It wouldn’t be summer without a report from Riverside sailor Greg Alm and his adventures in the Chicago Yacht Club’s annual Race to Mackinac. As a landlubber, I enjoy hearing about Greg and the race aboard the Realt na Mara, and this year the tales were as interesting as ever.
The race, now in its 105th year, brings out the best in what is one of the premier boating events. Racing out of the Chicago Yacht Club, the Realt na Mara had hoped to repeat its first-place victory of last year, but it was not to be — they had to settle for second place overall, with a time of 52 hours, winning their section by more than 2 hours.
The boat and crew achieved that mark despite a few problems, notably the engine stopping. Pictures showed the boat with what looked like jet streams billowing out the back, but they overcame the obstacle and finished the race. This year was listed as one of the slowest races due mostly to a lack of wind.
There were a few other differences for Alm this year. First, it was to the last race aboard the Realt na Mara. The vessel is up for sale since its owner has decided to step back from boating.
However, for Alm and his friends who have been part of the crew for more than four years, they hope it won’t be their last time aboard the boat. According to Alm, if someone is interested in purchasing the boat, that person would not only be the owner of an award-winning boat but could possibly hire on a crew with a proven winning record. Sounds like a deal.
The boat was also one of 15 selected to use Twitter to keep the fans updated, so he added tweeting (some were very funny) to his list of jobs, along with videotaping, as a member of the crew.
For lm being a part of this particular crew is special, because it includes some of his fraternity brothers, including the boat owner’s son. The 2013 race will be a last time for the father and son duo.
Meeting the boat at the end of the race was Alm’s wife, Debbie, and daughters Emma and Jane, who were present for the first time, so they were able to enjoy some of the amenities of the island.
Alm says it will be OK if he is not on board with his friends in next year’s race, but something in his voice says different. Wanna buy a boat and crew?