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  Start of Port Huron to Mackinac Race - Saturday, July 25, 2009

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Author Topic:   Start of Port Huron to Mackinac Race - Saturday, July 25, 2009
K Albus posted 06-22-2009 10:06 AM ET (US)   Profile for K Albus   Send Email to K Albus  
Who's interested in meeting up to watch the start of the 2009 Port Huron to Mackinac sailboat race?

The race is scheduled to start on Saturday, July 25, 2009. I believe the starting times are usually around noon, with various classes starting at different times. As of right now, the official starting times are not available on the event's website. See: http://www.byc.com/mack/ . Looking at past race results, however, it appears that the start times range from about 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

I'm planning to put my boat in at the DNR launch ramp just north of Selfridge Air Base, at about 9:00 a.m., and then motoring up the St. Clair River to watch the start of the race. That's about a 50 mile run in each direction. An alternate launch site would be the municipal marina in St. Clair, Michigan, which would make for a run of about 15 miles in each direction. It may be possible to launch in Port Huron, leaving a run of only a couple of miles, but what's the fun in that?

home Aside posted 06-22-2009 12:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
I may be interested in this one....

A couple of years ago Jimh & I launched continuouswave at the public launch on the Black River in Port Huron & went from there. The only problem was that we had to then park the veh & trailer elsewhere, about a mile away at the Municipal Marina parking lot. So we launched, Jimh then went up river & I drove to the marina, parked, & jumped on board at the Marina. It was a little crowded on the Black River on the way to St. Clair River but not un-manageable.

Once we hit the St. Clair river it was basically "No Wake" because of the multitude of boats, lot's of enforcement presence. going against the current under the Blue Water Bridge was at a snails pace & pretty difficult. There were a lot of boats anchored, drifting, & slowly cruising on the outskirts of the starting area, it was a little work but a lot of fun.

Pat

jimh posted 06-22-2009 11:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The craziest part of the trip (that Pat mentions) was trying to get under the Blue Water Bridge at NO-WAKE SPEED. The current there is about 5-MPH. About as fast as I can go without making a wake is barely 5-MPH. The result was our speed over ground was about 0.2-MPH. It took forever to get under the bridge.

The NO-WAKE police--and I mean POLICE--were out in force and they yelled at me by hailer several times to reduce speed. It was almost to the point of going backwards.

During this time I was watching the fuel economy computed. We were getting something like 0.2-MPG, so in other words sitting there in the strong current and going at bare steerage speed we burned up about $20 worth of gasoline.

After that farce I looked for a ramp north of the bridge. There is one in Sarnia at a private marina. I called them and inquired about launching. I don't recall their answer. You'd have to make arrangements, and of course, cross over into Canada. But, really, it might be worth avoiding the hassle with the NO-WAKE zone.

K Albus posted 06-23-2009 08:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
Jim, what time were you there relative to the race starting times? Would it make sense to get there earlier and get out onto Lake Huron, or is the no-wake zone set up hours before the start?

Another alternative would be to put in at Lexington and cruise south to Port Huron. That would be about 18 miles each way, and would eliminate the need to go under the Blue Water Bridge.

Jeff posted 06-23-2009 09:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jeff  Send Email to Jeff     
If you want to avoid the Bridge, Lexington is a good point to launch from. It is a simple cruise south and would also eliminate the need to go back under the bridge with everyone else after the race. I have traveled back under the bridge with everyone else a couple times and due to the current you will easily have 5' standing rollers from all of the wakes bouncing off the sides of the river. The American side is always the worse as that is where the current is the strongest.

The other would be to put in on the Black River and run up the river to the Black River boat club. At that point there is a cut that runs from the Black River to the Lake. It is an easy run with a 17 or 18 boat but I was only able to get my 22 through there once. While the cut off is a little narrow it is at the mouth of the lake where it can be limiting. If there has been rough lake conditions out of the North you will get sand the washes into the mouth and can make it shallow. Sometimes I have had to get out of the boat and walk it into the deep water others I have been able to motor through.

http://tinyurl.com/l5tgh2

K Albus posted 06-23-2009 10:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
I was aware of the Black River Canal. I want to avoid launching and retrieving in Port Huron.

Regarding the two options, coming from the north or coming from the south, which is more impressive: 1) watching all of the sailboats come out from the Black River, or 2) watching the various classes start of the race? Or are both of these "must see" events?

home Aside posted 06-23-2009 02:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
I haven't seen the sailboats come up river, but I have seen all the sailboats of differnet classes circling around, jockeying for position, getting ready for the starting cannon to "BOOM" out on the lake.

Based on the traffic, No Wake Zone, & wakes coming up the St. Clair river, I'd have to say being out in the lake near the starting line is more enjoyable

Pat

dfmcintyre posted 06-23-2009 04:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
There is a launch ramp in the Sarnia Bay basin. I believe it's public. If you cross, a passport is recommended to re-enter the states. Lexington is a decent alternative if your main interest watching the various starts.

Right at the mouth of the Black River, on the south side is an area large enough to park a rig and watch the departures from the river, which is worth it to view. Then either go up the coast to Lex (you'll have enough time to get there and back. Maybe miss a smaller class or two, but you'll be back to see the big guys), cross the bridge or launch at either Water Street or Riverside launch ramps here in the city.

And if you do launch from either side of the river, yea, ya get to travel slow for almost two miles. It's a pain but neccessary. Prior to the speed restriction, there had been a few boats sunk and some almost drownings due to the extreme wave size. BTDT with a 30' Chris Sportsman and at high idle we were taking solid waves, not just spray, over the bow. It's the size plus the much shorter frequency that got hairy.

Whomever comes up, have fun! It's a good day up here with a lot to look at.

I'll be out of town...Cadillac doing some boating and float plane flying. Heh.

Regards - Don

falcon posted 06-30-2009 11:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for falcon  Send Email to falcon     
I like to see the boats from north of the bridge due to the boat traffic and the wake police.There are several launch ramps on the Canadian side at Sarnia and around Port Franks where I live. We often travel to the Sarnia area,which is about 15-20 miles.All you have to remember is to go around the markers at Kettle Point.
uncle bob posted 06-30-2009 08:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for uncle bob  Send Email to uncle bob     
if any of ya going to be on the island (mackinac island) lets meet @ the pony, seabuicut, mustang or hrns
I'll be fling in for the week then...any takers....
Jeff posted 07-23-2009 08:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jeff  Send Email to Jeff     
Well it looks like my father I be heading out of the black river on Saturday morning at about 9am on the Guardian. Is there anyone else going?
K Albus posted 07-23-2009 09:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
Jeff, I'm still somewhat interested in going, but only because I haven't had my boat out in three weeks. I can put up with a little rain, but I'm not going to head out into thunder and lightning. Right now the weather forecast looks pretty bad. If it looks better by Friday evening, I would consider meeting up with you somewhere out there. If the forecast doesn't improve, I'll likely wait until Sunday and go to the offshore boat races near Metro Beach. http://www.harrisonoffshore.com/harrisonoffshore_008.html
Jeff posted 07-23-2009 09:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jeff  Send Email to Jeff     
Kevin,

I am holding out hope the weather would improve but the Sunday offshore races sound like a great back up. I spoke with Pat (homeaside) this evening and he said he may be up for it as well. Though he was unsure if he wanted to take his revenge out single handed.

home Aside posted 07-24-2009 08:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for home Aside  Send Email to home Aside     
Jeff & Kevin,
Just looked at the weather forecast (TV/News) they're talking about some steady thunder storms for Saturday, if so I think I'll probably pass on the start of the Port Huron - Mackinac Race. I might be interested for Sunday if the weather clears up for Lake St. Clair races

As I said in my earlier post on this thread, launching is not a big problem, there may be a wait at the ramp, but parking is what can be a problem. Last time Jimh & I went we launched, there was no parking left at the ramp. So I drove Jims rig to a local marina away from the ramp, parked & jim picked me up in his Whaler at the marina, Vice Versa at the end of the day....kind of hard to do when you're solo

Jeff, I'll call you in a little bit

Pat

K Albus posted 07-24-2009 04:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
Jeff and Pat, count me out for Saturday morning. I'll be on Lake St. Clair on Sunday. If you guys want to meet up, let me know.
K Albus posted 07-24-2009 04:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for K Albus  Send Email to K Albus     
Since my last post the National Weather Service has downgraded the Sunday forecast, so now Sunday is in question as well.

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