“We didn’t get to race last year (because of the pandemic), but this year we got to sail twice as long,” joked one of the 3,000 or more sailors who just completed the Chicago Yacht Club’s 112th Race to Mackinac. The iconic race that covers 289.4 nautical miles from the Chicago Lighthouse off Navy Pier to Round Island Lighthouse off Mackinac Island was indeed longer, but that wasn’t solely because of light air. It was more a matter of the race presenting as primarily upwind and the breeze going from decent at the start to completely dead at some points near the Manitou Islands, offering windless holes that stranded some of the fleet’s 231 boats longer than others. “The forecast was for it to be a very tactical race,” said Race Chair Martin Sandoval, “and it didn’t disappoint. Sailors participate in the race for the experience. Were there times they wanted to see more wind? Yes. But they recognize that there’s a mental challenge to adapting a plan as you go to meet the conditions. Once the wind filled in from the west (after the Manitous), folks in the Mackinac Straights made it in two hours to the bridge. It mixed up the results for sure; there are some different names in the winner’s circle.” The finish line is sighted from shore to the Round Island Light located on the west shore of Round Island in the shipping lanes of the Straits of Mackinac, which connect Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Andy Graff and Scott Eisenhardt aboard the J/88 Exile won the Doublehanded Division. For complete event details, visit https://cycracetomackinac.com/.

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