The Lake Huron International Regatta long has been considered a tune-up for the Mackinac race.
While it is certainly that, the overnight race is more than just a chance to get ready for the biggest event on the area’s sailing calendar.
“One change this year is we’re allowing boats to choose whichever course they want to be on,” race chairman Nick Ward said. “There’s been a big boost on the shorter course this year. A lot of those boats aren’t Mackinac boats, they just want to do a night race.”
The race begins at 6 p.m. Friday in lower Lake Huron, with boats on the John Blunt Memorial course racing 78 nautical miles, and boats on the Kettle Point course racing 47 nautical miles. Boats are expected to finish Saturday morning.
“For the people that do it, it is a Mackinac tune-up race,” Ward said. “Especially for the boats on the longer course.”
Thirty-five boats are signed up for the race, and while several are from the Port Huron Yacht Club, many are also from Ontario and the Detroit area.
Those boats should be facing pleasant weather, though it’s not likely to result in any blistering times.
“The early forecast right now is pretty light winds,” Ward said. “There shouldn’t be any rain, so it will be dry and in the 70s, then get into the 50s overnight, so it will be a little cold.”
Contact Paul Costanzo at (810) 989-6251 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PaulCostanzo.