2008-07-26 / Top News

Velero VII Is Overall Winner in Historic Chicago-Mackinac Race

434 Boats Compete in Largest Freshwater Yacht Race in History
By Ryan Schlehuber

Where do you fit 434 boats? The Chicago Yacht Club used a new, more organized system to moor yachts at the Mackinac Island Marina, which has 76 slips. The club divided the available space in Haldimand Bay into zones and matched boats by sizes for rafting, one to another. Boats were also moored at marinas in St. Ignace and Mackinaw City. Where do you fit 434 boats? The Chicago Yacht Club used a new, more organized system to moor yachts at the Mackinac Island Marina, which has 76 slips. The club divided the available space in Haldimand Bay into zones and matched boats by sizes for rafting, one to another. Boats were also moored at marinas in St. Ignace and Mackinaw City. Light winds and sporadic downpours last weekend on Lake Michigan foretold that the only record to be set in the 100th running of the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac would be the number of entries, which was 434. That, at least, broke the previous record of 325, set in 1998.

Genuine Risk, the largest boat in the Chicago fleet, a 90- footer in the Turbo Class, was the first to finish, crossing the line 1:18 a.m. Monday morning, July 21, just 35 hours, 8 minutes, 42 seconds after the start. It beat Dick and Doug Devos' Windquest, a Turbo Class rival, by 72 minutes, but Genuine Risk's corrected time of 55:02:13 dropped the boat to fourth place in her class.

Windquest finished third, and Equation, owned by Bill Alcott of St. Clair Shores, took first in the Turbo Class with a corrected time of 49:51:47.

Casey Penney, 19, a student at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, raced with other students on Defiance. He poses with his mother, Kitten (left), of Mississippi, and his aunt, Julie Hannabass, of North Carolina, Tuesday, July 22. Both Defiance and Genuine Risk, which was the first boat to finish the race, invited Kingspoint-based Merchant Marine Academy members from Long Island, New York, to participate in the race this year. Mr. Penney's grandmother, Kitty Hannabass, lives on the East Bluff. Casey Penney, 19, a student at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, raced with other students on Defiance. He poses with his mother, Kitten (left), of Mississippi, and his aunt, Julie Hannabass, of North Carolina, Tuesday, July 22. Both Defiance and Genuine Risk, which was the first boat to finish the race, invited Kingspoint-based Merchant Marine Academy members from Long Island, New York, to participate in the race this year. Mr. Penney's grandmother, Kitty Hannabass, lives on the East Bluff. Gamera, owned by Matt Schari of Chicago, took the top spot in the race's Multihull Division for the third consecutive year, finishing with a corrected time of 51 hours, 1 minute, 36 seconds.

Earth Voyager, which set a fastest finish record in this year's Bayview Mackinac Race last week, was the first multihull boat to finish the race, and the third overall. It is owned by Ray, Ryan, and Todd Howe of Rochester, New York.

Many souvenirs were produced for the 100th running of the Chi Mac race, including these stuffed bears wearing race sweaters. Pictured are (from left) Joan Banyay, Adrienne Levatino, and Chris Albanis, wife of Chicago Yacht Club Chairman Greg Miarecki. The women are members of the club's merchandise committee. Many souvenirs were produced for the 100th running of the Chi Mac race, including these stuffed bears wearing race sweaters. Pictured are (from left) Joan Banyay, Adrienne Levatino, and Chris Albanis, wife of Chicago Yacht Club Chairman Greg Miarecki. The women are members of the club's merchandise committee. Velero VII, owned by John Barbour of Grosse Pointe, earned first overall in the Chicago to Mackinac Trophy Division and first in Section 7.

John Boyle's Mirage, of Aurora, Illinois, won the Cruising Division, a division that was added last year. There were 45 boats in this year's Cruising Division, up from 14 last year, Chicago Yacht Club Chairman Greg Miarecki said at the awards ceremony at Grand Hotel Tuesday, July 22.

As of Wednesday morning, July 23, seven boats in the Cruising Division had retired and only six of them had finished, according to the yacht club's Web site.

Boats were still crossing the finish as late as Wednesday afternoon, plagued by the light winds and drenched with rain.

For the third consecutive year, Gamera was the overall winner of the Multihull Division and captured first place in Multihull Section 2. For the third consecutive year, Gamera was the overall winner of the Multihull Division and captured first place in Multihull Section 2. "This was definitely a wet Mac," said George Chlipala of Chicago, crew member of Donald Walker's boat Maskwa, which finished 14th in Section 5. "We definitely got a lot of everything."

Mr. Chlipala said his team did reach their goal, however, which was to finish before Tuesday.

"We got in just before midnight on Monday, so we're pretty happy about that," he laughed.

Competition in the race is just as heated in light winds as in high winds.

"It was a pleasant race, but there was very light wind," said first-year racer Chris Branning of Genuine Risk. "It makes things interesting and maybe even more intense when you're so close to another boat."

While Mr. Branning said his crew's strategy was to make adjustments with any wind change that came along, Bill Martin's crew on Stripes held the course and took what the wind and water gave them.

Velero VII won the Mackinac Trophy and was first in Section 7. Velero VII won the Mackinac Trophy and was first in Section 7. "For us, it worked out a lot better than for others," said Mr. Martin, who has been sailing since 1965 and is the president of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. "The weather pattern was very confusing, so we kept our strategy very simple. We didn't go hunting for a wind draft."

Although class rival Evolution finished ahead of Stripes by mere minutes in elapsed time, Mr. Martin's strategy earned him first place in the GL-70 Class, finishing in 41:46:12, with a corrected time of 48:17:10. Evolution, owned by Terry Kohler and Pete Reicheldorfer of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, finished second with a corrected time of 48:46:45.

Many boats dropped out of the race owing mostly to their slow progress, said Chicago Yacht Club Race Watch Captain Janet Hansen. Some boats dropped out for mechanical failure or equipment damage.

Some crews, such as the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy crew on Defiance, experienced a lightning storm near the Manitou Islands.

The crew from Water Works, owned by Rick and Mary Ann Lillie of Chicago, brought a stuffed goat to Tuesday's awards ceremony at Grand Hotel. Racers who have participated in at least 25 Chi Mac races become members of the Island Goat Sailing Society. The crew from Water Works, owned by Rick and Mary Ann Lillie of Chicago, brought a stuffed goat to Tuesday's awards ceremony at Grand Hotel. Racers who have participated in at least 25 Chi Mac races become members of the Island Goat Sailing Society. "Where we were at, at the time, there was lightning everywhere," said 19-year-old Casey Penney, an academy member who is the grandson of East Bluff cottager Kitty Hannabass and son of Kitten Penney of North Carolina. "The winds picked up then and the rain came down. There's nothing like that to excite things."

Like many boats, the Defiance ran into dead wind spots a few times during the race.

"We hit two," Mr. Penney said, "and each of them were an hour long."

Defiance and Genuine Risk invited members of the Kings Point, Long Island academy to be part of their crew in this year's Chicago to Mackinac race.

Though yacht racers would have liked to have seen more wind during the race, many, if not all, were happy to share the experience of the historic event with friends and family.

"The Chicago Yacht Club put on a great race," said Mr. Martin, who headed back to his office in Ann Arbor shortly after arriving at the finish line. "It was great, particularly because this organization was able to invite 400 boats and that they had so many club members and volunteers to take care of all of us.

"The beauty of this race is being able to spend it with friends and family," continued Mr. Martin, who sailed with his two sons, Mike and Seth.

Jim Mitchell, owner of Vincitore, which finished second in the Turbo Class and second in last week's Bayview Yacht Club Mackinac Race, also enjoyed the bonding experience with others during the historic Chicago race.

"It was great," said Mr. Mitchell. "It was just great to be able to enjoy this race with my family and friends."

A third of Mr. Mitchell's 15-man crew were family members, including his brother, Michael, and their father, Jim Mitchell II, who participated in his 50th race this year.

This year's race was a little more special to Mr. Mitchell Jr.. His four-year-old daughter, Maddie, was baptized at Ste. Anne's Catholic Church on the Island Tuesday.

100th Running of Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac

First Place Finishes
Class
Boat
Elapsed Time Corrected
Time
Turbo
Equation
39:02:50 49:51:47
Cruising 1
Mirage 58:54:10
51:35:55
Cruising 2
Free at Last
68:36:36 55:05:37
GL-70
Stripes 41:46:12
48:17:10
Multihull 1
Nice Pair
49:42:22 52:37:08
Multihull 2
Gamera 49:51:01
51:01:36
T10
Wombat 59:32:40
40:03:52
Beneteau 36.7
Karma 54:38:38
48:18:18
Beneteau 40.7
Spanker 54:42:02
50:32:35
Farr 395
Zoom
52:30:00 51:01:48
J105
Pronto II
55:47:20 48:58:57
J109
Zeitgeist 54:11:39
48:59:29
J120
Carinthia
52:45:21 49:57:35
Section 1
Natalie J.
50:13:38 51:59:06
Section 2
Scout
50:29:59 50:17:51
Section 3
Skye
50:00:30 49:52:33
Section 4
Power Tripp
52:17:12 49:37:12

Section 5
Bounder 54:44:33
50:28:21
Section 6
Bretwalda
55:19:35 48:21:18
Section 7
Velero II 55:40:44
47:49:41
Section 8
Nana
59:23:48 48:56:34
Section 9
Mystery 59:31:35
48:20:07
Section 10
Souvenir
63:06:43 49:40:08

Top Five First to Finish

Monday, July 21

1. Genuine Risk

Elapsed time: 35 hours, eight minutes, 42 seconds*

Owner: Randall Pittman of Ann Arbor

Finished fourth in Turbo Class (corrected time: 55:02:13)

*finished at 1:18 a.m.

2. Windquest

Elapsed time: 35 hours, 56 minutes, 44 seconds

Owners: Dick and Doug DeVos of Macatawa

Finished third in Turbo Class (corrected time: 54:27:27)

3. Earth Voyager

Elapsed time: 37 hours, 47 minutes, 15 seconds

Owners: Ray, Ryan, Todd Howe of Rochester, New York

Finished 11th in Multihull I Class (corrected time: 64:07:44)

4. Evolution

Elapsed time: 41 hours, 32 minutes, 59 seconds

Owners: Terry Kohler and Pete Reichelsdorfer of Sheboygan, WI

Finished second in the GL70 Class (corrected time: 48:46:45)

5. Stripes

Elapsed time: 41 hours, 46 minutes, 12 seconds

Owner: Bill Martin of Ann Arbor

Finished first in GL70 Class (corrected time: 48:17:10)

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