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

Meridian-X-Spin_2

MOB: A Whistle in the Wind

Mark Wheeler went overboard a few minutes before midnight. He was in the middle of Lake Michigan, 30 miles offshore in 40 knots of wind. As he fumbled for the lanyard to inflate his lifejacket he watched his racing sailboat, Meridian X, disappear into the night at more than 18 ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Slapper stopper  When I came on deck at 0800 to hoist my colors on a visitors’ mooring recently, there was an awkward slop running in. This doesn’t trouble my Mason 44, which has a traditional counter ...read more

Tilly-1

Gear: Tilley Polaris Hat

A True Blue Tilley Sailing is all about fun in the sun, but it sometimes doesn’t take long to get too much of a good thing, especially when on a prolonged cruise or offshore passage. Enter the Tilley Polaris, the latest lid developed by iconic Canadian hat-maker Tilley. ...read more

Sand-TOWEL_MODEL-3

CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel

Sand Be Gone! The summer is hot and full of terrors—not the least of which is the sand that sticks in your beach towel in the hopes of a free ride back to your car or boat. Fortunately, there's now the CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel, engineered in polyester to not only dry quickly ...read more

01-Blowup-Tiwal2_sailing-(3)

Gear: Tiwal Inflatable Sailing Dinghy

Blow-up Boating A few years ago, the French company Tiwal arrived on U.S. shores with that most improbable of products, an inflatable sailing dinghy that actually sails the way a boat is supposed to. Now, nearly 1,000 Tiwal 3’s later, the company is back with its Tiwal 2, an ...read more

Koozy

Gear: 22 Below Koozie

Killer Koozie For all that sailors love the warmth of this time of year, that same warmth can also wreak havoc on their otherwise icy-cold beers. (Unless, of course, you drink them very, very fast. But we won’t go there.) To help deal with this terrible hardship, North ...read more

Cool-Specs

Gear: Gill's Race Fusion Sunglasses

Wicked Cool Specs Is there anything in the world of sailing more fun than a cool pair of shades? Heck, no! And it would hard to find a cooler pair than these new Race Fusion specs from longtime weather-gear manufacture Gill. In addition to looking great, they include a number of ...read more

North_new

Gear: North Sails Waterproof Pack

A few years ago, North Sails made a big push into the apparel business with all kinds of sharp-looking button-down shirts, shorts and fleeces. That doesn’t mean, though, that the North Sails Collection isn’t still plenty practical, as is evident in its new roll-over waterproof ...read more