A bit of everything for Bayview Mackinac

Published on July 23rd, 2019

Mackinac Island, Michigan (July 23, 2019) – While last year was a drifter, this year was anything but for the 202 boats competing in the 2019 annual Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race. The 95th running of this freshwater classic 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 the Santa Cruz 70 Stripes, which won its Class B and took overall victory in Division 1 after sailing the Cove Island Course of 259 nautical miles. For full story, click here.

On the 204 nautical mile Shore Course, Paul Van Tol and Bruce Vandevusse (Grosse Pointe, Mich.), co-owners of the C&C 35 MKII Eliminator, recorded an elapsed time of 42:02:57 to arrive at 7:23 on Monday morning (July 23) and claim victory in Class N as well as overall in Division II.

“It was a tough race, physically,” said Van Tol, whose sons Christopher and John co-skipper the boat. “Lots of upwind work and a couple of holes, especially in the aftermath of the storm when the wind got sucked out. Our strategy was to sail the shortest course and I think we probably did that.”

He described angling hard to the left at Harbor Beach to stay close to shore when boats to the right had lost their wind and then his team’s decision to go around Middle Island when Comfortably Numb, a Beneteau First 42 in another class, was about 3 ½ miles ahead of them.

“In the lee of the island, our speed increased, and when we came out from around it, Comfortably Numb was only one mile ahead of us, and we chased them all the way to Mackinac.”

Van Tol has sailed the race 36 times; this is his boat’s 34th time to sail and 17th time to claim a class victory.

First to the island, finishing on Sunday at 5:37 p.m., was the Greene Formula 60 Earth Voyager, which finished the Cove Island Course in 27 hours, 47 minutes and 8 seconds to become overall winner of Division III for Multihulls.

“That was pretty quick time, but we’ve done it in 14 hours before, so we’re always looking to one-up ourselves,” said Todd Howe (Rochester, N.Y.), who co-skippered with his brother Ryan and jokingly added that being first to the island has its advantages: “Getting drinks without waiting in line and showers and sleep before the other boats come in.”

Howe said his crew, which included his father Ray (who built the boat and has sailed the event with his sons since 1995 when multihulls were first allowed), had shortened sail some 40 to 50 miles into the course to repair a failed mainsail track. “We actually had no mainsail up when the storm hit. We saw 35 knots, and after the storm passed there was zero wind for what seemed like an eternity.”

In the end, Earth Voyager averaged speeds of 21-22 knots for “hours and hours of very fast sailing.”

Said Howe: “The top three boats in our class finished within 71 seconds of each other on corrected time, so I think we had to be the closest in finishes of all the classes.”

A total of 20 classes sailed in three divisions at the 2019 Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race. Once finished, the iconic Pink Pony bar on Mackinac Island is the hub of activity in advance of the giant awards celebration and concert on the grounds of Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel on July 23.

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bayview mac course

Overview and close-up of the 259 nm Cove Island and 204 nm Shore Course for the Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race.

Source: Media Pro


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