A Painfully Slow Bayview-Mac

SAIL - - Under Sail -

Some­times Aeolus is kind. Some­times he’s not. But rarely is the an­cient Greek “keeper of the winds” as en­tirely ab­sent as he was for much of this year’s Bell’s Beer Bayview Mack­inac Race.

How slow was the 2018 run­ning of the 94-year-old dis­tance race, which al­ways starts on a Satur­day in mid-July on lower Lake Huron? So slow that by the time the awards were be­ing handed out the fol­low­ing Tues­day as part of the fi­nal party at Mack­inac Is­land’s Grand Ho­tel, a num­ber com­peti­tors were still on the course. So slow that dozens of the 197 boats that crossed the start­ing line ended up drop­ping out, many within the first 24 hours.

Most years, the first boats to fin­ish do so on Sun­day. But this time around the first two fin­ish­ers, the Re­ichel/Pugh Max Z86 Windquest and the Re­ichel/Pugh 74 Wizard, didn’t ar­rive un­til Mon­day morn­ing. Not only that, but when the fleet fi­nally came, it did so en masse, mak­ing for plenty work at the fin­ish.

Ac­cord­ing to race chair­man Gary Shoe­maker, af­ter Windquest and Wizard there was not an­other boat un­til the next seven teams all fin­ished within 15 min­utes of one an­other late that same af­ter­noon. “By mid­night only 18 boats had fin­ished, and by 0600 on Tues­day there were 33 left to go, so we fin­ished 146 boats in only six hours,” Shoe­maker said. Heav­ens, and much of that in the dark of night. Pity the poor race com­mit­tee!

Win­ning this year’s race 204-mile “Shore Course” di­vi­sion aboard their De­clercq 36 Fly­ing Buf­falo were Al and Bob De­clercq. Win­ning the longer 259-mile “Cove Is­land” course, which in­cludes a turn­ing mark over on the Cana­dian side of Lake Huron, was Matthew Schaedler’s J/122 Bl­itzkrieg. Tak­ing first in the mul­ti­hull di­vi­sion were Ben Gougeon and Alan Gurski’s Gougeon 35 tri­maran Ada­gio. “This year was nearly twice the time on the wa­ter as last year’s race, re­quir­ing a sec­ond night at sea,” Gurski said after­ward. “Nights are when races are lost.”

Fi­nally, ku­dos to “the pickle boat,” or last-place fin­isher, the Sei­del­mann 299 So­journer, owned and raced by the Boy Scouts of Amer­ica Sea Scout Ship 1148. As fate would have it, they had just spent three years ren­o­vat­ing their boat in prepa­ra­tion for the race, so giv­ing up was not an op­tion—and they didn’t, ul­ti­mately cross­ing the line early Tues­day evening. Nice job, guys! If any sailors tak­ing part in this year’s drift-fest have rea­son to be proud it’s you!

For com­plete re­sults from this year’s Bayview Mack­inac Race, visit by­c­mack.com. s

The painfully slow start of the painfull slow 2018 Bayview Mack­inac Race

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