In the Chicago Yacht Club's Race to Mackinac, by midday Monday there were still about 250 boats left to finish. In what is being called 'an epically slow race' due to extremely light wind conditions, sailors have been moving at a snail-like pace for several hours.
Race Committee members said there have been 17 withdrawals so far as of 3:00 pm CDT.
Currently the winds are still challenging the sailors sitting still on the lake, but Race Chair Lou Sandoval said when it comes to the Mac, the unpredictable conditions are par for the course.
'Despite all of the preparation and planning, the weather has the last say,' said Sandoval, whose Beneteau 36.7 Karma is passing Beaver Island, about 46 nautical miles from the finish, going about 3.4 knots. 'In the spirit of competition the variety of weather conditions is what makes the Mac special.'
Recent posts on the Race’s twitter account (@RacetoMackinac) show that many of the crews are keeping their senses of humor.
'Does anybody need a 7pm reservation to the Iroquois? Don't think we'll be there in time,' said a crew member from Realt Na Mara, a J-109 owned and skippered by Tom and Joe Londrigan.
Mise En Place, a Beneteau Oceanis 381 owned and skippered by Paul Thompson, posted, 'Day three: crew morale is lowered by the report that we have depleted our inventory of pre-cooked bacon.'
Joking aside, there is no question that the sailors remaining on the lake are eager to finish the Race, and our live race commentator Winn Soldani said if the forecast for overnight breezes pans out, most of the crews will arrive at Mackinac Island in the next day.
'Around 9:00 pm CDT this evening, when a lot of the fleet should be passing Gray’s Reef, the weather models are predicting 'dead calm,' Soldani said. 'But they are also predicting that by early in the morning winds may fill a bit and hopefully bring our whole fleet home by sometime midday tomorrow. When and where the wind fills will be important.'
The 105th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, presented by Veuve Clicquot, is a 333-mile invitation only race from Chicago Yacht Club to Mackinac Island. There are 301 boats and 2,472 crew in this year’s race.