Tried & True finishes second in Mac Race
Melissa Lumkes (fourth from left) poses with the Tried & True crew July 24 at the 104th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, presented by Veuve Clicquot. | courtesy of the chicago yacht club
Updated: September 3, 2012 6:11AM
RIVER FOREST — Minor adjustments make the difference in where a boat places in the Chicago Mac Race.
Tried & True, a 36.7 Beneteau in the Mackinac Trophy Division in the 104th Race to Mackinac, took second place on July 23.
Captain Robert Foley of Glencoe led the team of seven. On board, Melissa Lumkes of River Forest was responsible for sail changes aboard Tried & True.
With a time of 45:13:04 (corrected time 39:55:38), they were 41 minutes behind As You Wish and five minutes ahead of Tequila Mockingbird in the race sponsored by the Chicago Yacht Club.
“We had only four sail changes the whole race,” said Lumkes, who completed her ninth Mac. “We sailed downwind the whole two days. We used a spinnaker at the start and didn’t use a gennaker; we had only two shifts with our crew.”
Coming through the Manitou Islands, they were neck-to-neck with Tequila Mockingbird for three hours.
A building 20-knot breeze at Gray’s Reef kept things interesting as they used a heavy spinnaker the last 50 miles.
“We used a heavier chute just past the Mackinac Bridge, but it blew out one mile from the finish line,” said Lumkes. “A lot of people were having problems just under the bridge.
“It was a tight race, As You Wish was about four miles ahead. Through the Straits of Mackinac was like a parade of boats all lined up.”
For Mac sailors, the journey never gets old. It’s always enjoyable when your boat performs well.
“Every year there are new challenges; the conditions are never the same,” said Lumkes, who’s the crew chief and in charge of sail changes. “This was the fastest and most calm race I’ve ever done. The winds were just steady mostly at 8-12 mph. The key was we kept moving and never got stuck with zero wind.
“Last year [in the storm] we saw 47 knots with hail and lightning. We had to reef the main and put up the storm jib.
“The great thing about the Mac is working together as a team with the different people for the two days. The camaraderie you build makes for a special bond.”
Foley is glad to have Lumkes’ expertise on board.
“Melissa is a great leader and a beautiful person to be around,” he said. “Being the only female around seven smelly guys isn’t easy. She’s very organized and has a great eye for sail trim. The last eight years we’ve finished in the top five in our section and she’s a big reason why.”