July 22, 2011

Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race Starts to Be Broadcast Live; A Moment of Silence to Be Observed at Saturday Morning Weather Briefing to Honor Sailors Lost in Lake Michigan

PORT HURON, Mich., July 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Bayview Yacht Club announced today that the "Bell's Beer Bayview Mackinac Race" will broadcast all 15 sailboat class starts Saturday from Lake Huron via live video web streaming at www.bycmack.com for the first time in the 87-year history of the race.

"We are very excited to share our race with the world with this first live video web streaming," said Commodore John Burke. "This is an ambitious undertaking and we hope it will work to our expectations and provide on-line viewers with a rare lake-side view of one of the most storied races in the world. We encourage everyone to log on at www.bycmack.com."

Some 221 sailboats ranging in size from 27 feet to 86 feet have registered to participate in the 87th sailing on two separate courses. The Shore Course is 204 Nautical Miles and the Cove Island Course is 254 Nautical Miles and takes sailors into Canadian waters before heading west to the Mackinac Island finish. The first class start begins at 11:30 and last at 1:50 p.m. and the classes have been reduced from 16 to 15 starts.

"We think the larger class starts will make for a more exciting start to the race," said 2011 Race Chairman Charlie Elmer. "It will also shorten up the start that normally takes place every fifteen minutes for each class. We think this is a perfect fit for the web cast and everyone in the world - for the first time - will be able to actually see this historic race and that is very exciting."

Elmer noted that while some 2,500 sailors take part in the annual regatta with an estimated 100,000 sailing fans and families attending the festive start in Port Huron, only a select few on authorized boats - before this year - were able to see the race start because it takes place in a restricted area about three miles from the Blue Water Bridge and a mile from shore.

In a demonstration of respect to the two sailors who perished in the Chicago Yacht Club race to Mackinac Island, Bayview will hold a moment of silence at their 8 a.m. weather briefing Saturday in Port Huron, said Race Chairman Elmer. The briefing will be held at the St. Clair Community College Center in Port Huron.

"Safety is always of priority importance and these tragic deaths remind us all that skilled, veteran sailors who venture on these waters must be constantly vigilant of the weather and safe boating practices," said Elmer. "These sailors were our brothers and sisters and fellow Michiganians. Our sympathies are with their families, friends and loved ones."

Bayview Yacht Club has run its race for 86 consecutive years without a fatality accident. Sailboats have been damaged, dismasted and forced to drop out and one boat "Tomahawk" sank in 1985 but all crew were safely rescued.

"This race is about fun and is a great opportunity to experience and showcase the beauty of Michigan to racing sailing fans here and around the world," said Commodore Burke. "We typically draw sailors from 22 states and several nations and for the world to be able to watch the starts and then track the boats - well we think it is pretty spectacular."

For the third time, sailing fans in Michigan and around the world will be able to monitor the historic race via the Bell's and Bayview web sites as Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking devices will be placed on all participating race boats. In addition, the professional sports teams in Detroit - The Lions, Pistons, Tigers and Red Wings will each adopt a boat at random and their fan base will be able to track the boats progress to Mackinac.

"This race is iconic to the State of Michigan and one of its greatest traditions and we at Bell's Brewery are thrilled to be a part of this phenomenal event," said Larry J. Bell, President and Founder of Bell's Brewery, Inc. based in Comstock, MI. Bell's produces some 170,000 barrels of beer each year and distributes its products to 18 states.

Bell's, the largest brewery in Michigan, is well known for its famed summer "Oberon" wheat ale and "Two-Hearted Ale" among many other premium and specialty brands. Bell's has been a Bayview Mackinac Race sponsor since 2009.

"This race is unique to the Midwest and is the longest continuously run freshwater race in the world. It features sailing in the Great Lakes and showcases the natural beauty and fresh water resources that are unique to Michigan," said Bell. "We welcome sailboats and racing teams from Chicago and around the world for this grand event that marks the height of summer in Michigan."

The 2011 Bayview to Mackinac Yacht Race will be held on Saturday July 23, 2011. Bayview Yacht Club, founded in 1915, is widely regarded as the premier sailing club in Michigan and the Midwest. It has been hosting the Bayview Mackinac Race since 1925. The private club is located on the Detroit River near the mouth of Lake St. Clair and has more than 1,000 members. For more information: www.byc.com or www.bycmack.com for the webcast starts.

Bell's Brewery celebrated its 25th anniversary in Michigan in September 2010. At that event Larry Bell, owner of Bell's Brewery, announced a $52 million investment over the next five years. For More information on Bell's Beer please visit: www.bellsbeer.com.

SOURCE Bayview Yacht Club