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community weblog - [ Beau Geste 'claimed the prize it came for' in 2010 Mac Race ]

Beau Geste 'claimed the prize it came for' in 2010 Mac Race

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'Beau Geste pre-start 2010 Chicago Mackinac by Lu O’Neil'


The 102nd Chicago to Mackinac Race concluded Tuesday, July 27, 2010, as tradition dictates, with the party and awards ceremony in the Tea Garden of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Line honours went to the 80-foot Beau Geste for being the first of the 300-plus racing boats to cross the finish line. Karl Kwok, owner of the big sloop from Hong Kong, had made clear his intent to secure the first-to-finish honours before the race began. But after corrected times, it was the Flying Jenny VI, from Anapolis, MD, that won the coveted Mackinac Cup this year.

The 2010 Mac race will be remembered for torrential rains in Chicago for hours prior to the race start, followed by good winds at the beginning, and a dead calm for many in the fleet just before the finish line. 'The water at the Straits of Mackinac is glass,' was reported early Monday in one of many race updates from Torresen Sailing News in Muskegon, MI. Experienced Mac racers, it stated, often describe 'a parking lot that can appear between the bridge and the finish line. It is there right now.'

Dale Bowman of Sun-Times Media said the race will also be remembered for Beau Geste. The Hong Kong boat 'starred in its first Mac appearance,' he said.

The Mac is a rich source of stories for each boat and every crew member that participates, but for race fans, the contest between Beau Geste and its chief Lake Michigan rival, Windquest, was the story to watch this year. The local Windquest was first-to-the line last year, as well as in 2006 and 2007, and the winner of the Chicago to Mackinac Trophy in 2007. Windquest is a Max Z86 yacht, owned by Dick and Doug DeVos of Ada, MI, and at 86 feet, is even larger than its new rival.

Hong Kong businessman Karl Kwok has been sailing his Beau Geste in the Caribbean and on the east coast of the U.S., with great success throughout this year. He brought the boat to the midwest earlier in July, for the Port Huron to Mackinac race on Lake Huron. 'The chance to race in the biggest lakes in the world is extremely appealing,' he said.
In the Chicago to Mackinac race, the two big boats spent all day Sunday sailing north in tandem.

Beau Geste led the way, but with Windquest always in close pursuit. 'We saw Windquest for the better part of a day and a half,' Kwok said, on the docks after the race. Beau Geste finished the race in 31 hours, 13 minutes and 10 seconds, crossing the finish line at 9:43 p.m. Sunday night. Windquest followed 36 minutes later, but hours before the rest of the fleet would begin to arrive on Monday.


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