PORT HURON (WWJ) – The sailboats are in the water for the Bells’ Beer Bayview Port Huron to Mackinac Race. Commodore of the Bayview Yacht Club and skipper of the “Pirate”, Jeff Henderson, is in the race.
“We call it the Jewel of July. This really is a spectacular scene up on the island and in Port Huron,” said Henderson.
Henderson is a nine time winner of the Port Huron to Mackinac Race .
He says he’s in it to win it again having spent the last year and a half building the sailboat.
“We’re a little over 4 knots of speed,” said Henderson. ”We’re really gonna be working the Michigan shoreline because all the weather forecasts and all the predictions are dictating that we kind of go that way.”
About 250 sailboats in 18 classes are competing in the 88th annual event which follows two courses on Lake Huron from Port Huron to Mackinac Island.
Henderson says they should arrive on Mackinac Island on Monday.
The Mackinac Island Insider notes that there are two race courses in the Port Huron to Mackinac Race in order to allow more participation with yachts ranging from 26 feet to more than 80 feet in length.
The Cove Island Course is around 298 miles long and is typically followed by boats 50 feet long or longer. This course takes the boats across Lake Huron to Canada’s Georgian Bay. It can be a treacherous route to the winds and storms that often build up along the Canadian shoreline of Lake Huron and collide with the western winds coming across Michigan. Many skippers choose this course in order to experience the challenge of open water racing.
The Shore Line Course is 235 miles long and is designated primarily for boats 27 to 40 feet in length. The route closely follows the Lake Huron shoreline of Michigan and is popular in part because family and friends can more readily track the progress of their favorite sailor’s boat from land.