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Wrapping up the Mac race: Wild, stormy and fast

Flying Buffalo, from Chicago Yacht Club entered boats listings, set a record titles in the 108th Mac.
Credit: CYC

Storms, a boat sinking and near-record pace for the first-to-finish made the 108th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac one of the most memorable.

WhoDo, Erik Owen’s One Design 48, sank near 3 p.m. Sunday when the rudder shaft broke and the boat took on water. A May Day call went out with quick response from nearby boats. A lifeboat was placed and all 10 crew went in. It was picked up by City Girl, owned by Mark Bremer of Chicago. WhoDo’s crew was taken to Leland, Mich. Eric Oesterle’s Heartbreaker was in communication with the Coast Guard.

Jeff Linstrom of Celestial said they were just entering the Manitous when the May Day call came.

“We were a third of a nautical mile ahead of them,’’ he said. “We immediately dropped our sails and got our engine going. City Girl, a Chicago boat got there first. As we approached, we saw them get in the other boat. Meanwhile, their boat was going down, bow first, all within 15 minutes of their May Day call.’’

City Girl retired after the incident. Celestial, which had trouble after taking down their front sail so fast, also retired.

“I was scared for WhoDo,’’ Linstrom said. “Even though it was daylight, you never want to hear that. They handled it great.’’

As of Monday afternoon, 22 boats had retired, largely because of the storms Saturday evening into Sunday morning. That weather also made a very fast Mac with multiple boats finishing before sunset Sunday.

As to the winners (in corrected time) for the handicapped 333-mile race, Al and Bob Declercq’s Flying Buffalo, in Section 10, won the Mackinac Trophy (34:55:02) a record fourth time; Natalie J., in the Turbo section, took the Mackinac Cup (32 hours, 30 minutes, 59 seconds); as did Perico in the cruising division (47:24:45); and Panic Button in the multihulls (32:37:33).

Arete’ reached the island first at 1:21:09 p.m. Sunday. With a time of 23:01:09 (corrected time, 34:57:32), it was short of the multihull record (18:50:32) set by Steve Fossett with Stars and Stripes in 1998. Il Mostro finished at 3:19:06 p.m. Sunday (25:09:06, 40:37:12), near the monohull record (23:30:34) set by Roy Joseph Haas with Infinite Diversion finished at 4:42:06 p.m. Sunday (49:22:06, 53:22:02), taking line honors in the cruising division for the fifth straight year.

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