Windquest Is First Racer To Reach Island After Saturday Start
Always a crowd favorite, Windquest crossed the finish line Monday afternoon, July 20, to cheers and applause from race fans standing on the rocky shore at Windermere Point. The 86-foot-long racer was the first Saturday-starting boat in the 101st sailing of the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac to complete the 333-mile course, considered the longest freshwater sailing challenge in the world.
Cruising vessel DogDayz, which started the race Friday, was the first boat in any class to pass the finish line between Round Island Lighthouse and Windermere Point. It reached the mark early Monday at 8:50 a.m. Cruising class vessels were afforded an earlier start this year and are not in competition for the overall trophy.
Windquest, a MaxZ86 with a crew of 23, finished at 3:17 p.m. posting an elapsed time of 47 hours, 57 minutes, 40 seconds, first in the Turbo Division, however its corrected time was 72:42:32, ranking the sailboat last in its division against five other boats.
The MaxZ86 boats, first developed about seven years ago, are designed for ease of sailing and high speed, upwind and down, for West Coast ocean racing.
The boat is owned by Dick and Doug DeVos and is sailing out of the Macatawa Bay Yacht Club in Holland.
The slower-than-average race, which took the vessel 12 hours longer than it did in 2008, left some crew members scrambling to catch flights home as soon as the boat docked on Mackinac Island and the ship was cleared.
Once a boat finishes the race, crew must remain on board until it is cleared by the Chicago Yacht Club, said Marty O'Connor, who oversees the shore crew of five people for the vessel. The club has the right to check the vessel to make sure proper safety gear is on board and that crew members who started the race are actually still on the boat when it finishes the race.
For this race, the yacht club decided not to inspect the vessel because of the history of the boat, said Mr. O'Connor.
"We play by the rules," he said. "It was a good race."
With minor crew changes, members will sail the vessel later this week as it heads to Port Huron for the 85th sailing of the Port Huron-to-Mackinac island race sponsored by Detroit's Bayview Yacht Club, renamed this year to Pure Michigan Bayview Mackinac Race. In fact, the boat will dock in Sarnia, Ontario, which offers the deep water docking it needs, said Mr. O'Connor.
The boat will be readied there for the Port Huron race and provisions will be loaded on board before the vessel sets sail again at the Saturday, July 25, start. Larger vessels are expected to finish Sunday evening, July 27, or Monday morning.