CHI-MAC Race Wx

More Cowbell2

Super Anarchist
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Great Lakes
Wait 15 minutes.  It will change again.  Chris Bedford pretty much states that below.

"At the moment, there is going to be a low pressure moving across the lake on Saturday and as a result strong northeasterly winds will carry the fleet most of the way up to the Manitou Islands and possibly Gray’s Reef. This breeze direction is likely to last until Monday morning when the wind will begin to collapse in the northern third of Lake Michigan.

"Given the northeastern direction, there will likely be somewhat of a lee along the Michigan shore for teams to find some relief, but there will be a good chance for variable wind directions the entire race. Northwest at the start, easterly, northeasterly, mild to strong to no wind speeds - it’s Lake Michigan!"

 

More Cowbell2

Super Anarchist
3,859
552
Great Lakes
The 1985 PH Mac was my first Mac race, and probably the worst.  Never been so seasick in my life.  On the plus side, never had conditions like this since then.

"1985 was deluged with applications to enter the race. When all was said, 316 boats were entered in IOR, PHRF and ULDB (multihull) classes. Believe it or not the forecasters called for weather with light to moderate winds, but did not take in account the now famous rule of 5's. Late Sunday the wind built to 25 knots out of the southwest, but as a front came through, a giant shift for the worst hit the fleet. Near Tobermory, the NA40 Maxitrol called the doctor on the Bramble that they had a crew member with chest pains. Taking all her sails down, the Bramble steamed near and sent Fleet Surgeon Calvin Hughes out with a coast guard crewman to assist. Appearing in just a wind breaker the good doctor examined the patient aboard Maxitrol and recommended an evacuation to the closest hospital. A launch came from Tobermory and the crew member boarded the launch in ten foot seas. Ironically the patient recovered in the hospital while Doctor Hughes broke his ankle walking ashore from the Bramble at Mackinac Island. Later the wind came out of the northwest and the temperature dropped into the 40's. Suddenly there not only dismastings and boats dropping out but a "mayday". On Tom Lowry's C&C35 Tomahawk's a crewman went below and found waist deep water inside the boat. It appeared to be coming from a large opening on the starboard side amidship. The sent out numerous Maydays giving their loran position. Finally all 8 members of the crew into the life raft as the decks became awash. They had managed to make contact with the Bramble and Com. Charlie Bayer Sr. on Old Bear. Charlie was about a mile and a half away and immediately altered course to lend assistance. Joining his crew of 8 on Old Bear they proceeded on to Alpena. Tomahawk later sank at 11:20 pm 26 miles west of Tobermory, Ontario. The national weather service reported the winds were in the 40 knot range and waves were 10 feet high in the lake. A total of 96 yachts dropped out of the race. 4 yachts were dismasted and several broke their booms. Helicopters lowered fuel to several yachts and one was towed into a Canadian port by a freighter. Because of this, a safety rule was added to have a minimum amount of fuel for such emergencies and is strictly enforced. To this day if you ask many old goats which was the most difficult race they had sailed in they will tell you 1985. The quote from the Detroit Free Press headline was very appropiate, "Mackinac race winner: The lake!"

 

TripleZeros

Anarchist
539
33
MI
One model still has the northerly blasting down Wisconsin and the easterly fresh, but across most of the lake. Predict wind updates in 6 hours, pick the forecast model that helps you sleep the best tonight.

 
The 1985 PH Mac was my first Mac race, and probably the worst.  Never been so seasick in my life.  On the plus side, never had conditions like this since then.

The quote from the Detroit Free Press headline was very appropiate, "Mackinac race winner: The lake!"
I was on a Chance 32/28 during that 1985 race with 6 other crew – it was Lake Huron at her worst.  We sailed past the USCG Bramble was trying to hold station and give some wind and wave cover to Maxitrol during the patient transfer.  My thought at the time was that given the sea state and how the two boats were banging against one another they would never get that guy off the boat.  

Just before sunset some of the crew became seasick and by the time it was dark there were only 2 of us running the boat.  Five were down below unable to function.  One guy is vomiting over the leeside and every time he came out he was soaked by water coming over the boat.  Now we’re sailing off the lee shore of Manitoulin Island and no one capable of giving us a loran fix.  We’re under storm jib and double reefed main and tacking through about 135 degrees.  All night long the pattern was the same – drive up a steep wave, nearly stall, then surf down the backside and crash to a halt when we hit the trough.

By daybreak we’d had enough.  During the night we only made about 15NM of forward progress with 90 NM to go.  The sea and winds were down only slightly, but still on the nose and I was very concerned how two of us could go the distance.  We sailed back to South Baymouth for shelter where we learned 2/3rds of the boats in our class had retired.   

 

JoeO

Super Anarchist
1,370
168
Chicago
I did than '85 PH-Mac, and sort of remember it a follows :

It was 2AM and pitch black. No moon, no stars. Impossible to see. Driving rain. Howling wind. The boat bucked and lurched like a rodeo bull foaming at the mouth on PCP. Cold. Bone chilling cold. Like how your hand gets when you’re rooting around in the half-melted ice in the bottom of the cooler for that last can of Old Milwaukee. But no time for happy memories now. Must focus. No time now for distractions.

He trimmed harder. Lines groaned. He groaned. Just a bit more. He could feel its effect now. A little bit more - not too much though. “If in doubt, let it out” was the old saw. Yes – that was it - perfect! Finally, he got his pipe berth in just the right position and drifted off into a psychotic slumber filled with visions of places he’d been and people he’d known, like that one barmaid he met during a stop on that delivery from Montserrat to Caracas, who asked if she could come along because she wanted to see her sister Cecilia who was going to be married next month to the son of the outhouse builder the next village over but she didn’t really like him but went along with it because she read in an old copy of “New Yorker” magazine about a guy who became fabulously wealthy by building buildings and making “developments” and so she knew in the deepest places of  her heart that Rodrigo would well and truly be the “Donaldo Trump” of the Venezualan  countryside. Sure, they would have to start small, maybe only a two-placer – but then, by employing a modular concept, they could grow and grow and grow…

His reverie was short lived as his fellow crewmate that they called “Animal” attempted the impossible by trying to squeeze his 300+ lb physique of solid toned fat into the pipe berth above him, using every lurch of the boat to extrude his belly-rolls into the 8 inch rectangular orifice formed by the frame of the pipe berth and the deck above. With each pounding wave the stresses and strains took their toll; first tiny cracks appearing in the gelcoat above, then tiny cracks appearing in his ribs and sternum. “Aaarnml, wht thhh fckn yuuutryn do me oomph, ah!” he mumbled from the berth below, gasping for breath (not a wise idea, given the stench of vomit rising from the bilge joining forces with Animal’s savory body secretions). “Oh, sorry Joe, just figured it’d be better if I was up in the top berth” Animal retorted. “There is no top berth, that’s just for gear bags you overgrown Andre the Giant impostor!” This did not dissuade the porcine corpulent one from further endeavors.

“Here - take my bunk, just let me get – oof – out of here”. With what seemed like his last breath (sucked in, no doubt), he extricated himself from the pipe berth and was launched, courtesy of the helmsman’s inerrant ability to slam the boat into the front of every 3rd oncoming wave, onto the teak-and-holly surfaced petri dish masquerading as a cabin sole. In the dim cabin, lit only by the glow of the red LEDs that made the B&G190 displays utterly unreadable and the ash at the end of the roach the navigator was bogarting, he groped for his mildewed Line 7 among the detritus. Thusly attired, he scrambled up the companionway ladder and belly-flopped onto the cockpit sole courtesy of yet another one of the helmsman’s attempts at eradicating all evidence of the boat’s forward progress.

The brain trust on deck at that moment consisted of “Tug”, aka the human cleat, tending what remained of the flogging inside-out sliver of a mainsail, and “Scool”, the barefoot antipodean dancing about in the helmsman’s cockpit cum wheel-trough, generally losing his battle with maintaining control of his flailing appendages, not to mention the wheel.

“Aaaay, maaaayte, aincha supposed to be off watch?” Scool inquired once his feet were firmly planted again on gelcoat. “Whaddyer doin’ out here in this bust up?”  

“Shaddup and give me the wheel” he barked, just as Scool slammed into another vertical wall of water, sending it blasting down upon the miserable figures huddled in the cockpit. The icy streams running down his neck and back failed to wake Tug from his reverie. Scool handed off the helm with a whirl and a twirl, and slithered down below to take his place among the groaning contingent of mal-de-mer aficionados who had transformed the cabin into such a pit of despair that would leave a Tower of London Guard quivering with fright.

2:30 AM, still pitch black, still cold as a New York feminist on Valentine’s Day. “Must be hell  ashore on a night like this”, he thought.    

 

More Cowbell2

Super Anarchist
3,859
552
Great Lakes
I was on a Chance 32/28 during that 1985 race with 6 other crew – it was Lake Huron at her worst.  We sailed past the USCG Bramble was trying to hold station and give some wind and wave cover to Maxitrol during the patient transfer.  My thought at the time was that given the sea state and how the two boats were banging against one another they would never get that guy off the boat.  

Just before sunset some of the crew became seasick and by the time it was dark there were only 2 of us running the boat.  Five were down below unable to function.  One guy is vomiting over the leeside and every time he came out he was soaked by water coming over the boat.  Now we’re sailing off the lee shore of Manitoulin Island and no one capable of giving us a loran fix.  We’re under storm jib and double reefed main and tacking through about 135 degrees.  All night long the pattern was the same – drive up a steep wave, nearly stall, then surf down the backside and crash to a halt when we hit the trough.

By daybreak we’d had enough.  During the night we only made about 15NM of forward progress with 90 NM to go.  The sea and winds were down only slightly, but still on the nose and I was very concerned how two of us could go the distance.  We sailed back to South Baymouth for shelter where we learned 2/3rds of the boats in our class had retired.   
We finished the race, as miserable as it was.  Bone chilling cold.  One guy on the rail - his feet were turning blue.  Turned out to be the dye from his topsiders bleeding through.

Crew got a couple of laughs out of my misery.  I was in the head trying to drop a deuce when the driver tacked, I came tumbling out with my foulies around my ankles. 

Second one was when they gave me a pot to puke in.  When they tacked, the pot ended up all over me.  I had enough at that point.  Went up on the rail, ate some saltines, and felt better.

The constant banging into the next wave shook the rigging so hard we thought it would come down at any moment.  Brought the boat to a stop. 

Coming up on the crest of the waves, we could see other boats around us at night.   In the troughs, we couldn't see anyone.

Helmsman saw a light ahead of us and asked the navigator what it was.  Navigator replied "there's nothing on the chart".  Driver said "there sure as shit is something".  Tacked away.  It was a light on a spot where a ship had wrecked years ago.

I did hear the mayday over the radio that was likely from Tomahawk.  Then the radio sputtered out and did not hear anything more.

 

austin1972

Super Anarchist
12,472
314
1,
I think it's going to be a fun ride. The Lake is still pretty cold - marine layers. It'll be changing its mind on whims. I'd head for Pt. Betsie and pray to my cup of coffee.

 

stayoutofthemiddle

Super Anarchist
1,423
79
Chicago
I think it's going to be a fun ride. The Lake is still pretty cold - marine layers. It'll be changing its mind on whims. I'd head for Pt. Betsie and pray to my cup of coffee.
Fun ride? If that's your definition of going up hill for 40-50 hrs in the rain and cold before being becalmed 10 miles from the finish!

 

1sailor

Super Anarchist
Why can't you reef? I can sort you out in no time.
Great offer and THANK YOU.  Reality is with all our bow mods and paint and projects, we were 5 weeks late hitting the water and have sailed the boat 4 times, never in more than 12 knots of breeze--- Our boat is largely untested and I simply dont think we're ready for what I believe this race is gonna be, esp. as I sail with my kids on the boat.

Boat came with one inshore main, 3Di, loft says ya cant add reef points to it and in 20 Mac races I rarely have needed to reef including the past couple years on the old farr 40 but  I believe the F400 in more than 20 knots will just flog the shit out of the main, likelihood of a failure seems high, and I'd rather be able to sail the rest of the season.....

That said, I wish you guys the very best on this one !

 

DryArmour

Super Anarchist
What is this mythical "Port Huron" race that people speak of?
Perry Smith and the RESOLUTE RACING TEAM can tell you...Sweet 1/4 zips too.

Perry Smith wins Bay Mac 3rd.jpg

 

doghouse

Super Anarchist
Great offer and THANK YOU.  Reality is with all our bow mods and paint and projects, we were 5 weeks late hitting the water and have sailed the boat 4 times, never in more than 12 knots of breeze--- Our boat is largely untested and I simply dont think we're ready for what I believe this race is gonna be, esp. as I sail with my kids on the boat.

Boat came with one inshore main, 3Di, loft says ya cant add reef points to it and in 20 Mac races I rarely have needed to reef including the past couple years on the old farr 40 but  I believe the F400 in more than 20 knots will just flog the shit out of the main, likelihood of a failure seems high, and I'd rather be able to sail the rest of the season.....

That said, I wish you guys the very best on this one !


Totally understand. In over 20 you definitely want to reef this boat, bummer about the sail being a no go.

 
Yes Gods speed and good luck to the CYC 2018 Mac fleet.

 I finished and survived 85. Saw the red eye of a sinking boats aerial flair. The dismasted CC 40 footer shooting down wind 10 feet to weather as they passes in the black with no running light to see or warning they were coming. The taped on foules. The rail ride being picked up off the deck with a stanton between my legs to keep me in place as we found another cresting wave to punch through in the black.. The QF Red wreck bouy of the Mordmeer to leeward just after we tacked north. 2 min. More goin west could have been a real problem.The apple that finished my fun sail. The Naval Commander who thought we needed to be on the rail, just after some one said it’s not to bad sitting in the back hiding from the green water coming back behind the cabin top.

Saw the retired fleet in Alpena. It rained inside the boat in a rain storm on the way back. Every deck fitting that could leaked. Drying out the boat after a Thunder Bay storm and the visit to the Alpena laundry mat to have dry sleeping bags.

We do have the silk screened 1985 BYC Mac Race cooks smock. I dought any food was cooked after Cove on any boat that race.

Windy

 
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