Due to the vagaries of the weather, long distance sailboat racing is often challenging. Sometimes the challenge is a lengthy period of light and variable winds. At other times, the difficulties result from prolonged thunderstorm activity. This year’s Chicago Mac had both.
Competing in the Chicago-Mac is never easy – after all, it is at least 333 nautical miles to Mackinac Island. And by all accounts, the 108th running of Mac was unusually challenging. Light easterly winds on Saturday afternoon made progress toward the Island difficult for the racing fleet. The most significant challenge, however, appeared on Saturday evening, delivered by prolonged periods of thunderstorm activity.
The storms repeatedly battered the fleet, hampering progress and prompting the withdrawal of several competitors due to minor crew injuries and equipment issues. In a report by meteorologist Mark Thornton, he provides a summary of the conditions and how they impacted the fleet. – Read on