Father/Son Duo Set For Mackinac Swan Song

Boat won Mackinac Cup last year, helped save distressed sailors in 2011

By Charlie Wojciechowski
|  Friday, Jul 12, 2013  |  Updated 10:47 PM CDT
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Team won race in 2012, turned around to help distressed boat in 2011.

Team won race in 2012, turned around to help distressed boat in 2011.

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Race To Mackinac: What Brings Sailor's Back?

The 105th Race To Mackinac sets sails on Lake Michigan on Friday. Boats from far and near converge to this most prestigous fresh water race.

The Talk: Race to Mackinac Sets Sail

The annual sailing event is in its 105th year and so much has changed over the years. Chairman Lou Sandoval explains.
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Among the boats making the 333 mile trip in the 105th annual race to Mackinac will be a father-son team that will be participating for the last time.

The Realt Na Mara has experienced a lot during its participation in the race. Last year, it won its class.

But in 2011, the crew showed what it was really made of by dropping out of the race -- even though they were close to the lead -- and helped in the search for a sailors lost when their boat capsized during a violent storm.

"We were the second ones there, and we happened to be about a quarter to a half mile downwind, or north of where that capsize took place and we turned around and went back," the boat's navigator, Dr. Carl Arentzen, said.

"That was part of the rules. That's what we should have done. Not everybody did that," the boat's owner, Tom Londrigan, said.

The crew is a bit of a family affair. Londrigan's son is the skipper.

In the wake of that 2011 tragedy where two crew members died, safety is a renewed priority for all boats. TheRealt' Na Mara carries two separate life safety and rescue systems and two weather systems amid all the technology on board.

"If you go out on the lake and encounter a storm, or encounter conditions you're unprepared for, it can be a pretty scary thing to encounter," crew engineer John Shope said.

But in planning for the worst, this crew is hoping for the best, and is saving one last spot for another winner's flag.

Before the race A new kind of parade sets sail in Chicago Saturday. Ashore Thing, presented by Michigan Avenue Magazine and the Chicago Yacht Club, will celebrate the start of the famous Race to Mackinac Island boat race with a parade of sailboat sensations. A wave of prestigious sailboats preparing to embark on the 105th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac will sail through the shores of Chicago offering seaside admirers a close-up view of their "floats." Streamed live on NBCChicago.com.July 13, Navy Pier, 9 a.m.- 1 p.m.

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