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The 101st running of the Race to Mackinac

The skipper in the Manitous

The skipper in the Manitous

Very slow race yacht race this year – not much wind. We didn’t finish until Tuesday afternoon, usually we finish sometime during the day on Monday. The Valkyrie was doing well through about 2/3’s of the race, holding our own, near the front of our section when we took a fateful gybe too late into the Manitou islands passage and got stuck too close in to land as the wind shifted and pushed us in. We bobbed there helplessly as all the little boats we had passed over the previous days slowly caught us and passed us in the middle of the channel, and all we could do was watch.  In frustration we slowly worked our way up the coast – and I mean slowly, 0-.5 knots per hour for a good 15-20 hours, enough to drive a crew bonkers. I did actually

Banana Phil

Banana Phil

enjoy the longer race – often when the race is shorter I am looking forward to it being over by this time.  On the third day I was in the groove ,

Homestretch

Homestretch

used to sleeping only every three hours for just three hours, enjoying the 3am to 6 am shifts – watching the black sky turn slowly less dark in the east, then blue, then finally a tiny bright orange sliver peek out over the horizon and speed up into the air, bringing warmth to us and allowing us to shed layers after the coldest part of the night. 

Dawn in the Manitous, Lake Michigan

Dawn in the Manitous, Lake Michigan

We showed up at Mackinac just in time for the rum party on the front lawn of the

Rum Party Grand Hotel Mac 2009

Rum Party Grand Hotel Mac 2009

Grand Hotel, a spectacular event where we had a blast and carried on to hut tub and party at the Pink Pony where

Rum Party!

Rum Party!

apparently peeing in the pool is preferable to wandering into the hotel wet and in your underwear to find a bathroom as I found out the hard way, next time I’ll know.  The next morning I had breakfast with some crew members and was off to catch the ferry back to the mainland and finding my folks’ car to journey across the 5 mile long Mackinac bridge, through the U.P. and into Ontario and the north channel.

Sunrise during the Mac Race

Sunrise during the Mac Race

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