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Newsletter - Friday - 7/16/2010


Mark, rules, light wind are order of day for Port Huron to Mackinac race

Sailboats compete in last year's Port Huron to Mackinac race.   (ERIC SEALS/DFP)The mark will be in the right place, which everyone will like. The IRC rating rule is the order of day, which not everyone likes. The initial weather forecasts call for a lighter air race -- which no one will like.

But they'll race in the Pure Michigan Bayview Mackinac event no matter what.

"You do the race for the challenge. And you're with a group of people that you enjoy being with, have a good time with and you want to take the adventure together," said Dan Gidcumb of West Bloomfield.   more...

Bernida gets second wind

GOOD AS NEW: Bernida, a 32-foot sloop, sailed in the first Port Huron-to-Mackinac race in 1925. The boat was found in Frankfort and has been restored.DETROIT -- In its prime, Bernida was a classic racing machine that outperformed a dozen boats in the first Port Huron-to-Mackinac race in 1925. The 32-foot boat, an R-Class sloop with an open cockpit -- no cabin for the crew -- won again two years later.Lost for decades, the Bernida, restored to all its former glory, will be on display in the Mackinac Island marina this summer. Its owner hopes to race it to Mackinac Island in 2011.   more...

Cooper Jr. returns home for annual race

CooperSteve Cooper is one of the more accomplished sailors in the Blue Water Area.

But despite having sailed in 45 Port Huron-to-Mackinac races, he said both of his sons -- Steve Jr. and Eric -- are "beyond where I am" when it comes to sailing.

He went so far as to say Steve Jr., 30, would be a "sought-after professional" sailor if he weren't working.

"He's intelligent, he's aggressive and he's agile," Cooper Sr. said.


Mackinac race sailors torn on GPS use

FIT TO BE TIED: Jack Crawford, right, of Grand Haven is seen behind Thomas Beebe, also from Grand Haven, as Beebe ties a bumper to a post at the docking site of Windancer on Tuesday on the Black River. Beebe will be Windancer's bowman during the Port Huron-to-Mackinac race.Paul Latham doesn't have a problem with friends and family knowing his whereabouts during the Port Huron-to-Mackinac race.  But, having other competitors in the sailboat race track his course is an entirely different story.

Mackinac race sponsor Pure Michigan equipped race boats with GPS units last year so their courses could be charted between Port Huron and Mackinac Island. People could follow the boats on Pure Michigan's website -- michigan.org/gps -- and will be able to do the same this year. Last year, the website received 70,770 hits during the five days surrounding the race.

Like Latham, many sailors see pros and cons with the system.  more...

Port Huron-Mackinac race perilous, full of horrors

Stosh Popowich, 64, of Harrison Township holds the jib sheet as the crew looks at the sail adjustments on the sailboat Burden IV on Lake St. Clair on Tuesday, July 13, 2010.   (ROB WIDDIS/Special to the Free Press)No one has ever died in the Port Huron to Mackinac race. But that doesn't mean there haven't been plenty of dangerous moments on Lake Huron. Gordon Lightfoot's boat, the Golden Goose, was struck by lightning. A sailor from Night Train fell overboard and got tangled with the lines and sail, bobbing like a tea bag in stormy waters. Burden IV caught fire. Monkey Face nearly capsized. In 1926, only four of the 12 boats that started the first race finished because of storms. more...

Mackinac race ratings can be confusing

Don't feel bad if you don't understand the handicapping and rating system in the Port Huron-to-Mackinac race.

Not many people do.

"It's confusing," said Nick Ward of Fort Gratiot, who will crew on Fine Line. "It can even be confusing for people that race."

A lot goes into the rating systems, which help decide the winners of those coveted pennants given away on the island. A boat's rating is combined with its time to the island to create a corrected time, which determines the winners.  more...

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