Algoma Sailing Club
St. Mary's River,  Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada

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Ring around the Island number 10
Saturday, July 13, 2013   by: Staff

2013 MacMan Challenge International Yacht Race

Special to by Jack Rice (Algoma Sailing Club Ė MacMan Committee Ė crew on Natural High)

Well the 2013 MacMan Challenge International Yacht Race is about ready to begin.

Boats from all over the northern Great Lakes are on their way to historic Mackinac Island for the tenth anniversary event.

Locally, Natural High (Abbott 33) skippered by Andrew Hallett of the Algoma Sailing Club, Skyship (C&C 32) skippered by Gord Simpson, and Mist (Jeaneau 36) skippered by Ben Leeuwestein will be leaving this weekend on their way to the event.

This event has a main event being the race from Mackinac Island to Manitoulin Island in two legs; one being a longer 90 mile two day run from the U.S. and the Mackinac Island Yacht Club thru to Gore Bay on Manitoulin Island in Canada.

Leg two is a shorter leg but consistently ends up being a gorgeous 45 mile run from Gore Bay to Little Current which is also on Manitoulin Island.

All sorts of boats of different sizes and classes partake and the raced has seen a variety of conditions over the years.

Two years ago saw a flat water start with delicate chute handling for the first few hours until the wind picked up.

Last year saw a blustery start with huge swells which scared all the pleasure motor craft and made them stay tied up.

The fleet took to the weather and battled away bashing eastward toward Manitoulin.

Some of the fleet pulled out throughout the first day but the majority stuck it out and pounded away toward Gore Bay.

There are several pre-race events including a very challenging race around Mackinac Island which has itís own challenges due to the islandís geography.

The short race event here usually starts off with some challenging winds but as the course winds around the back side of the island it is quite common to end up with flat water and some tactful skippering to keep the boats moving.

As the fleet moves around the front side again, and in front of the historic village, fort and Grand Hotel, the winds pick up again moving thru the island straits for a fast finish.

This race is a treat to the thousands of tourists on the island.

Stand by as the event unfolds!

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