The 97th consecutive running of the Bayview Mackinac Race, with approximately 2,000 sailors competing, begins at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday on Lake Huron, just north of the Blue Water Bridge off Port Huron. The race concludes at Mackinac Island.
According to race officials, each year the economic impact of the race on the communities involved is approximated between $30 million and $59 million (depending on weather conditions), making it one of the premier events hosted in the state of Michigan, and one with a significant economic impact to a host of local businesses, especially in tourism.
“Last year, we were very proud to run the race to a safe and successful conclusion to keep our record of consecutive races run intact, but no one would say it was like past races,” says Greg Thomas, chairman of the 2021 Bayview Mackinac Race.
“This year, we expect things to be more normal, the number of boats and sailors is just about back to where it had been, we have some new boats and some old boats coming back, as well as crews coming from all over the country. We are also holding our post-race awards ceremony on the Island.”
The renewed interest in the race has brought with it new and returning sponsors, according to race organizers. DraftKings Inc. joins Atwater Brewery and the Bayview Mackinac Race Foundation as presenting sponsors for the event. Other new sponsors include Faygo Beverages, Flagstar Bank, Lake Huron Medical, and Sika Corp.
“It is tremendous to see the race come back so strong after what we all went through in 2020,” says Chuck Stormes, commadore of Bayview Yacht Club in Detroit. “To have so many sponsors signing on to participate is a testament to the tradition of the race and all the hard work and preparation the Mackinac Race Committee has done over the past year.”
Atwater Brewery President Mark Rieth says, “As Detroit’s hometown brewery, Atwater is proud to continue our support of the iconic Bayview to Mackinaw race to the island. We’re happy to support this Pure Michigan event and help sailors, spectators, and passersby enjoy the day.”
Other sponsors include Grand Hotel, the official hotel of the race; Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry, the official ferry sponsor of the race; Aitken & Ormond Insurance; Frankenmuth Insurance; and Coral Reef Apparel. Tito’s Handmade Vodka, the official Vodka sponsor is returning after a year off. Longtime sponsors Aitken & Ormond Insurance and Frankenmuth Insurance are co-sponsors of the Kids Club at the Island Awards Presentation.
On the water, one change announced last fall is the Bayview Yacht Club Mackinac Race Authority has adopted the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) Rating System to score the race. The rule will correct the elapsed time difference of competing boats and put them on the same level. The new rating system offers competitors several benefits, including increased transparency, lower costs for one-design racing boats, and a better user experience for other competitors.
“Over the past several years, we have looked for an equitable rating system for the boats and we believe the ORC system will ensure any sailors interested in competing have ample opportunity,” Thomas says.
All competitors will sail on the 204 nautical miles (235 statute miles) Shore Course along the Michigan shoreline heading west to the Mackinac Island Finish Line. Like last year, boat’s that in previous years would sailed on the Cove Island Course will the compete for the J.L. Hudson Trophy and the Canadian Club Classic Trophy will be awarded to the overall winner of the Shore Course. The Corinthian Trophy will go to the boat with the best corrected time in seconds per mile on either course with an all-amateur crew.
The awards ceremony and party will take place at Woodfill Park, located at the foot of the hill leading to Grand Hotel, on July 27.
Sailing fans around the world can track individual boats or the entire fleet on the official race website through GPS tracking devices on each boat provided by YB Tracking.
For more information, visit www.byc.com.