Mac Attack: A look at the 2009 Chicago-Mac Race

With limited wind throughout the 101st Chicago to Mackinac race, many would consider it ordinary. Except perhaps the nine-member crew on Zoom, who made it extraordinary, by winning the Chicago Mackinac Trophy with a corrected time 55:09.53.“It was very satisfying,” said skipper Mike Newman. “It was a strange feeling. All we did was sail the boat. There was no
Author:
Publish date:
nice_pair_mackinac_chicago_race



With limited wind throughout the 101st Chicago to Mackinac race, many would consider it ordinary. Except perhaps the nine-member crew on Zoom, who made it extraordinary, by winning the Chicago Mackinac Trophy with a corrected time 55:09.53.

“It was very satisfying,” said skipper Mike Newman. “It was a strange feeling. All we did was sail the boat. There was no heavy weather, no big winds to battle, no shifts to play with. We just went up the lake…and, Oh ya, we won. It was just a good sail with a plan.”

In fact, their direction decided the race. It wasn’t the road less traveled, but the route no one took, which enabled Zoom to move efficiently and effectively ahead of their competition. “We looked at the weather for several days before hand and thought if there was a good sea breeze we’d go up the Wisconsin shore,” said Newman. “If there wasn’t, we’d go toward Michigan. We were surprised more boats didn’t go that way. We had a nice steady wind of 7-11 knots. There were holes for an hour or two especially Saturday night.”

At dusk just off Green Bay, Zoom went east across the lake to Michigan. They came in between North Manitou and South Fox Island Monday at 0900 and tacked up the Straits behind a northeast wind. “We had no idea where the rest of the boats were until mid-day Monday [before getting an internet signal] when we hit Grays Reef,” said Newman, who skippered the 39-foot Farr design with George Miz and Pete Dreher. “When we saw there were a few 70s behind us, we thought we had an opportunity to win the whole thing,” said Miz.

With wind on the east side of the Mackinac Bridge, Newman tacked three times before the finish line at 2011. Monday night they celebrated with their wives and friends at the Pink Pony. Once Zoom docked in the harbor, her sailors found they were the only small boat there. Checking at the tent they saw there wasn’t a corrected time yet.

The crew retired at 0200, with Larry Kerner keeping guard on the boat. “We went to bed on the assumption we won,” said Miz.

By Wednesday morning it was official. “It didn’t look good leaving the coast,” said Newman, an electrical engineer who owns a software company, Contech Systems Inc., in Palos, Illinois. “We just kept moving the boat fast and had a great crew; they never got down. We made Grays Reef and everyone else was slowly around the Manitou Islands.”

“To win you absolutely need a contribution from everyone,” said Miz. “Skippering is a challenge in concentration. We had flawless sail changes and we took the right route.”

lucretia_chicago_mac_race

It was also a first for Bruce Geffen captain of Nice Pair in the Multihull Division. Stuck in the Manitous, Geffen made his move to the shore. “We listened to the weather Monday afternoon and they said the wind would clock east,” said Geffen. “We wanted to get to the shoreline as quick as possible. The wind carried us through Traverse Bay. We made up 30 miles on our competition.

“We hit Gray’s Reef and we were five miles offshore. We tacked and shot right through Gray’s Reef doing 15 knots. Most of the competition was at Beaver Island. The winds came east and we sailed on a beat through the Straits to the finish with four of the crew sound asleep.”

That was at 0130. Tuesday morning. But Nice Pair didn’t slow down as they headed to Port Huron for their Race to Mackinac July 25. “We won our division last year and were second overall, but this is our first time winning the multihull; there’s nothing like it,” said Geffen, who has done 20 Mac’s, 10 on Nice Pair. “We’re first in the second century of the Mac Race. When we got to Port Huron, we passed a bottle around and took a nip. There were a lot of congratulatory hugs.”

Related

IMG_0173

Electronic “Flares” for Cruisers

The United States Coast Guard requires that all boats operating in coastal waters or on the high seas carry a selection of visual distress signals. Almost invariably, such signals include the pyrotechnic type, either handheld or fired from a flare pistol, but surely there are ...read more

M2-HOOK-TOP-AND-CHAIN-1

Gear: M2 Chain Hook from Mantus

Stay Hooked Chain hooks on anchor snubber lines tend to fall off when you least want them to. Not so this latest example from Mantus. The M2 Chain Hook is secured to the chain by a simple elastic strap, so it won’t come off when the snubber loosens. Made from corrosion-resistant ...read more

shutterstock_349918991

Successful Surf Landings with Wheels

“Ready to take the dink ashore?” Never had those words invoked as much anxiety as when my husband, Jeff, and I first moved to the Pacific Coast. Why? Because we had exactly zero experience with dinghy surf landings, and the possibility of being flipped upside down along with our ...read more

Sail2010_597

How to: Find Good Values on Charter Vacations

So, you want to find a great deal on your next charter vacation? Sure, you can scour the internet, hope for Black Friday deals or ask friends. But an even better way to find good prices on charter boats is to go to a boat show. Not only do charter companies like The Moorings, ...read more

leadphoto

Know How: Dinghy Modification

The rigmarole of stretching a cover over a dinghy in choppy water prior to hoisting it on davits can become a very wet business if you’re not careful. Leaning right over either end, trying to stretch a cover over the bow and stern pods can quite easily result in a head-first dip ...read more

25980

Catnapped Aboard a Racing Multihull

It was after midnight when I realized my daysail with Tony Bullimore aboard his giant record-breaking catamaran, Team Legato, was not going to plan. The big cat was en route for a December dash from England across the Bay of Biscay to Barcelona and the start of a drag race ...read more