The 108th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac was fast enough for a ball. At least for the fastest boats with near record finishes.
Arete’ reached Mackinac Island, Mich., first at 1:21:09 Sunday afternoon (Central). The multihull, out of the Port Huron Yacht Club and owned by Frederick Warner IV, finished the 333-mile race in 23 hours, 1 minutes, 9 seconds for skipper Rick Warner and crew. The Mac is a handicapped race and Arete’s corrected time was 34:57:32.
While Arete’ set a torrid pace, especially Sunday morning, it came up short of the multihull record (18:50:32) set by the late Steve Fossett with Stars and Stripes in 1998.
Il Mostro, a Volvo 70 owned by Peter and Christopher Thornton of the Chicago Yacht Club and racing in the Turbo section, was second to reach the island. They crossed at 3:19:06 in 25:09:06 (40:37:12), near the monohull record (23:30:34) set by Roy Disney and Pyewacket in 2002.
In 1987, the crew of the late Dick Jennings from Pied Piper became the first to reach the island early enough for the Sunday evening ball at the Grand Hotel. In the 29 years since, a number of crews sailed fast enough, beginning with Fossett and his Aussie crew guzzling oil cans of Foster’s in ‘98.
The Arete’ crew made a dramatic swing into the middle of the lake south of the Manitous early Sunday. The decision paid off as Arete’ built speeds faster than 20 knots early Sunday.
Strong southerly winds early Sunday made for a much faster race than expected. Winds would shift west-northwest and remain strong as a cold front began crossing Lake Michigan Sunday evening.
In a rare scenario, multiple boats were finishing before sunset Sunday.
The majority of the boats should finish Monday. The race officially ends 24 hours after the first boat in the last section reaches Mackinac.
A severe thunderstorm hammered the fleet, roughly off Waukegan, early evening Saturday. Stormy weather continued on and off into early Sunday, especially for the slower boats toward the bottom of Lake Michigan.
As Lynn Kotwicki tweeted Sunday morning, “More rain.’’
By mid-afternoon Sunday, 12 boats had already retired, believed mostly to weather-related matters.
As usual, Joseph Haas with Infinite Diversion, a Hanse 630, was the first cruiser to cross the finish at 4:42:06 p.m. (49:22:06, 53:22:02), as it has every year since Haas first entered the division in 2012.
The cruising division (40 boats) sailed Friday afternoon from Chicago, while the majority of the fleet (326 boats registered overall) sailed Saturday, in 10-minute intervals beginning at 11 a.m.
Click here for updating race results.