Sailors Prepare for the Race To Mackinac

2012 marks the 104th running of the race

By LeeAnn Trotter and Mitchell Grogg
|  Saturday, Jul 21, 2012  |  Updated 5:53 AM CDT
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Sailors from all over the world are coming to Chicago for the annual Race to Mackinac this Saturday. LeeAnn Trotter reports on this year's addition of a parade and how the sailors are getting ready.

Sailors from all over the world are coming to Chicago for the annual Race to Mackinac this Saturday. LeeAnn Trotter reports on this year's addition of a parade and how the sailors are getting ready.

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Sailors are preparing to cast off for the Chicago Yacht Clubs's 104th Race to the Mackinac Saturday morning.

"Right now, it's kind of light to medium breeze," said Sailor Sarah Renz on Thursday, during some last-minute preparations and testing the waters for the 333 mile race to Michigan.

Sometimes the breezes on the water, however, can pick up and be dangerous. After two people died in last year's race, those taking part in the competition are taking precautions.

"We done a cursory review of all the fleet, make sure that everybody has a seaman's ship, and they have the training and skills to do the race, you know it's a little bit of an audit of our own fleet," said Lou Sandoval of the Chicago Yacht Club about this year's race.

"In addition to that, we've added different safety requirements and personal equipment that the boats have to have and then the individual sailors have to have on themselves," he said.

To make sure they are safe--and win, the crews are taking note of everything to make sure they cross the finish line in Michigan first.

"Good sailing skills, making sure your sails are trimmed correctly, navigation and tactics, choosing the right way to go, sort of guessing what the weather's going to be at that time, and then, there's a lot of luck," said Marcus Thymian, co owner of Norboy, one of the 350 boats sailing this year.

The boats usually take between 40 and 60 hours to cross the finish line.

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