Mackinac Race: Getting Ready for the Big One

Published on July 10th, 2014

Detroit, Michigan (July 10, 2014) – No sailing organization has been busier this week than Bayview Yacht Club in Detroit as it prepares to send off a massive fleet of 227 boats in the 2014 Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race. With the first of 14 successive starts scheduled for Saturday at 11:30 a.m., an estimated 100,000 sailing fans and families are flocking to Port Huron, Mich. to attend festive pre-race activities while more than 2500 sailors have already claimed their team’s dock space (or raft-up position) on the Black River and are preparing – each in their own way – to stick it out to the very end of one of two courses that will deposit them onto the tiny, charming and overwhelmingly welcoming Mackinac Island.

“It’s a huge undertaking, but the race is a tradition that is so enjoyed by both the competitors and the lake communities that everyone just has a blast,” said Bayview Yacht Club member and Race Chairman Art LeVasseur, adding that the “Bayview Mackinac Race is first in the rotation this year with the Chicago-to-Mackinac Race (which begins on July 19). “Typically, we have fewer entries when we are in that position, but more and more, sailors are appreciating and understanding what is going on here. This is our largest fleet since 2005, and we have 25 first-time entrants, which is a good sign in our book.”

LeVasseur explained that the two courses – the “Acura Shore Course,” covering 204 nautical miles (235 statute miles), and the longer “Quantum Sails Cove Island Course,” covering 259 nautical miles (298 statute miles) – give sailors a choice of sailing up the Michigan shoreline or opting for a longer offshore adventure. This year, three Shore Course divisions (Racing, Cruising, Double-Handed) and two Cove Island Course divisions (Racing, Multihull) are further divided into 13 and four classes, respectively. Approximately 82% of the fleet is sailing the Shore Course, and all competitors are sailing under the Performance Handicap Racing Fleet system (PHRF).

The largest boat in the fleet is Doug and Dick DeVos’s 86’ MaxZ86 Windquest, sailing in Division I/Cove Island Course. The smallest, at 27 feet, are Pete Fitzpatrick’s Morgan 27 Defiant in Division II/Shore Course and Mark Cadotte’s F-25c Trimaran Accipiter in Division V/Cove Island Course Mutihull. Defending division champions are Bill Alcott, who has switched from Shore Course last year to Division I/Cove Island Course this year and will be sailing the Farr 65 Equation; Warwick Smith’s Beneteau 42 Mostly Harmless in Division III/Shore Course Cruising; Lyndon Lattie, Jr.’s J/29 Patriot in Division IV/Shore Course Double-Handed; and Rick Warner’s F-31 Cheeky in Division V/Cove Island Course Multihull. There are four one-design classes sailing (J/120, Beneteau First 36.7, C&C 35, and J/35).

The team traveling the farthest – more than 6,000 miles – is that of Peruvian German Fuchs, sailing the J/111 Challwa in Division II/Shore Course Racing, and the youngest team will be “The Green Horn Kids” aboard Christina with a Sea II, a Beneteau Oceanis 49 sailing in Division III/Shore Course Cruising. Six elementary school boys, all either Cub or Boy Scouts between the ages of 8 and 12, will sail under the supervision of five of their fathers. The idea was the brainchild of Tom Caulfield (father of crew member Tommy Jr.), who wanted to find a way to detach kids from their video games and iPads and experience life.

“They have all worked very hard over the last nine months, preparing and training for their monumental race,” said Caulfield, “and they are ready! Community support allowed us to outfit them with the proper gear and to provide endless amounts of encouragement. More important, I was able to demonstrate first hand that a dream can become a reality. And this, in my opinion, has been the biggest inspiration to the boys.”

To make the race even more special is the fact that the crew will be representing the Detroit Tigers in the Fifth Annual Pro-Team Challenge, an adjunct competition that Bayview Yacht Club coordinates with the Detroit’s four professional sports franchises.

The fleet is expected to begin finishing on Monday, July 14, with the award ceremony planned for noon on Tuesday, July 15 at Woodfill Park on Mackinac Island.

Joining Bell’s Beer in sponsoring the 2014 Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race are key partners Metro Detroit Acura Dealers, Soaring Eagle Properties, Grand Hotel and Quantum Sail Design Group. Other sponsors are Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Frankenmuth Insurance, Barefoot Wine, Shellback Rum, Legal Copy Services and Michigan Web Press.

Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Quicklinks:
Roster with hometowns (sortable by hometown)
Event website
Facebook Page
Follow via Twitter
Online Race Tracking

More About Bayview Yacht Club
Bayview Yacht Club, founded in 1915, is widely regarded as the premier sailing club in Michigan and the Midwest. It has been hosting the Bayview Mackinac Race since 1925. The private club is located on the Detroit River near the mouth of Lake St. Clair and has more than 1,000 members. For more information:

Source: Media Pro Int’l – Barby MacGowan,, 401-849-0220

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