2017 Chicago to Mackinac Sailing Race

Absolute Chicago-Mackinac, photo by Jim Sorbie

When I wandered down to Fishtown in Leland yesterday afternoon, the number one topic of conversation was the annual Chicago to Mackinac sailing race. The 333-mile race from Chicago’s Navy Pier to Mackinac Island is kind of a big deal in communities along Michigan’s western coast like mine. I almost always know a couple of people who are racing, and after the race gets underway, you’ll hear a lot of speculation about the time that the boats will enter the Manitou Passage and then what time they’ll finish at Mackinac Island.

One of the things that’s particularly cool to me is that the Chicago to Mac is one of the few events that ties the whole community to the weather and condition of Lake Michigan. People will take boats out to watch them, or climb Pyramid Point or Whaleback for a view of the boats if they stream past when it’s light out. If you’re within distance of a community like Leland, Frankfort, Ludington, Elk Rapids or up near the Mackinac Bridge, consider checking out likely times boats will pass, grab the binoculars and see if you can get a glimpse of the racers.

Jim writes: Summer Flashback – We’re trying desperately to pass an old friend on the run in to the Island – no luck!

View his photo from near the end of the 2013 race photo background bigtacular and see more in his Mac Races (Chicago & Port Huron) slideshow.

PS: Definitely check out their 2016 Race Photo Contest winning photo!

2016 Chicago to Mackinac Sailing Race

Chicago to Mac Sailboats & Mackinac Bridge

Sailboats and Mackinac, photo by Alex Duncan

On July 23, 2016, over 350 sailboats will leave the Chicago Yacht club for the longest annual freshwater race in the world. 2016 marks the 108th annual Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac aka the Chicago to Mac. On their Race History page the CYC shares that:

Starting in 1898 with a mere five boats, The Mac has evolved into a world-class sporting event. After the first race in 1898, the Race to Mackinac was not held for five years until the second race in 1904. By 1906, the race had developed a healthy following and, in that year, the original Mackinac trophy was purchased. The race has seen occasional sustained violent weather in the blows of 1911, 1937 and 1970. After gale force winds took down most of the fleet in the Mac of 1911, the finish in the 1912 and 1913 races was changed to Harbor Springs on Little Traverse Bay instead of Mackinac Island. Race organizers felt the shorter distance was safer.

From 1914 until 1916 the Mac was back to its full distance until WWI. From 1917-1920 there were no Mac races due to the strains of the War, which took away yachtsmen and put many boats out of commission. Since 1921, the Race to Mackinac has run consecutively every year, remains the longest annual freshwater distance race, and is recognized as one of the most prestigious sailing races in the world.

Read on for lots more including an account of the first race. If you’re wondering when to catch a glimpse of them, Pyewacket set the monohull record in 2002 with a time of 23 hours, 30 minutes and 34 seconds. The race starts at noon on Saturday and usually takes between 40-60 hours to finish.

View Alex’s photo from 2011 background bigtacular and see more in his Pure Michigan slideshow.

More summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Pure Michigan’s Lake Effect Gallery

Holland, Mi  Sailboat City by Cyndie M

Holland, MI – Sailboat City, photo by Cyndie M

Over the weekend, Pure Michigan rolled out a new hashtag on Instagram, Twitter and Vine. You can click those links to check out #PureMichiganLakeEffect on each of the services or head over to the Pure Michigan Lake Effect Gallery to see how to share yours and what kind of summer fun people are up to in the Great Lakes State!

View Cyndie’s photo background big and see more in her slideshow.

The DN Ice Boat and the 2014 Central Regional Ice Boating Championship

DN hiking it, Elk Lake- Elk Rapids, Michigan

DN hiking it, Elk Lake- Elk Rapids, Michigan, photo by rickrjw

Last night I learned from my iceboating friend Andy that the 2014 Central Regional DN Iceboating Championship will be held this Saturday & Sunday (March 15-16, 2014) on West Grand Traverse Bay. The primary launch site will be the DNR launch at Hilltop Rd. and M-22, approximately 9 miles north of Traverse City and 5 miles south of Suttons Bay on the Leelanau Peninsula. More details at DNA America.

Wikipedia explains that the International DN is a class of ice boat:

The name stands for Detroit News, where the first iceboat of this type was designed and built in the winter of 1936-1937. Archie Arrol was a master craftsman working in the Detroit News hobby shop, and together with iceboaters Joe Lodge and Norman Jarrait designed a racing boat they called the “Blue Streak 60”, later to become known as the “DN 60”. In 1937 a group of 50 laymen worked with Archie in the hobby shop to produce the first fleet of the new iceboats. These first boats broke during the initial season, and after Norm and Joe modified the design to increase the strength, the group got back together to build a second set of iceboats in 1938.

This design, featuring a narrow, single-person cockpit, three steel blades in tricycle style arrangement and a steeply raked mast, remains to this day the most popular ice boat design in use.

…The class has a devout following. The International DN Ice Yacht Racing Association (IDNIYRA) is the governing body for the class. It publishes standards for boat design and allows enthusiasts to assemble for races and to share good ice locations. The DN is raced extensively in the northern United States, Canada, and throughout Northern Europe, with World Championships alternating between North American and Europe each year.

One of the reasons that the DN Ice Boat Class has become so popular over the years has been largely in part to how transportable and fast they truly are. With a steady 10-12 mile per hour wind and good ice conditions, the DN, when piloted properly, can reach speeds in excess of 50 miles per hour. And with just a 12-15 mile per hour steady wind, the DN ice boat can reach a readily attainable 55–65 miles per hour, providing a thrilling rush of purely unadulterated bone chilling wind powered ice sailing.

Rick took this photo of a DN on Elk Lake almost exactly 5 years ago, and March is prime season for ice boating in Michigan due to typical snow melts that lay the thickest ice of the year bare. GT Bay is nearly in my front yard and I can assure you that the ice is thick and almost like glass this year! View his photo bigger and see lots more in his Iceboating slideshow.

More ice boating on Michigan in Pictures including one of my favorite videos, Ice Boat vs Chevy!

Ice Boating on Lake Charlevoix

Gordon in his Nite- Lake Charlevoix, Boyne City, Michigan

Gordon in his Nite- Lake Charlevoix, Boyne City, Michigan, photo by rickrjw.

Yesterday we took a trip under the ice of Lake Charlevoix, so it was very fitting that this morning Rick shared a photo from the other side of the ice on Lake Charlevoix! Our recent warm spell has cleared the snow and smoothed the ice on many lakes in Michigan, and that has brought ice boaters out in force.

Sail Michigan’s Michigan iceboating page explains

There are some peculiarities to ice boating (ice yachting) which are not seen with “soft water” sailing. First, most iceboats carry a single individual (so the need for crew is removed), however two or more person boats do exist. Second, because of the speeds involved (iceboats in general can travel 5-10x wind speed), ice sailors wear protective gear, including helmets. Third, iceboats do not require standard ramps for launching. And lastly, an intimate knowledge of ice conditions and lake topography is essential for a safer experience (although ice boating cannot be made 100% “safe”).

The iceboating season can’t start until snow-free hard ice is established on the lakes, usually after Christmas.

Check this photo out background big in in Ricks Iceboating 2012 slideshow!

Here’s one of our favorite iceboating videos: Ice boat vs Chevy on Lake St. Clair!

And Go

And Go

And Go, photo by rickrjw.

…and have a good weekend!

Check this out bigger, in Rick’s DN Central Races Boyne City, Michigan 01/15-1/17/2010 set and for lots more of Michigan’s best ice boating action, head over to elklakeiceboating.com.

Magic: Ice boating in Michigan

2006_01_20icebt042

2006_01_20icebt042, photo by gretchdorian.

Gretchen Dorian has a great set of photos from a day of DN ice boating at Indian Lake State Park near Manistique. – makes a great slideshow!

Michigan has a long history of iceboating. The Detroit News’ excellent Rearview Mirror series includes Sailing on Lake St. Clair’s icy winter winds. They write that ice boating or ice yachting began over 4000 years ago in Northern Europe and was a source of entertainment in Michigan lumber camps. DN IceboatThe article also relates what the “DN” you see on so many ice boat sails stands for:

During the winter of 1936-37, in the sawdust covered hobby shop of the Detroit News, master craftsman Archie Arroll along with ice boaters Joseph Lodge and Norman Jarrait designed a racing ice boat they called the Blue Streak 60. Later the craft would come to be called the DN 60, the DN standing for the Detroit News, and the 60 referring to the size of the sail. Howard Boston, whose family remains in the sailing business, helped construct the first sails. (Doyle Boston Sailmakers of Holland)

Ice Boating Timeline reminds us not to forget about the other side of the state and Gull Lake and (as usual) Wikipedia can tell you more about iceboats & iceboating.

Update: I was just sent a nice video featuring Jack Jacobs (owner of Magic) talking about ice boating.