In preparing for the 2014 Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race I came across this great article by Wally Cross of Quantum Sails. Wally is a veteran of both Mackinac races. Find the article here: Read Article
Here is a little history about the 90 year old race. The inaugural race course was 235 statute miles (378 km) up the Michigan shore line south of Bois Blanc. Originally it was started at the same time as the Chicago Race to Mackinac with the yachts crossing the finish line from two different directions. In 1935, the course was lengthened to 290 miles (470 km) and required participants to round Cove Island Buoy just south of Canada’s Georgian Bay. Fog created confusion and the longer course was abandoned as dangerous and slow in 1936. In 1940 the race rounded the Six Fathoms Shoal buoy for that year only. The following year the race went back to shore course but left Bois Blanc to port. In 1972 the 290-mile (470 km) Cove Island course was restored. Twenty years later, participating yachts were divided into two separate fleets, with one heading east to round Cove Island and the other following the original shore course. After the Canadian government’s decision to decommission the Cove Island buoy in 2000, the longer course was replaced with the Southampton Course in which sailors are directed towardSouthampton, Ontario and then to the finish line at Mackinac Island.