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:
Updated on
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

101218BTSC-9887

Just Launched: Little Big Boat

Peter Nielsen looks at Beneteau’s latest entry-level boat and a new cruiser from Tartan Group Beneteau’s commitment to entry-level boats has been reaffirmed over the last year with the assimilation of the sporty Seascape line of pocket cruisers and the ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com No chafe, safe stay  If you’re leaving the boat unattended for a longish period, there’s a lot to be said for cow-hitching the shorelines, as this sailor did. They’ll never let go, and so long as the ...read more

belize600x

Charter Special: Belize

It would be hard to imagine a more secure spot than the Sunsail base on the outskirts of the beachside community of Placencia, Belize. The entire marina is protected by a robust seawall with a channel scarcely a few boatlengths across. It’s also located far enough up Placencia ...read more

DSC00247

DIY: a Top-to-Bottom Refit

I found my sailing “dream boat” in the spring of 1979 while racing on Lake St. Clair in Michigan. Everyone had heard about the hot new boat in town, and we were anxiously awaiting the appearance of this new Pearson 40. She made it to the starting line just before the race ...read more

01-oysteryachts-regattas-loropiana2016_063

Light-air Sails and How to Handle Them

In the second of a two-part series on light-air sails, Rupert Holmes looks at how today’s furling gear has revolutionized sail handling off the wind. Read part 1 here. It’s easy to look at long-distance racing yachts of 60ft and above with multiple downwind sails set on roller ...read more

HanseCharles

Video Tour: Hanse 348

“It’s a smaller-size Hanse cruiser, but with some big-boat features,” says SAIL’s Cruising Editor, Charles J. Doane. At last fall’s Annapolis Boat Show, Doane had a chance to take a close look at the new Hanse 348. Some of the boat’s highlights include under-deck galleries for ...read more

amalfitown

Charter Destination: Amalfi Coast

Prego! Weeks after returning from our Italian flotilla trip last summer, I was still feeling the relaxed atmosphere of the Amalfi Coast. It’s a Mediterranean paradise, with crystal-clear waters, charming hillside towns and cliffside villages, plenty of delicious food and wine, ...read more

image005

Inside or Outside When Sailing the ICW

Last April, my wife, Marjorie, and I decided to take our Tartan 4100, Meri, north to Maryland from her winter home in Hobe Sound, Florida. This, in turn, meant deciding whether to stay in the “Ditch” for the duration or go offshore part of the way. Although we had both been ...read more