Bayview and Chicago • Live Sail Die
Mackinac Island, Michigan — July 24, 2022 – c
The Bayview to Mackinac and Chicago to Mackinac races are about the same length and end at the same finish line, but are run from different starts and cross courses on two different Great Lakes, Lake Huron and the Lake Michigan. Both also have many entries who choose to race both races, a total commitment of 1200 race miles and deliveries in the month of July. It’s no wonder these races dominate the big boat racing scene in the American Midwest.
The two host clubs – the Chicago and the Bayview Yacht Clubs – cooperate by switching who races first before the other. This year it’s Bayview’s turn, and it’s the 98th running of this race first held in 1925 – meaning it runs continuously every year despite world wars and pandemics. BYC is located on the Detroit River in Detroit, 60 miles south of the race start in Port Huron.
This race is different from the Chicago race in that it offers two course options: the 290-mile Cove Island course, whose boats are ORC rated faster than 0.9900 TCC, from the start at the south end from Lake Huron to a mark positioned in the northeast corner of the Canadian shore of the lake before veering due west until arriving at Mackinac Island. This race tends to be either downwind to Cove Island then a headsail race to the finish, or a reach to Cove Island followed by a long flap to the arrival.
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The Shore Course runs along Michigan’s east coast (shaped like a left hand) crossing bays and headlands toward the same finish. This race course is 204 miles long and is for ORC rated boats slower than 0.9900 TCC… these are typically racers under 35ft and cruisers/racers up to 40ft in length.
Another interesting feature is rather than using the ORC’s versatile single-number handicap, each course has its own scoring course model developed by BYC after years of studying statistical weather models of racing. These ratings appear on all USA ORC certificates.
And while this may not be a record, this year’s turnout was nonetheless impressive: 173 entries for the race, with 69 monohulls and 9 multihulls accepted to race the Cove Island Course and 94 monohulls for the Shore Course.
The teams turned out to be racing this year, but the favorable weather didn’t. Starts and stops characterized the race this year, with numerous car parks on the two course areas. The top rated boats on the Cove Island course were unable to free themselves, so the slower well rated and well sailed boats dominated the top results, with Chuck Stormes and his crew Corinthian on his Italia 9.98 DETOUR , winner of Division 1 overall after 55 hours of racing, only 8 minutes ahead in corrected time over the second HUZZAH, a First 36.7 skippered by Greg Chamberlain.
On the Shore Course, the higher-rated boats generally performed better, with Division II won by Paul Hulsey’s Melges 32 HOODLUM beating the runner-up CHICO 2, Jim Weyand’s modified 1D35, by 35 minutes in 30.5 running hours. In third place overall and winner among double-handed entries in this division was Scott Sellers’ J/111 NOSURPISE – Sellers raced with his 14-year-old daughter Merritt and the two (pictured above) were immediately welcomed by the local media for their achievement.