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St. Mary's River,  Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada
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Yachts race through storms for 10th annual MacMan Challenge.

Monday, July 22, 2013 by: www.SooToday.com Staff

Mother Nature cast surprises on the MacMan fleet forcing half the boats to retire in leg one of the event.

In this tenth anniversary of this MacMan Challenge International Yacht Race, the start from Mackinac Island was delayed for an hour due to a thunderstorm system and as the race started, the back of the weather system brought light winds initially and the boats crawled away from the start.

Within an hour, the winds picked up to a steady 15 knot average out of the south and southwest, and the majority of the fleet popped their spinnakers heading out into Lake Huron from the Mackinac Straits.

As the fleet entered the False Detour Passage, this was looking to be one of the fastest races yet but things soon changed.

As the front runners Demons Dance (C&C 1999), local boat Natural High (Abbott 33) skippered by Andrew Hallett, and Escape Plan (Goman 35), cleared the passage, dark clouds moved in.

Severe thunderstorms with high winds soon enveloped the fleet causing damage to some of the boats and within a short period of time, half the boats pulled out for a variety of reasons.

Natural High suffered damaged rigging and had to seek shelter until repairs could be made.

Another local boat, Skyship (C&C32) skippered by Gordon Simpson, managed to sail thru the storm placing first in his fleet.

Another local boat Mist (Jeanneau 36), skippered by Ben Leeuwestein also retired from this leg.

Saturday saw the start of leg two which winds thru the North Channel from Gore Bay to Little Current.

This is typically a fast run full of large spinnakers which sees a spectacular finish in a narrow waterway in front of downtown Little Current.
 


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