I’ve stood for many years on the shore of the mouth of the Black River and St. Clair River in Port Huron, Michigan taking picture after picture of the sailboats at the start of the Port Huron To Mackinac Sailboat Race.
Judy and I would go from one city park to another trying to get shots of the sailboat race. I can remember standing on the banks of the river watching the boats slowing slipping by wishing somehow I could be part of the race.
This year I was fortunate enough to be invited on the the media boat, Goose. It was an amazing opportunity.
As the boat motored down the Black River we were met by crowds of people lining the shores through downtown Port Huron.
We were lucky enough to be towing the first boat to ever win the Port Huron to Mackinaw race in 1925, the Bernida. The crowds on the river bank erupted into cheers when they saw it. Even applause resonated from the Canadian shoreline.
We had to tow this boat to the starting line, because unlike boats today it has no engine. Notice in the picture how small it looks and how close to the water it rides. The six member team has to exist on the turn of the century boat for at least two days and nights on their way to Mackinaw Island.
Once we reached the area of the starting line the beauty of water and sky meeting only broken by the the masts of the sailboats was breathtaking.
For the first few races the wind was strong enough and coming from the right direction so the colorful spinnakers were unfurled.
The boats gently titled as the wind caught their sails and they began their journey to Mackinaw Island. The intensity of the sailors’ excitement only increased this experience.
Later the wind died and the contestants had to creep across the line when the gun was fired.
Then the big boys came out. They all slice the water like a knife.
Windquest at 86′ did the unbelievable. They sent a member of their team up the mast to scout for the wind.
There he was towering over everything in sight strapped in by a rope looking for the slightest indication of a breeze.
What ever he told them worked, for they were soon gliding by every other competitor.
While standing on the river bank or at the beach has always been thrilling there is nothing quite like being in the mix. Seeing the combinations of sailboats, power boats, cruisers and freighters up close got my heart thumping and my adrenalin flowing. It is an opportunity I will never forget.
If you ever have the chance come to the Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race, rent a boat and be part of this mix. You will never regret it.
Nice! I would love to attend something like this! Great pictures!
Janet W. says
I’d love to go watch this on a beautiful day! Nice pictures!
Jenny Sims says
Looks like a gorgeous day, and a thrilling race! Hopefully you also got to drink some Bell’s!
Christy C. says
If I lived close to that area, I would love to take my husband here.
I’ve never been on a sailboat but it’s sure on my list, looks like a lot of fun. I have also never been to Mackinaw Island but I’ve heard its a beautiful place. Something else to put on my list.
Ellen B says
really nice – I would love to watch something like this
Michael Gardner says
This review makes me want to learn to sail. It looks so peaceful and fun and it would take me to a happy place.
Sue C. says
Sounds like a great time. I love watching sail boats!
Christopher Williams says
I never knew sailboats could race : D
Tricia Nightowlmama says
never been to one but sure looked exciting
Lolli @ Better in Bulk says
What an incredible experience! I was shocked to see the shots of the man up on the mast. I didn’t realize how huge the sailboats were!
Shell Fruscione says
That’s so awesome! I would love to even see something like that, let alone be a part of it!
I don’t know why, but I have always LOVED sailboats. I would love to go sailing one day just to say I did.
Oh boy – this sounds like an exciting adventure. I have never been sailing, but I do like being out on the water, and getting to observe these boats in action would be a real treat! :)
Oh my, I can’t believe that guy on top of the sail like that! That takes some guts and good footing!
Wow, that looks like a fun race to watch. We love boating but never raced. I think it looks like a great time!
Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell says
So cool! I can practically hear the sounds of the sails whipping in the wind. What a glorious experience!
how COOL! i love sailing! what an experience for you!!
Betty Baez says
Wow!!!! Gasp I can’t believe that man was up that high, I’ve never been on a boat before not too sure how nervous I’ll be my first time
Ashley - Embracing Beauty says
What a beautiful place! That looks like a fun day!
I still remember the one time we took the ferry to Mackinac and watching a bunch of yachts sailing together. An awesome sight.
Beeb Ashcroft says
Awesome photos, that looks like fun!
JD Blosser says
I love Bells Beer, never had the chance to get up there to catch a race though. Cool photos
Heather Zeh says
Looks like a great time! Would love to do that one day!
Sandy VanHoey says
We had a friend who use to enter the races there. Not sure if he still does or not. I am from that area so I know exactly what you’re talking about It’s awesome!