Bayview Mackinac Race - The Sailor's Own Stories....

'92 Mackinac Race
by Paul Van Tol - Eliminator 15370

Our most memorable Mac was the 1992 race which involved blowing fog going into the Cove Island buoy as we carried a chute and, in the second leg, an abrupt midnight shift in the wind to the northwest, gusting to about 25 knots on the nose. We had had a great ride all the way to Cove but awoke on Sunday morning to fog that limited our visibility to about 100 feet. As we roared along at eight knots going almost dead down with a new chute, Victory of Burnham (a much larger boat) came flying across our stern at an angle that was 20 degrees higher than we were and hurtled off into the fog. Twenty minutes later we looked to the stern and again saw them come out of the fog and carrry off into the other quarter. This was repeated four times and began to unnerve us, as the discussion was what to do if they suddenly appeared with any appreciable gain that would result in a collision course. Fortunately, they didn't show up again. Our attention was then focused on finding the Cove Island buoy. Our Loran (no GPS at that time) wasn't all that accurate, and we knew if we missed the buoy we would have to go back up wind to find it. Just as my navigator started to yell that we needed to go hard to starboard to find the buoy, we spotted it dead ahead. We found out later that our main competitor took over an hour to find the buoy and we rounded well ahead of the rest of our class. With a good lead, we were assured of a first in class when the wind went hard on the nose with about one half of the second leg to go. It was our good fortune to also finish third overall, which was definitely both a surprise and a great ending to a memorable Mackinac race.

Paul Van Tol
Eliminator 15370

If you have any stories or anecdotes about your racing the Mackinac Race or even some old racing pictures that you would like to share with us, please send them to

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