Bayview Mac: Refusing to give up

Published on June 9th, 2020

There are regattas on the calendar that offer a distraction from our work life, and then there are events that become the full focus of our boating season, and it’s the cancellation of these iconic competitions due to COVID-19 health restrictions that are becoming a painful occurrence.

With so many historic perpetuals staying in the trophy cabinet this year, the organizers of the 2020 Bayview Mackinac Race are determined that their event does not boost the casualty count. Here’s an update from The Detroit News:


Detroit, MI (June 9, 2020) – Bayview Yacht Club Race chairman Chris Clark said today the 96th edition of their race to Mackinac Island will begin July 11 despite the recent cancellation of the Chicago Mackinac Race, which was scheduled for the following week.

“There are a lot of boats getting launched,” Clark said. “I’m getting a lot of calls. We have a short enough summer in the Great Lakes anyway and for those people who have sailboats and love to race, their season just got clipped by coronavirus now that the Chicago-to-Mackinac race got cut off. People are looking to have fun wherever they can.

“We’re just trying to work hard to provide first, safety; second, fun; and third, a competitive event.”

Clark has preached “patience and flexibility” since early in the spring, and feels the race committee’s steady approach — along with sponsors, Mackinac Island and competitors — has worked.

“We think it will get us to where we need to be,” said Clark who estimates approximately 100-130 boats are registered, which would be about half of the usual number.

Because of continued border closings between the United States and Canada, the Cove Island Course (259nm) will not be an option this year in the Port Huron race, leaving only the Shore Island course (204nm).

“They (competitors) understand the circumstances this year. There’s always ups and downs to sailboat races,” Clark said. “This was just one of the things we’ve had to manage this year.”

Many Canadian crews have already indicated they will not participate this year because of the border closure.

The Chicago race was canceled for the first time since 1920 due to a variety of limitations due to the virus. Clark said the Chicago race “had its own set of issues” and that race’s cancellation wouldn’t have any impact on the Port Huron race.

There will be no race party at the conclusion of this year’s Port Huron race on Mackinac, but some sort of award presentation is being planned.

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