Beating the sunrise, the 60’ trimaran Earth Voyager glided through the finish line as the first racing boat to finish the 111th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac presented by Wintrust just after 5 a.m. EDT, three hours ahead of the first monohull to finish, the TP 52 Windquest.
This is the first time the home-built multihull has taken line honors in America's Offshore Challenge after multiple attempts, and Ray Howe (builder/owner and father to co-skippers Ryan and Todd), couldn’t be prouder of his sons and the team.
"It was an awesome battle with Windquest, who sailed a very good race," said Ryan Howe. "We raced side by side for about 100 miles until the conditions favored our three hulls and we were finally able to pull away. It was thrilling for us to cruise under the Mackinac Bridge and fly to the finish line at about 18 knots!"
However, the Formula 60 won’t be onsite during Tuesday’s Sailor Celebration to pick up the Martin D. Rieck Trophy, which is awarded to the first Multihull to finish CYCRTM. The team got the finish cannon and continued sailing, headed around the top of the "Michigan Mitten" on its way to this weekend’s Bells Beer Bayview to Mackinac that begins from Port Huron.
"A big thanks to the Chicago Yacht Club for such a wonderful event. We are proud to represent the Rochester Yacht Club and Lake Ontario for these Mackinac Races."
Windquest’s Doug DeVos was all smiles as he stepped off the dock after finishing the race just after 7 a.m. EDT. As the first monohull to finish, Windquest earns the Royono Trophy.
"In many ways the race was just spectacularly beautiful," he said. "The moon was full, the breeze was light and lake was flat. But it was a difficult race in the light and variable conditions. Finding the right spot was very good and finding the wrong spot was very bad, so it was a very tricky race in that regard."
This is DeVos’s 39th CYCRTM, and it’s one of only four or five times he spent significant time in the middle of the lake and went to the outside of the Manitou Passage. "We thought the gradient wind out there would be better than the shore breeze," he said.
DeVos complimented the entire Windquest team for the efforts involved. "It’s a great team of people. From the shore team that gets the boat ready, to the ones that sail it and make it perform its best. It’s great to celebrate another successful Mackinac," he said. "We are all safe and everything went well. It's always good to be back on the Island."