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Sailboats Race To Mackinac Island This Saturday

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(MARTIN BUREAU/Getty Images)

(MARTIN BUREAU/Getty Images)

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PORT HURON (WWJ) – More than 100,000 spectators are expected to gather along the shores of southern Lake Huron to watch one of the oldest yacht races in the world – the Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race.

Nearly 250 boats and 2,500 sailors will ripple the waters from Port Huron to Mackinac Island this Saturday, July 14.  The 88-year-old race is hosted and organized by the Bayview Yacht Club in Detroit.

Larry Bell, of Bell’s Brewery, said Bell’s is proud to be a sponsor of the race.

“This is our fourth year being involved with the race, our second year as title sponsor,” said Bell.  “This is just something that I’ve always wanted to be involved with. I think this represents Michigan.”

Bell said the race is a great economic boost for the state.

“It helps book tourism in Detroit, Port Huron, Mackinac Island,” said Bell.  “We sell a lot of beer, which is good for our company, and we get to help support the state.  I really enjoy this sponsorship.”

The sailboats range in size from 27 to 86 feet and will run one of two courses.  The longer course, a 254 nautical mile ‘Cove Island’ course, takes the boats to a buoy in northeast Lake Huron close to Cove Island, Canada.  The shorter course is a 204 nautical mile ‘Shore Course’ where the boats will follow close to the Michigan coast.

The 5 to 8 person crews will begin lining up their boats in the harbor around 8 a.m. on Saturday.  Racing starts by class at 11:30 a.m. with each of the 14 classes departing in ten minute interviews until 1:40 p.m.

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