Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race Review

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I’ve stood for many years on the shore of the mouth of the Black River and St. Clair River in Port Huron, Michigan taking picture after picture of the sailboats at the start of the Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race.

Bell's Bayview Sailboat RaceJudy and I would go from one city park to another trying to get shots of the sailboat race.  I can remember standing on the banks of the river watching the boats slowing slipping by wishing somehow I could be part of the race.

This year I was fortunate enough to be invited on the the media boat, Goose.  It was an amazing opportunity.

Bell's BayviewAs the boat motored down the Black River we were met by crowds of people lining the shores through downtown Port Huron.

Bell's Bayview Mackinaw RaceWe were lucky enough to be towing the first boat to ever win the Port Huron to Mackinaw race in 1925, the Bernida. The crowds on the river bank erupted into cheers when they saw it. Even applause resonated from the Canadian shoreline.

We had to tow this boat to the starting line, because unlike boats today it has no engine. Notice in the picture how small it looks and how close to the water it rides. The six member team has to exist on the turn of the century boat for at least two days and nights on their way to Mackinaw Island.

Bell's Beer Bayview Port Huron Mackinaw RaceOnce we reached the area of the starting line the beauty of water and sky meeting only broken by the the masts of the sailboats was breathtaking.

For the first few races the wind was strong enough and coming from the right direction so the colorful spinnakers were unfurled.

Belle's Mackinac Race

Bell's Bayview RaceThe boats gently titled as the wind caught their sails and they began their journey to Mackinaw Island. The intensity of the sailors’ excitement only increased this experience.

Belle's Bayview Beer MackinacLater the wind died and the contestants had to creep across the line when the gun was fired.

Bell's Beer Bayview RaceThen the big boys came out. They all slice the water like a knife.

Bell's Sailboats MackinawWindquest at 86′ did the unbelievable. They sent a member of their team up the mast to scout for the wind.

Bell's Bayview Mackinac RaceThere he was towering over everything in sight strapped in by a rope looking for the slightest indication of a breeze.

Bells Sailboat RaceWhat ever he told them worked, for they were soon gliding by every other competitor.

While standing on the river bank or at the beach has always been thrilling there is nothing quite like being in the mix. Seeing the combinations of sailboats, power boats, cruisers and freighters up close got my heart thumping and my adrenalin flowing. It is an opportunity I will never forget.

Belle's Mackinaw Port Huron RaceIf you ever have the chance come to the Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race, rent a boat and be part of this mix.  You will never regret it.

Transportation by media boat was provided. No compensation was received. The honest opinions are my own.

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