24 July 2013

2013 Chicago to Mackinac (Part #3, a.k.a. The End)

Wash, Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
I guess we could say Sunday and Monday into Tuesday sounded like that. But more like "Drift, Calm, Breeze, Drift."

When I went off shift Saturday night, we were humming right along upwind at 6.5 kts; the winds showed no signs of lessening, and I fell asleep listening to the current of water flow past the hull.

I woke up to barely holding on to 1.0 knots. In fact, it rapidly fell to under that.

And there it would stay, except for short bursts, alllll the way through the finish.

Some things are hard to explain
George and I doublehanding Maskwa
The problem with slow boat speed, is that even moving around effects the speed of the boat. You need to make sure the boat is heeled properly so you are using the entire waterline, so you need everyone to hang out on one side of the boat (usually where the sun was beating down.) Speaking of which, we did not have a single cloud Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday.

Regular Mac racers will recognize the biting flies. Of course, it was nice and hot, too, and with no wind, belowdecks it was a good 100+F, and nothing to cool you down; so you were out of the sun, but it was more hot and stuffy. Not always a fair trade.

Was almost a Stew Codpiece
We found that using the frozen solid packs of beef stew as coolers we could wear, we would bring our body temps down into normal range. Everyone was ready to sport the Stew Look

We managed through the shifts. We slowly worked our way up the lake; we actually had good boat speed for a few hours as we worked our way into the Manitou Passage, but then we were sucked into another hole.
Skipper by night
The good thing, is that we kept managing to sneak out at the top of the hole as it was developing. The winds would freshen from and out of the north, and we would always be on the tail end of the deal, but we did find a way to keep grabbing on to the wind.

It ended up being a 72 hour race. On the long side for SURE.

another sunset.... right!
Too much time to reflect
We all agreed that being on a slow boat on the Mac was certainly better than just about anything else we would otherwise be doing. So we enjoyed ourselves. You find games to keep your minds occupied, like come up with nicknames for each other (actually, we only looked for nicknames for Dave; a few of them stuck, too!)

We did not really see many boats from our section, which is unusual. Normally we go neck and neck with a boat from our section for at least part of the race, but once we were gone from sight on Saturday, that was it.

Don't even tell me I lost my toothbrush, too!
After passing under the bridge, it got really hard. We were 5 miles away, but we were doing 5 kts... then we were 4 miles away, doing 4 kts... then 3 miles away, doing 3 kts. It kept taking us longer and longer to work our way across the distances.

Looks like the crane is loading the Grand Hotel on board!

We had a big celebration at 1 mile to go, even though we were over an hour from the finish. We were staring at that lighthouse for quite a while! Thankfully we were south of the shipping channel when a
So close and yet so far
freighter came through; I am posting video of it here. You can hear us... you got a Lake Michigan Perfecta out of the video... a Lake Cargo Carrier, 2 sailboats, a Mac Island Ferry, and a powerboat that disappears just out of sight behind the cargo carrier.  Fun stuff.

We finally made it across the finish line, but with the TOT ORR set for Off Wind, we were physically behind many boats in our section, and winded up 10th out of 18, with #19 as a drop out. We sailed well, we had fun, and we finished.

We had great land support, with loved ones meeting us on the island. We all went various ways once we were off the island, but Maskwa will be back next year, ready and roaring up the course once again.

On to some more racing, now!




ay said...

Awesome! I heard it was a slow race this year. Glad you had a safe race and looks like it was fun. I hope to sail again with you all soon!

ay said...

Awesome! I heard it was a slow race this year. Glad you had a safe race and looks like it was fun. I hope to sail again with you all soon!

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