I was excited to be given the opportunity to ride along on the media boat for this year’s 2014 Port Huron To Mackinac Sailboat Race. It was an amazing and memorable and I’m grateful to have had this experience.
A perfect day for a perfect start of the Port Huron to Mackinac Sailboat Race. The sun was shinning brightly as the sailors raised their colorful spinnakers to grab the south wind. The sails filled like colorful balloons bouncing across the open water.
Before we got to that point we have to go back in time a bit. Port Huron, Michigan sits at the intersection of Black River and St Clair River. The St Clair is deep and wide enough for freighters to travel through on their way to drop their loads at many different ports around the state, country, and world. Up stream from the St Clair River sits Lake Huron (one of the 5 Great Lakes) and the location for the start of the race.
For a few nights before the race the sailboats take up residence in the Black River. For the last 90 years, for a few days in July the Black River becomes a kaleidoscope of masts looking like spiderwebs filling the skies. People wander the sidewalks and docks admiring the over 200 sailboats that range in size from 29 feet to 86 feet.
As I mentioned above, on the day of the race I was fortunate enough to be on a media boat. We slowly moved through the Black River jocking with the sailboats heading out through St Clair River to Lake Huron.
Out on Lake Huron the water was smooth and the breeze gentle. The sailboats cut through the water as they waited patiently for their leg of the race and there was easy ribbing from one boat to another.
The first boat to arrive was Windquest finishing in 27 hours ,46 minutes and 59 seconds. They reported that they had every type of sailing conditions possible. From an amazing start, to drifting conditions with no wind, downpours of rain, and fog where they could barely see the bow of the boat. While they were the first boat to arrive it was predicted with corrected time they might not win their division.
I recommend anyone in the area, visiting, or with an interest in boats or sailing to attend the start of next year’s race. It’s a memorable experience and is a fantastic way to spend a summer day.