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Published: Thursday, 7/17/2003

Caracci counts on experience in Mackinac race

BY SHIRLEY LEVY
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Frank Sinatra called luck a lady.

Film producer Robert Evans, subject of the film The Kid Stays in the Picture, defined it as “when opportunity meets preparation.''

But if Dave Caracci had anything to say about the matter, he'd factor in experience.

Caracci, who will be sailing his 9th Bacardi Bayview Mackinac Race this weekend, will have more than 100 years of experience aboard his yacht Hurricane.

“One crew member - Joe Henry, from Sandusky - has raced over 30 years, maybe even 40,'' he said.

The others are Pete and Beth Mooney, Mike Deye, and former Toledoan Eric Glazer. All except Deye have been aboard every one of the nine years Hurricane has sailed in the Mack.

“We're now seeing how important that experience really is,'' Caracci said.

“We've had three seconds and a first in the Mills Race, and that happened only after we started racing the Mackinac,'' he said.

“The Mills is an early season race and the conditions are like those in Lake Huron - cold and a lot of thermal waves.

“A couple of weeks ago we raced in Sandusky and the wind was blowing 55 knots. Most of the other boats dropped out, but to us it was no big deal because we had sailed in those conditions before.''

Eventually, however, Caracci was forced to drop out anyway because the mainsail developed a small tear and he wanted to save it for the Mackinac Race.

Since 1995, when he first entered the Mack, the 38-foot Hurricane has moved up steadily from “middle-of-the-pack'' finishes to a second place last year.

In addition to experience, Caracci will be relying on his brother-in-law Mark Johnson, to help him get to the top this weekend. Johnson, a Maumee High School teacher, graduated from Purdue with a degree in meteorology.

“Joe Henry is staying in a hotel the night before the race,'' Caracci said. “Mark is going to send him a fax with his forecast [weather] the morning we leave.''

One of the largest fresh water events in the world, the 79th Port Huron to Mackinac Race will involve 279 boats and close to 3,000 sailors.

Thousands of visitors will drive to Port Huron on Thursday and Friday nights to view the fleet at t he dock.

But fans hoping to get a glimpse of rock star Bob Seger - the overall performance handicap racing fleet winner in both 2001 and 2002 - will be disappointed. Seger's boat Lightning won't be among them.

Race chairman Paul Falcone said Lightning was for sale and not even in the water. “I hear Seger is working on a new album, which might mean he's getting a bigger boat,'' he said.

But, according to Lightning's co-captain Jack Morman, “Last year was kind of the end of it for him.

“Bob has owned Lightning three years and that's the longest he's ever owned a boat. He didn't want to do it last year, but we talked him into it,'' he said.

Morman, a former Toledoan and North Cape Yacht Club member, will be racing aboard Clune Walsh's Undaunted in PHRF Class A. Mike Thompson, Lightning's other watch captain, will crew on Tim LaRiviere's Eagle One, in PHRF B.

The first of 20 classes will get under way at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, 4.5 miles north of the Blue Water Bridge in Lake Huron.

Nearly two-thirds of the fleet will race up the Southampton Course, a challenging 253-nautical-mile trek across the lake. The rest will compete on the 204 nautical-mile Shore Course that follows the eastern shore.

The first finishers are expected to reach Mackinac Island Sunday evening or early Monday.

Hurricane, a Beneteau 38 from North Cape Yacht Club, will race on the Southampton Course in PHRF Class F.

Toledo area entries in PHRF E include Robert Sheppard's Great Escape III and Chuck Cable's Time, from Sandusky Sailing Club; Doug Beers' Stationbreak, Erie Yacht Club, and Dennis woods' Madam-X, Ford Yacht Club.

Kevin Lemonds' Say Uncle, Grosse Ile Yacht Club, is in PHRF B; Robert Gordenker's Time Machine and Teachers Pet 2, from North Cape, are in the J/33/T35 class.

The 2003 Mills Tropy winner Jazzy, skippered by Jerry Frabutt, of Grosse Ile Yacht Club, will race in PHRF D.

Entered in the open class for multihulls are Gary Hall's Moxie, from North Cape; Bruce Geffen's Nice Pair, Ann Arbor/International Offshore Multihull Yacht Club, and Roy Church's Intruder, Edgewater Yacht Club.

Carl Sommer's Serenity, of Sandusky Sailing Club, will race on the Shore Course.

BOATING CLASSES:

The City of Toledo Boating Education Center will offer a boating safety course at the Ottawa Park Nature Center Beginning July 28 and extending through July 30.

Classes will meet Monday-Wednesday from 6-9 p.m. Contact: 419-936-3848.

“Finish Wood Techniques,'' a four-hour course at the Layman's Boat Building School of the Maritime Museum of Sandusky , is scheduled on July 23 from 6-10 p.m..

Students will learn how to prepare wood and apply various finishes properly.

They may bring some of their own parts to be finished; however there will be a charge for materials.

Contact Dean Howman, 419-624-0274 or smmuseum@aol.com

JULY EVENTS:

18/20 - Homecoming and Associated Yacht Clubs Poker Run, River View Yacht Club.

18/20 - Great Lakes Silver Cup Series, Fairport, Ohio.

19 - Associated Yacht Club's Yachtsmen's Boat Parade starts at noon between the Martin Luther King and Anthony Wayne bridges.

19 - Bacardi Bayview Mackinac Race, Bayview Yacht Club, Detroit.

19/20 - Summer Regatta, Sandusky Sailing Club.

19/20 - Powerboat Superleague, Portsmouth, Ohio.

19/20 - Great Lakes Thistle Championships, Michigan City, Ind.

20 - Dumbluck Regatta, Ford Yacht Club.

20/26 - 48th ILYA Junior Regatta , Inter-Lake Yachting Association, at Put-in-Bay.

25/27 - Quake on the Lake inboard hydroplane race, Pontiac, Mich.

25/27 - Annual Regatta, Monroe Boat Club.

26 - Race to the Sisters, Monroe Boat Club.

26 - Predicted Log Contest, Toledo Power Squadron and Ottawa River Yacht Club, at Toledo Yacht Club.

26/27 - Pascoe Sailaway, Sandusky Sailing Club.



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