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Storms Plague Chicago Mackinac Race

Published on July 24th, 2016

Chicago, IL (July 24, 2016) – The 108th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac presented by Wintrust has been a wet and wild ride for both Racing and Cruising Divisions. Yesterday, only hours after the last Racing Division start, threats of severe thunderstorms popped up over Wisconsin calling for damaging winds up to 60 knots.

The first line of thunderstorms hit the Racing Division after 5:00 P.M. yesterday causing the fleet to go left of the rhumb line before scattering as the storm hit. A couple boats that dropped out due to conditions and equipment failures in the first line. Rick Warner’s ORMA60, Arete, and Peter Thornton’s Volvo70, Il Mostro, on the other hand pushed on next to each other on the Wisconsin shore.

The second set of storms approached around 1:00 A.M. carrying well past 3:00 A.M. While wet, they did not bring nearly the same winds as the previous front. Lynn Kotwicki aboard J/120 Hot Ticket explained that she couldn’t keep track of the number of sail changes while Jim Calto from J/111 Rowdy reported a double-reefed main and surfing down the waves with soaked foul weather gear from the inside out. Tartan 10 Cheap Thrill posted achieving 15.5 knots boat speed in the storm.

Race fans awoke to ludicrous speeds headed up the shore with Arete tracking at a peak of 23 knots and Phil and Sharon O’Neil’s Natalie J leading the Mackinac Cup Division. With Arete running outside the Manitous, most of the rest of the fleet went between losing a little ground to only to regain it at the time this update is posted.

Today, at approximately 2:50 P.M. CDT, it was reported to the United States Coast Guard that the One Design 48 WhoDo was sinking inside the Manitou Passage after their rudder broke off. The crew of WhoDo deployed a life raft and all ten crew boarded safely. Eric Oesterle’s Heartbreaker came in to assist and pulled the entire crew out of the life raft and onto their boat. Mark Bremer’s City Girl also came to assist. Heartbreaker transferred the crew onto the Leelanau County Sheriff Department’s vessel to be taken into Leeland, MI. No medical attention was requested for the crew of WhoDo.

The Cruising Division reaped the benefits of the storms as the wind filled in across the lake allowing them to go straight up the rhumb line. The fleet had been averaging 2 knots boat speed beforehand. Joseph Haas’ Infinite Diversion continues to lead boat-for-boat while Don Condit’s Roxy is in first for Cruising 1 and Tom Falck’s Intangible leads Cruising 2 just south of the Manitous.

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About the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac
At 333 miles (289.4 nautical miles), the Race to Mackinac is one of the world’s longest running freshwater distance races. ‘The Mac’ starts at the Chicago Lighthouse just east of Navy Pier and continues to Mackinac Island, MI.

Source: Chicago Yacht Club

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