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Race to Mackinac

It’s a funny thing: offshore sailing in the Midwest. But that’s exactly what the Chicago Yacht Club’s Race to Mackinac is, featuring 333 miles of sailing, often requiring sailors to negotiate a wide variety of wind and sea-state conditions en route to an island (Mackinac Island, that is) that doesn’t allow cars, but instead condones pedestrians, bicycles, and horse-drawn carriages. But that’s an
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It’s a funny thing: offshore sailing in the Midwest. But that’s exactly what the Chicago Yacht Club’s Race to Mackinac is, featuring 333 miles of sailing, often requiring sailors to negotiate a wide variety of wind and sea-state conditions en route to an island (Mackinac Island, that is) that doesn’t allow cars, but instead condones pedestrians, bicycles, and horse-drawn carriages. But that’s an entirely different story.

The real story here, dear reader, is that the Race to Mackinac can now be considered the Big Mac now that it stands proud having completed its 100th running. And you can bet that the “other” mac (Freddie Mac, that is) and the recession that we’re all “enjoying” did little to deter the high-octane participation in this historic contest. To be a Chicago-based sailor and miss the 100th running of the Race to Mackinac Island just doesn’t seem right…at least that’s what some 430 skippers – a record number of participating boats -- thought as they crossed the starting line, en route to funky, foggy, murky “offshore” conditions.

Line honors went to Randall Pitman’s’s Genuine Risk a 90-foot canting-keel Dubois-designed maxi that seems to have finally found her feet in this race. Tragically, one of the true great guys in sailing, Mark “Rudi“ Rudiger, a regular navigator aboard Genuine Risk passed away after a prolonged fight against lymphoma just a few days before the race’s start (read more about Rudiger here:
www.sailmagazine.com/racing/0708rudiger/).
To honor Rudiger’s memory, Genuine Risk flew a sticker bearing the memorial “Rudi” on their boom as they blazed to the island.

Kimball Livingston, one of SAIL’s Senior Editors and an ace offshore racer and writer, was lucky enough to be aboard Bill Zeiler’s fast, well-sailed, and brand-new J/122, Skye for the race. To read about KL’s firsthand experiences aboard the boat that won it’s division and did well overall (corrected time), visit Livingston’s blog (http://sailmagazine.blogspot.com). You can bet your last Big Mac that you’ll be entertained.

Posted: July 22, 2008

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