Unplugged Sailing

More than just a boat

Mack Race 2007 Epilog

Yessiree, we gots our money’s worth.  74 hours on the boat.  It’s the same way that I feel when I golf – my cost per stroke is really low.  Our 2007 edition of the Mack race was one for the records.  Just getting to the starting line this year was a challenge.  Cancelled plane flights, blown tires on I-696 during rush hour, an overheating diesel engine on the way to the start line all consumed a good deal of our usual concentration and focus getting ready for the race.  However, we made it to the start line just in time, scoped out the competition, and got a pretty decent start. 

Beginning of the race, winds were out of the north and a good chop had built up overnight – a beat into these types of conditions is not Unplugged’s best point of sail!  This lasted most of Saturday and we beat up the side of the Thumb, continually tacking closer to shore where the seas were somewhat smaller.  We knew we were going to get passed by most of the boats, and we did.  By late Saturday, the bottom dropped out of the wind and the forecasted high parked itself over the middle of the lake which would sit there for the next several days.  This gave us a chance to fix the engine and replace the raw water impeller that had disintegrated. Everything seemed fine…..but not quite as we found out on the return trip. 

We sat in sight of Harbor Beach for what seemed like forever (well, 12 hours anyway).  GPS even recorded us going backwards for a while.  Mercifully, a bit of air got us moving and heading up the rhumb line and we were able to launch the spinnaker. Now this is where Unplugged starts to come into her own (remember, this is a Catalina 30) and the crew goes to work catching other boats.   We decided to go a bit east and see if we could pick up a bit more air and take advantage of the expected wind shift.  As we crossed the 45th parallel (as in latitude) we heard 3 boats in our class ahead of us during the call-in to the Coast Guard and expected a couple more were ahead of us that we missed.  By the time we reached the Weather Buoy our better position on the course had allowed us to move ahead of the other 3 boats and focus on the other 2 that we thought were ahead of us. 

A great breeze pushed us up the rhumb line to Mackinaw Island on a close reach and some of the finest sailing there is.  That lasted till Monday night and the wind, again, disappeared about 20 miles from Spectacle Reef (a lighthouse on a reef in the middle of Lake Huron which you don’t want to run into.).  Monday night we managed to eke out a few more miles to get close to Bois Blanc island and we entered the windless parking lot of becalmed vessels sitting on a perfect plane of deep blue glass.  We appealed to the wind gods, loudly playing authentic Dakota Indian war chants and were rewarded with a small bit of wind.  Most of Tuesday we fought for whispers of air, constantly moving sails to catch each zephyr.  Furoughed brows began to appear on the crew as our supply of Tootsie Roll Pops dwindled and we wondered if we would ever finish.  Finally, a 10 knot breeze came through the Straights and we finished to the cheers of the crowd that were already at the awards party.  We were pretty confident that we had earned a spot on the podium as James Brown’s “I Feel Good” blared on the speakers pulling into the docks right in with the GL 70’s!

MacRaceTrack

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August 1, 2007 - Posted by | Captain Tim, Mac Race, Race Results

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