The 111th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac is underway and the predicted light-air conditions have blanketed Lake Michigan, providing a peaceful but slow go overnight and into Sunday for the 266 boats racing.
Saturday’s Racing Division began in beautiful 8-13 knots, and the first half of the fleet showed off their colorful spinnakers against the backdrop of Chicago’s skyline. As the breeze shifted halfway through the sequences, the larger boats kept their kites in the bag as they rumbled upwind.
Into the overnight hours, the Cruising Division suffered through the doldroms, at times making less than a knot headway. Persistence (and waterline) is paying off however and the two largest boats in the Division, Infinite Diversion and Whitehawk expect to finish later this afternoon.
As the breeze slowly picks up throughout Sunday, the Racing Division is quickly compressing on the advance Cruising teams and should meet up near the Manitou Passage, one of the most beautiful points along this iconic race.
Given the forecast, this could well be the make-or-break turning point as boats decide which way to pass. Typically, the majority of CYCRTM routes goes between the Manitous and the Michigan shoreline.
Across the fleet, spirits are good and humor is high on board, as teams check in via social media and report that:
Rowdy, J/111 (@J111Rowdy): "We are drinking some delicious filtered Lake Michigan H20. Give a hoot, don't pollute. We're sailing right next to NoSuprise."
Mutiny Racing, Tartan 10 (@MutinyRacing): New #cycrtm trophy idea: The Grim Reaper Cup. Weigh in your haul of flies at the island. Winning crew awarded Cup and extra drink tix."
Endeavour, Cruising 3 (@EndeavourSails): #cycrtmplaylist "Road to Nowhere" (Talking Heads). #saynomore#asifitwerewrittenfortoday#cycrtm
Maggie May, 36.7 Beneteau (@MaggieMay262): It's a drag race. We see several in our class. Looks like light air all day. Eating oatmeal now. Maggie Mae 36.7 #cycrtm
Fans can follow in in-race commentary via the Race to Mackinac channels, and also hashtags #CYCRTM and #AmericasOffshoreChallenge across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
For live race tracking on YB Races, it’s online here or via the APP.