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Photoboy
07-28-2014, 12:18 PM
Graham Garrenton provides a recap of the 2014 Chi-Mac race and the after party!

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The 106th Race to Mackinac was shaping up to be a chilly one, water temps in the upper lake still in the 40ís just a month before the race. After almost 95% ice coverage this winter it wasnít a surprise either. Fortunately for us warm weather people from Virginia, there was a significant uptick in temps in the intervening time period, with readings in the mid to upper 50ís on the lake, touching low 60ís in places. Coupled with the classic southerly flow of not Canadian breeze, helped give a pretty comfortable experience.

The Meridian gang was back this year as a complete team for the first time since the bombing and tragic 2011 race which saw two fatalities (I had sailed two Mac races in the meantime on another boat). That year was a bittersweet one for us as we had a glorious ride, finishing Sunday night, only to be informed as we hit the dock about the tragedy that had unfolded on the race course. This year was forecast as light to moderate southerly, with low thunderstorm/squall chances, which made everyone feel better that along with a sharper eye to safety, there wouldnít be a repeat.

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The race began inauspiciously as we noticed very late there was actually a check in time in the harbor at 1230 we had missed and our start wasnít until 120pm outside. Long story short, good thing we motor fast and we made it with 5 minutes to spare. Start was a typical light affair, with a little more east direction than forecast. Being a 38 foot boat in a class of 45í-50í yachts is interesting, but going upwind is a struggle. Pleasantly surprised to actually be hanging on we kept ourselves in the game through the first afternoon and evening. The first big sorting out came as several boats dug in to the west hard, while some of us made as fast up the course as possible. The forecast was for more pressure north, so the reasoning was to get there as quickly as we could. At dawn, the move seemed to be pretty strong as we were sitting second in section on the water and corrected. As anyone who has done a Mac can attest though, there is danger on the eastern shore.

Not putting full faith into our Gribs (a mistake), we dug in too deep. And faced with an utterly brutal gybe out, we waffled entirely too long. The boats just 5 or 6 miles out had about 5 knots more pressure and freight trained in from the outside. We had slipped to fourth on the water and deep corrected. By dusk, the call came in to gybe out and take the lumps as there was clearly pressure out there, and we rolled the dice on heading outside the Manitouís (a hero or zero move usually, but safer this time due to wind direction). By dawn Monday we had passed the Farr 49 on boatspeed alone, and the SC52 on a combo of speed and going outside, to get back into second on the water, which by now, was the goal. The increased pressure and angle decrease to a fetch through predawn allowed us to finally drop the hammer and motor by these guys, culminating with popping the A0 around Grayís Reef and heading home down the Straight of Mackinac at a comfy 14 knots.


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Saddled with a midpack corrected finish, we did what any self respecting crew would, started drinking at the Pink Pony over breakfast. The island served up itís usual festive atmosphere, with rum generally lubing all sorts of hilarity. Names to be withheld, but in order of appearance, friend asleep in lawn chair at Pony, person Iím convinced is emotionally unstable defending said friend irrationally as friend would be first to laugh and point at others n similar predicament, two crew members (plus yours truly) learning never, EVER drinking with cruising class people on their boat, as the will put you completely out, one crew member trying and failing to get laid by another possibly emotional unstable cruiser after getting turned away at the Pony hot tub (already in service with a couple going at it) and a rented apartment (roommate throwing the block), and being so hungover that disassembling the boat a vang turning block got exploded because someone forgot to unhook the vang when we picked the rig. So after vowing to get home and sleep and never think about sailboat racing again, we are counting the days to the 17th Race to Mackinac.


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Prince of Whales
07-28-2014, 01:57 PM
Great read! Thanks for the write up. Question tho, when you said there was a couple in the hot tub going at it, do you mean cleaning it, fisticuffs or something else?

doghouse
07-29-2014, 11:38 AM
If by cleaning you mean guy cleaning a girls pipes, then yes. I'm not sure if fisticuffs were involved or not.

Charlie Tuna
07-29-2014, 12:10 PM
Pink Pony has a reservation system for hot tub coitus?

doghouse
07-29-2014, 01:07 PM
I'm guessing it's first come first serve.

IOR Geezer
07-29-2014, 01:19 PM
There's some innuendo in that statement.

Nice honest reporting.

Bitchin Bow Dude
07-29-2014, 02:17 PM
Are there photos or video of the hot tub incident?

doghouse
07-29-2014, 03:57 PM
There's some innuendo in that statement.

Nice honest reporting.

I try.


Are there photos or video of the hot tub incident?

I don't know, but I will ask.

Photoboy
07-30-2014, 09:46 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kySBOaTCcsY

Here is a pretty decent overall video on the race. Pink Pony is in there, initial perusal indicates the hot tub scene was deleted.

doghouse
07-31-2014, 07:36 AM
They always omit the good stuff.