Father-Daughter duo top Mackinac Race

Published on July 18th, 2022

The 98th edition of the Bayview Mackinac Race got underway on July 16, with the 172 entrants either on the 259 nm Cove Island or 204 nm Shore courses on Lake Huron. Each course extends from the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron to Mackinac Island which sits between Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas.

On the shorter course, finishing third overall and winning the doublehanded class was the J/111 nosurprise sailed by 14 year old Merritt Sellers along with her dad Scott. While they belong to St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, the family keeps their boat at Little Traverse Yacht Club (Harbor Springs, MI) where they have a summer home.

“We got ’em at night,” Scott Sellers, 50, told the Detroit Free Press immediately after the race while docking his boat. “I worried they would get us. We went from 2 miles back to 2 miles in front.”

Finishing at 20:57 on July 17, Merritt was exhausted after the race, trying to process the moment, nibbling on Milano mint cookies. The pair had survived on cold pizza and freeze-dried food — pad thai for her and chicken risotto for him. But they were both so happy.

“I’m at a point as a sailor where I’m able to do this. It feels pretty cool,” Merritt said. “Everything was pretty mellow and manageable.”

Well, not really, recalling Scott, as the first two hours of the race had four sail changes. But a critical moment came at 3:00 am when she found herself alone in the cockpit making pivotal decisions that vaulted them into the lead.

“That was a key part of the race,” Scott said. “Merritt wasn’t here as a passenger.”

“It’s so cool to see so many girls sailing,” Merritt said. “I’m on a sailing team with guys on it and, at first, I didn’t feel I was quite one of them. I want more women in the sport.”

There will be little rest for dad as he teams up with his other daughter, 18-year-old Hannah Sellers, for the 2022 Chicago to Mackinac Race which starts on July 22.

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bayview mac course

Overview and close-up of the 259 nm Cove Island and 204 nm Shore Course, however, due to Canadian border restriction, the 2020 will use only the Shore Course.

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