2012-07-28 / Top News

Round the Island Race Starts Strong; Bernida Takes Top Honors

By Matt Mikus


The crew of Bernida accepts the prize for the Round the Island Race overall winner. Bernida, which also won in its division and class during the Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Yacht Race earlier in the week, was the first boat to win the race hosted by the Bayview Yacht Club in 1925. Pictured accepting the award are (from left) Kelsey Steiner, Jeff Steiner, race committee chairman David Rowe, Bart Huthwaite, Toby Murray, and Mitch Steiner. The crew of Bernida accepts the prize for the Round the Island Race overall winner. Bernida, which also won in its division and class during the Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Yacht Race earlier in the week, was the first boat to win the race hosted by the Bayview Yacht Club in 1925. Pictured accepting the award are (from left) Kelsey Steiner, Jeff Steiner, race committee chairman David Rowe, Bart Huthwaite, Toby Murray, and Mitch Steiner. Thirteen ships competed in the Round the Island Yacht Race Wednesday, July 18, and Bernida, the first winner for the inaugural Bayview Mackinac Yacht Race in 1925, took the top honors overall with a corrected time of 1 hour, 28 minutes, and 39 seconds, followed by Natural High, and Saint Barbara.

“It was perfect conditions for the race,” said race committee chairman David Rowe. “It worked out to be a perfect day for racing. We had a lot of cross sections of wind conditions, which gave us a nice challenging race.”


Natural High was the second ship across the finish line, after Saint Barbara. With the strong finish, Natural High took second place with a corrected time of one hour, 32 minutes, and three seconds. Saint Barbara took third place with one hour, 37 minutes, 32 seconds. Natural High was the second ship across the finish line, after Saint Barbara. With the strong finish, Natural High took second place with a corrected time of one hour, 32 minutes, and three seconds. Saint Barbara took third place with one hour, 37 minutes, 32 seconds. The race was divided into two divisions, based on the boat’s size and PHRF (Performance Handicap Racing Fleet) rating. Natural High, owned by Andrew Hallett, took first in the section 1 class, with a corrected time of 1 hour, 32 minutes, and 3 seconds. Saint Barbara, owned by Sam Kovalak, took second with 1 hour, 37 minutes, and 32 seconds. Mist and her owner Ben Leeuwestein held third place with 1 hour, 54 minutes, and 15 seconds.

Section two awards went to Bernida, followed by Ginger Kay and owner Richard Lappin with 1 hour, 40 minutes, and one second. Third place was Gordon Simpson’s SkyShip with 1 hour, 52 minutes, and 8 seconds.

The committee boat 50 Free, owned and captained by Dave Berger, marked the starting line south of the red bouy near the east breakwall of the harbor.

“I’ve never been the captain of a race committee before,” Mr. Berger said. “This will be fun.”

The start was planned to help give racers a faster pace heading around the bend and up the east side of the Island.

“This way, it’s a fast race,” said Llyod Karzen, who served on the race committee.

Mr. Karzen also served on the Chicago Yacht Club’s race committee for the Chicago to Mackinac Race Saturday, July 21, through Tuesday, July 23.

Although the finish line drifted into an angle, when the starting horn blew, the ships jockeyed for position to take a tight corner around the bouy. Many ships couldn’t get enough wind in the sails for a strong start, but Island Girl, who started off last to cross the starting line, took advantage of open water by tacking out, then turning up and using its momentum to pass three ships out of the start.

Winds started with close to 12 knots out of the east, but slowed to a crawl by the time most ships were heading down the west side of Mackinac Island. The final boat took three hours and 18 minutes to circle the Island.

“They really have to play with the currents and the winds in a race like this,” Mr. Karzen said. “They may find it’s difficult.”

Saint Barbara crossed the finish line first, followed by Natural High, Bernida, Ginger Kay, Mist, SkyShip, Echo, Equinox, and Windermere. Windmill, Jib Dance, Island Girl, and Iona dropped out of the race.

“What’s unique about this race,” Mr. Rowe said, “is that it draws upon racers from a number of venues, including local boats, Port Huron boats, and racers from the MacMan Challenge. And it gave the Bernida another opportunity to showcase what a great boat she is, even though she’s almost 90 years old.”

Full Race Results

Section 1: Natural High, 1:32:03, first place. Saint Barbara, 1:37:32, second place. Mist, 1:54:15, third place. Echo, 2:22:20, fourth place. Equinox, 2:54:10, fifth place.

Section 2: Bernida, 1:28:39, first place. Ginger Kay, 1:40:01, second place. SkyShip, 1:52:08, third place. Windermere, 2:49:32, fourth place.

Overall placements: first place, Bernida; second place, Natural High; third place, Saint Barbara; fourth place, Ginger Kay; fifth place, Skyship; sixth place, Mist; seventh place, Echo; eight place, Windermere; ninth place, Equinox.

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