Chicago to Mackinac Race

Ice boating, it’s everywhere!

The ice sailing season moves closer as another box is ticked tomorrow with the 112th Chicago to Mackinac Island race. So far, I can only find one group of ice sailors on the competitor’s list, Rick Hennig and crew on THUNDERSTRUCK. At 60 feet, Rick’s soft water boat is a few inches longer than his winter ride, the world’s largest iceboat DEUCE. Let me know if there are any other ice sailors out there heading to the island tomorrow.

Speaking of Mackinac, here’s a photo that Wisconsin Stern Steerer Association Secretary Andy Gratton shared. It was on display at a business on the island. Andy guesses it dates from the 1880s or earlier “because the masts appear to be on top of the trussed runner planks.”

He also noted that “It looks as if the Grand Hotel is on the left side of the photo, the Fort on the right. I can’t imagine sailing these vessels and having all the sails trimmed correctly, in addition to ensuring the crew stays on the end of the runner plank where he belongs!”

Iceboaters Going the Distance

Detail from “Great Lakes Freighter”, a painting by Harry Whitehorse.

The long distance summer sailing season is upon us and iceboaters are there. Let us know if you are sailing the Chicago to Mackinac race so you can be added to the list.

July 10, 2019
4LIYC Commodore Don Anderson will be sailing his second Transpac from Los Angeles, CA to Hawaii on MR BILL. Race tracking.

July 13, 2019
Race Tracking
EQUATION: (Santa Cruz 70, Section: 01) Ron Sherry, Chris Clark, Tom Dawson, Dave Elsmo
EXILE  (J88, Section 08) Andy Camarda
SHMOKIN JOE: (J111, Section: J111) Julie Jankowski
Julie is  arranging for a group photo of iceboaters immediately following the awards ceremony in front of the stage, probably around 2:30 Tuesday.

A painting from the imagination of Harry Whitehorse, a time when massive long distance iceboat freighters would rule the Great Lakes.

Ice Sailors Compete in Mackinac Race

UPDATE: July 25, 2018
Congratulations to the Equation Team for winning the Section 01 / Mackinac Cup Division. Results

Via Ron Sherry’s Facebook page, posted July 23: “Wow Equation first in class First over all so far in the 333 mile Chicago to Mackinac race. One of the toughest races I ever competed in. It blew hard from the north up to 30 Kts. the whole way with Huge waves. We never put up a spinnaker or a jib top or a staysail. It was up wind against the waves the whole way. We had 17 crew that never left the rail. Most of the crew only went below to put dry clothes on or bring snacks up for the rest of the crew. WHAT A SUPER HUMAN EFFORT!!! The big difference was when the call was made to sail right up the middle of the lake on port tack Sunday morning taking the best of what Lake Michigan had to offer WOW. The pounding Equation and the crew took was brutal, but we got a 25 degree left wind shift with lots of leverage and reached across the fleet with a huge lead we would never relinquish. We finished at 4:00 am. this morning, and all the bars were closed, but don’t worry we will get our fair share today.”

Equation Mackinac 2018

Photo; Julie Jankowski


Another sign of the high season of summer approaches, the Race to Mackinac and ice sailors will be on board some of the 350+ boats that will race from Chicago to Mackinac Island on Lake Michigan. The racing begins on July 21. Here’s the annual list and please email to me and let me know if I’ve missed anyone.

  • EQUATION (Section 01)
    Ron Sherry DN US44
    Chris Clark DN US4789
    Tom Dawson DN US5470
    Skip Dieball DNUS5
    Griffin Sherry DN US4
  • DENALI (Turbo Division)
    Rick Hennig DEUCE stern-steerer
    Dave Elsmo DN US5486
    Dave Aguilar DN sailor
    Matt Barron DN sailor
    Nick Hovland DN sailor
    (Section 2), with DNer Chris Berger DN US5166 and Marcy Grunert. BANDIT’S owners Arvid Eiesland and Joe Kestler have DNs, Arrows, and an old Palmer Skeeter. John Poast is also an ice sailor on this boat.
  • SHMOKIN’ JOE Section J111
    Julie Jankowski DN US4271
  • WINDSONG (Section 8) has DNer Andy Camarda on board.
  • MC^2 (Section 01)
    Matthew Kickhafer DN US5602
    Steve Kennedy DN sailor

Our Summer Vacations: Chicago to Mackinac Race

The middle of July signals that we are halfway through the off-season and time for one of the most important soft water races of the summer season, the Chicago Yacht Club’s 109th Race to Mackinac. Follow the race tracking on the website.

Your ice sailing roster this year includes:

  • DENALI (Turbo Division), owned by Rick Hennig of the DEUCE fame. Fellow iceboaters joining him on DENALI are Dave Elsmo, Todd Knop,and Eric Tobias.
  • Via Renee Sherry: IMPORTANT UPDATE: due to technical difficulties, Equation will NOT be participating in the Chicago Mackinac regatta. Ron Sherry will be sailing on DYNAMIS.
    EQUATION (Section 1), with Ron Sherry at the helm, son Griffin Sherry, and fellow Michigan DNer Chris Clark on board.
  • BANDIT (Section 2), with DNer Chris Berger. BANDIT’S owners Arvid Eiesland and Joe Kestler have  DNs, Arrows, and an old Palmer Skeeter.
  • WINDSONG (Section 8) has DNer Andy Camarda on board.
  • CHAYA DOIN (Cruising Division) has DNer Marci Grunert on board.
  • GAUNTLET (Section 5) has DNer Gail McCarthy Turluck on board.

Drop me an email if I missed you and I’ll add you to the list. Good luck and safe sailing to all competitors.