Bellís Beer Bayview Mackinac Race

Bellís Beer Bayview Mackinac Race - Ticking All the Right Boxes

The best thing about this yearís Bellís Beer Bayview Mackinac Race just may be that there will be little change in how the eventís 94th edition, scheduled for July 14, unfolds. The worldís longest consecutively run fresh water race, organized by Bayview Yacht Club, has a devoted title sponsor in Bellís Brewery and is as good as it gets when it comes to annually delivering exciting racing as well as colorful fun both before its start on lower Lake Huron and after its finish at Mackinac Island.

ďThere just isnít a race like this anywhere else in the world,Ē said Bellís Beer Bayview Mackinac Race Chair Gary Shoemaker, who also is a member of the Mackinac Race Authority, charged with keeping the race competitive, fair and fun for its participants while protecting the raceís viability for the future. "We work hard to be thoughtful and thorough in our decisions about the on-water competition so that we will have safe racing and the competitors will want to come back. As well, we have the tradition of Boat Night on the Black River the Friday prior to the start, and then hundreds of spectators line the shores as the fleet heads out on Saturday morning. After finishes on Sunday and Monday, the Pink Pony (an iconic bar on the island) is where most of the sailors find their way to get a delicious Bellís Beer once they get their boats cleaned up, and finally, on Tuesday they attend a giant awards celebration on the grounds of Mackinac Islandís Grand Hotel. Nobody throws a party like we do. Three hours of live music, awardsÖwith 2,500 of our closest friendsÖitís pretty spectacular."

Bellís Beer Bayview Mackinac Race - IlMostro
The many sides of Bellís Beer Bayview Mackinac Race include vibrant shore-side activities both prior to the start and after the finish. Clockwise from left: last yearís winner Il Mostro at the finish; Boat Night on the Black River; parade to the start; Awards Party at Mackinac Islandís Grand Hotel. (Photo Credit: Martin Chumiecki/Bayview Yacht Club) Click photo to download in high resolution.

>> With a registration deadline of June 1, 134 boats have signed up, thus far, for the Bellís Beer Bayview Mackinac Race, which alternates its schedule with the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac (July 21). The events are only a week apart, and Shoemaker is targeting a fleet numbering in the low 200s, which would keep the race at its averages for the last five years. (In 2016, the last time the race preceded the Chicago Mac, 219 teams entered.)

>> Last year ORR-EZ replaced PHRF for the smaller boats sailing in Racing classes on the Shore Course of 204 nm, while ORR was maintained for the larger boats sailing in Racing classes on the longer Cove Island Course of 259 nm. That will happen again in 2018, with both courses also hosting Doublehanded, Cruising and One-Design classes. The Cove Island Course will provide for a Multihull class as well. So far, the Racing class on the Cove Island Course is showing to be the largest, with 49 teams registered. In the Racing class for the Shore Course, 18 are entered.

>> One-Design classes are looking strong again with 10 J/120s, five J/35s and eight Beneteau First 36.7s among the registrants for the Cove Island Division, while six C&C 35 MKIs and four Santana 35s have signed up for the Shore Course division. (A minimum of 10 boats is required to constitute a class, and there has been interest shown by the Tartan 10 class.)

>> Twenty-three cruising boats have signed up for the Shore Course, while four are showing for the Cove Island Course racing. These are classes, along with the Double-handed, that Shoemaker sees strengthening over the coming years.

>> Trophies for the 2017 Bellís Beer Bayview Mackinac Race include the J.L. Hudson Trophy for the boat with the best corrected time in Division I and the Canadian Club Classic Trophy for the boat with the best corrected time in Division II. Special competitions include the Corinthian Challenge (for all-amateur teams) and the Pro-Team Sports Challenge (held in conjunction with community partner Set Sail for Autism and the Detroit Sports Media Association) as well as the North Sails Yacht Club Challenge.

Boat Parade Saturdayt

Awards Party Selfie

Boats Night Party

Sponsors for the 2018 Bellís Beer Bayview Mackinac Race include Bell's Brewery, Grand Hotel, Gill, Titoís Handmade Vodka, Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry, North Sails, Pentastar Aviation, Aitken & Ormond Insurance, Frankenmuth Insurance, Coral Reef Sailing Apparel, Vortexx Pressure Washers, Sykes Webster, and Bayview Yacht Club Foundation. Supporters are Detroit Sports Media, Marx Layne, Marygrove Awnings, Mike's Marine Supply, General RV Center, and Thomas Hardware Company.

For more information go to or contact Race Chairman Gary Shoemaker at

Bellís Beer Bayview Mackinac Quicklinks:

Event website  |  Facebook Page  |  Follow via Twitter


More About Bayview Yacht Club

Bayview Yacht Club, founded in 1915, is widely regarded as the premier sailing club in Michigan and the Midwest. Located on the Detroit River near the mouth of Lake St. Clair, it has been hosting the Bayview Mackinac Race since 1925 and has more than 1,000 members. For more information:

Marx Layne
Aitken Ormand Insurance
Frankenmuth Insurance
North Sails
Grand Hotel
Pentastar Aviation
Coral Reef Sailing Apparel
Detroit Sports Media
Vortexx Pressure Washers



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