Pure Michigan Bayview Mackinac Race Sets Sail with GPS Tracking

Tracking available exclusively at <a href="http://www.michigan.org" target="_blank">michigan.org</a>

LANSING, Mich., July 21, 2009 /PRNewswire/ – For the first time sailing fans around the world will be able to monitor the Pure Michigan Bayview Mackinac Race with Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking technology available exclusively at michigan.org/gps. This year marks 85 consecutive years for this premier event on Lake Huron organized by Detroit’s Bayview Yacht Club. The historic race begins in Port Huron on July 25 with more than 250 sailboats and 2,500 crew members headed north for the Mackinac Island finish line. A crowd of more than 100,000 is expected on race day to bid sailors a safe and speedy voyage.

“We are very proud to be the title sponsor of one of the most prestigious fresh water sailing events in the world,” said Travel Michigan Vice President George Zimmermann. “This is a tremendous way for us to showcase Michigan with our Pure Michigan brand as a premier tourism destination with its bountiful natural assets that include 3,200 miles of fresh water shoreline and 11,000 inland lakes and streams.”

Travel Michigan is also sponsoring the GPS tracking system for the 2009 race. GPS devices will be placed on all participating race boats. Fans will be able to monitor individual boats in real time, follow the six race boat divisions, and view overall race progress and weather reports. A discussion board will also be available to post and respond to race topics.

“The GPS system transforms the race into a spectator sport to give sailing enthusiasts a way to follow the event, cheer for their favorite boat, and explore the michigan.org Web site for future vacation planning,” added Zimmermann. Travel Michigan anticipates up to 20 million page views for the two to three day Mackinac race. Last year the Chicago-Mackinac sailboat race introduced GPS technology and generated more than 90,000 web visits and almost 25 million page views in six days.

Pure Michigan Bayview Mackinac Race captains will choose from two race courses this year. The shorter course is called the Thunder Bay Course and it runs 252 statute miles toward a National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather buoy located about 43 miles Northeast of Alpena, Mich. The buoy, anchored in 462-feet of water, will serve as the “mark” where skippers will turn their boats to head for the finish line at Mackinac Island. The longer Cove Island Course is preferred by captains seeking the open water challenge of its 298 statute miles to Mackinac crossing into Canadian waters.

Bayview Yacht Club, founded in 1915, is widely regarded as the premier sailing club in Michigan and the Midwest. The private club is located on the Detroit River near the mouth of Lake St. Clair and has more than 1,000 members. For more information: www.byc.com.

The official Michigan travel information site, michigan.org, features more than 12,000 attractions, events, hotels, resorts, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses. The site highlights special travel deals for golf and other warm weather activities for all ages and interests. In 2007 and 2008, michigan.org was recognized as the most popular state tourism Web site in America.

The 2009 Michigan Travel Ideas magazine is available free of charge; go to michigan.org, or call toll-free (888) 784-7328. Michigan Travel Ideas is also available at the Michigan Welcome Centers across the state.

Travel Michigan, a division of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, is the State of Michigan’s official agency for the promotion of tourism. Travel Michigan markets the state’s tourism industry and provides valuable visitor information services.

Contact: Kirsten Borgstrom, 517-862-7714

Jenny Schilp, 248-225-6744

Source: Travel Michigan

CONTACT: Kirsten Borgstrom, +1-517-862-7714, or Jenny Schilp, +1-248-225-6744, both of Travel Michigan

Web Site: http://www.michigan.org/

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