner of Round Island Lighthouse and a staff with an orange shape and light on shore. It takes 165 volunteers to run the race, which benefits Set Sail for Autism and Alliance for the Great Lakes.


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In 2017, the Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race has 211 teams for the event’s 93rd edition starting July 22. There are 128 entrants for the 259 nautical-mile Cove Island course, while 83 teams are signed up for the shorter 204 nm Shore course. Both courses finish at Mackinac Island.

bayview mac course

Overview and close-up of the Cove Island and Shore Course for the Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race.

Source: Event Media

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