Chicago Mackinac 2012 - Light conditions challenge the fleets

Cruising start - Chicago Mackinac Race 2012
The Mackinac Island harbor remains empty as of 9 p.m. EDT for the 104th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, presented by Veuve Clicquot. Conditions throughout the day proved challenging as a stalled frontal system provided little wind for the boats.

By 10 p.m. EDT, the expected warm front has begun to northward, introducing modest southerly winds across much of the fleet, helping them resume their progress up the lake. The building winds from the south to the north means that we might expect boats farther to the south to catch up with boats to the north as the northern boats stay in lighter winds.

Here’s a look at where a few of the fleets stand (as of 9 p.m. EDT):

Racing Division Update:

•In the Turbo section: Pyewacket’s 2002 record time of 23:30:40 remains safe for yet another year. Il Mostro has reclaimed the lead in the Turbos and extended 20 miles (18 NM) ahead of Equation, Natalie J and Windquest, who have exited the Manitou passage as a group and are (as of 7:45 p.m. EDT) showing much higher speed than Il Mostro. The race is far from over if this trend continues.

•Section 1: Interesting development in the Great Lakes 70 fleet with Windancer heading outside North Manitou Island, and the rest of the fleet going through the Passage. Evolution, Details and Porocoa were within eyesight of each other. Photo below courtesy of Imedi Racing via Twitter.

•Section 2: About a third of the Section 2 boats also went outside the Manitous, but made their move right at the entrance to the passage. The overall position of boats didn’t change a lot from this move and Bodacious IV and Main Street, which led boat-for-boat entering the passage held that same lead on the way out.

•Farr 40s: Flash Gordon 6, one of two boats entered by Helmut Jahn, has stayed in the lead through the light winds today. What was a small lead on this well-sailed section has extended today. One wild card, however, is Shazzam, from Bayview Yacht Club, which is the only Farr 40 to go outside of the Manitous.

•J111: It’s anyone’s race to win in the J111 section as the dying breeze earlier today has clustered most of the fleet in the entrance to the Manitou Passage. Impulse is ahead by a nose, but much of the fleet (including Nosurprise and Kashmir) are very close behind. Like the Farr 40s, one boat—Rowdy—has gone outside the passage.

•Beneteau 36.7: Earlier today, As you Wish shot out to a lead in this very competitive section as a result of staying to the west where there was more pressure and perhaps a more favorable angle across the light wind (which generates more boatspeed). They are joined near the front of the pack by another boat that 'went left'—Tequila Mockingbird. Bob Foley’s Tried and True is next, and though they are back a bit, you can never count out regular Mac Race Section Winner Karma. These boats are just past Big Sable, and there’s a lot of racing left!

Cruising Division Update:

The breeze has finally reached the expected first-to-finish boat in the cruising division, Infinite Diversion, a Hanse 630 owned by Joe Haas. As of 10 p.m. EDT, Infinite Diversion is approximately 13 nm from the finish.

If the forecast holds, we expect the faster boats to cross the line early Monday to mid-morning hours.

Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac website