Posts Tagged ‘bayview’
Sailing Anarchy lifers will no doubt remember the slightly insane Chicago Mackinac race run by SA’er stayoutofthemiddle back in 2005 in a non-race legal Melges 24 – at the time, a boat considered ‘extreme’ and not suitable for anything but buoy racing. Well, we’re extremely excited to announce that it only took 10 years for one side of Great Lakes distance racing to learn what Melges 24 sailors have known for years: If you can handle the conditions, the Melges 24 can too. That’s why, for the first time ever, this year’s Bayview Yacht Club’s Port-Huron to Mackinac Race will feature Melges 24s in action – officially.
Geriatric hand-wringers and the nanny-state crowd have launched all the usual arguments in an entertaining thread, but you’ve seen ‘em all before; the thread took a turn for the better late last week when one of the guys behind the rules change allowing Melges 24s posted his own reasons for racing his favorite wee yacht in his favorite race. You can follow along the in the discussion beginning here.
Well I have been sitting back listening to this thread long enough. My name is Paul Hulsey – skipper of GBR593 HH Grenade.
Before I start sparing with any of you lets get a few facts straight. I have owned 3 Melges 24′s over a period of 15 years. I have competitively sailed them all over the U.S. If anyone knows this boat and its capabilities I do.
Apart from 34 Years of competitive dinghy and small keel boat sailing I am also a very accomplished offshore sailor. I have over 40k miles of offshore big boat experience with 1 Transatlantic (not the pussy way straight across but over Scotland), 3 Bermudas, 12 Chicago Macs and this year will be my 29th Port Huron.
Each of my crew have roughly the same resume. Also we are not kids – average age of our crew is close to 46 years (When you factor in Jonesy – or as he is affectionately known as “Grey Ballz”)
We have spent our entire winter working on safety potocal – not just for ourselves but also sharing information between the three boats registered. What we have come up with is fantastic with very few Mods to the One Design Boat…. Meaning it will still be a One Design Boat at the end. What I want more than everything is for each of us to make it safe and sound to the island.
Why are we doing this? Well I can’t speak for everyone but I can tell you that for me the race had become ultra boring.. Just a punch card thing I did mid summer. Come home from work and ‘oh shit I’d better get packed the the Mac starting tomorrow.’ This is something totally different for me. Putting life back into a dead race and making it interesting again. For the past few months I find myself dreaming thinking about the ‘what ifs’. Yes, sure some of that about big weather and how I will handle it but also about if we get that perfect wind condition where we pop a kite and tear up the lake for 5 to 8 hours (With my trailer waiting for me on the other end!). What sportboat sailor hasn’t dreamed of that?
In the end if something bad happens it won’t be because we weren’t prepared or because we didn’t have the experience. Sometimes shit just happens. For us we are very aware of the risks and I know I personally feel safer sailing with my team than half of the other boats out there.
Finally I encourage all of you to come over and check the boat out on the island when we get there… And we will get there, come hell or high water. Come and introduce yourself and I will gladly show you how we set the boat up. Hell, come over and just say hi and bring beer.
This is what sailing is all about, kids!
June 9th, 2015 by admin
With Great Lakes ice cover now at 88% – 2% more than even the cold and icy 2013-4 winter – it may seem like the hundreds of thousands of Midwest sailors will never even get soft water. But if the lakes do thaw out before July, there’s some damned good long distance racing ahead thanks to the 500-plus boats that will race the two Mackinacs this year.
Chicago Yacht Club cemented their role as one of the forward-thinkers in offshore American sailing yesterday, announcing their amendment of the Chicago Mac rules to award the overall first-to-finish trophy to the first boat instead of the first monohull. That’s 65 years of historical mistake they’re rectifying, and it’s about fucking time. In doing so, they make the countries other big-fleet distance races – The Cruising Club of America’s Newport Bermuda Race and the Transpac – look positively mesozoic.
And while The Transpac does give a multihull trophy (first awarded in 1997 to Bruno Peyron in Explorer) the TPYC’s most prestigious trophy – the Barn Door – goes not to the first boat to finish, and not even to the first monohull to finish…instead, they give it to the tortured category of ‘first non-power assisted yacht to arrive that isn’t a multihull.’ That makes sense </sarcasm>. But hey – at least the Transpac allows multihulls to enter. The Bermuda Race doesn’t even do that.
On the other side of the lake, we’ve heard (but not yet verified) that Bayview’s ‘Easy Mac’ – the shorter, more sheltered Port Huron-Mac – has opened up its rules as well, allowing smaller, more sporty boats to compete on the 200 NM shore course. Melges 24s at dawn, anyone? More smart thinking from adaptable Midwesterners, and more inclusivity on the water – never a bad thing, and a good explanation of why there are 500+ yachts distance racing over two weekends on the Lakes. Nice work, Detroit and Chicago!
In a final bit of excellent Great Lakes news, the CYC also announced that 2015 would be a Super Mac year – that means the most intrepid teams will race from Chicago to Mackinac and then continue right through the finish line, sailing another 200 miles to the riverine entrance of the Port Huron Yacht Club. We called it ‘five hundred miles of freshwater hell’ when we ran it aboard Bruce Geffen’s Nice Pair the last time the race was held in 2009 – here’s a full account of that one.
Where else in the world are you going to get a 500 mile course through water you can drink? Check the CYC website for more info over here.
March 3rd, 2015 by admin
After a five-year hiatus from covering the Midwest’s second-biggest freshwater distance race, we’re heading up to Port Huron, Michigan for the start of the Bayview Mackinac Race tomorrow. With Luna Rossa Challenge’s Bora Gulari aboard the TP52 Natalie J, Annapolite-turned ocean racer Ryan Breymaier joining the F-31 Cheekee and a pile of fun boats including the old VO70 Il Mostro, there will be plenty to see, and you’ll be able to watch all the action via Sailing Anarchy’s Facebook Page starting around 10 AM EDT tomorrow.
Years of live coverage of the Chicago Mackinac and the 4 hours we’ll be spending on the water tomorrow have reminded us of conversations we’ve had over the years about the start of the Mack races, and a basic question we still don’t know the answer to: What is the purpose of starting each section separately, with the slow boats first? Sure, we understand that the slow boats will get there a bit sooner compared to the fast boats, but that seems like a silly reason for expending all the extra resources to involved in banging off 15 starts rather than a single one. Think about it; that’s 15 starts at 10 minutes each, or nearly three hours of starting. The format guarantees a weaker experience for spectators (who rarely want to sit around watching 6-10 boats sail off a line every ten minutes), a tougher day for the Race Committee, a long, long wait for the racers on the water, and perhaps most importantly, a poor spectacle for the TV, print, and online media so important to getting new interest and keeping sponsors happy.
Think about the incredible action at a Sydney-Hobart start, with simultaneous guns over just three lines and course boundaries for spectators for a mile or so up the course to guarantee tacking or gybing in close proximity to the fans; contrast this with the Macks, where the Coast Guard sets a cordon to keep powerboats half a mile from the starting lines…not that there is much to see anyway. Nearly no boats chase the Mack fleet…because it’s already so diluted at each start that there’s not much to chase.
Our suggestion for the BYC and Chicago Macks: Four simultaneous starts: One for racing fleets, one for cruising fleets, one for multihull fleets, and one for shorthanded fleets. Win, win.
Shot of Lucky Strike (ex-Lucretia) sporting the SA flag yesterday on the Black River, thanks to Anarchist “Geff”.
July 11th, 2014 by admin