Bad omen for annual Great Lakes sail race

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JULY 22 - Organizers of the 2005 Port Huron-to-Mackinac Sailboat Race — which kicks off Saturday on Lake Huron in Michigan — say they’re expecting poor weather conditions.

To help prepare crews for the worst, the Bayview Yacht Club, which is hosting the race, has adopted a new set of sailing safety requirements. Skippers will be required to carry specific safety gear and satisfy 20 pages of safety procedures, a news report says.

Apparently, bad weather also plagued the 1945, 1955 and 1985 Port Huron-to-Mackinac races, the report says. This prompted the local superstition that there will always be bad weather for races in years ending in the number five. Locals call it The Rule Of Fives.

More than 260 sailboats from all over the country and Canada have signed up for this year’s race, which features two racecourses from Port Huron to Mackinac Island. The first is the 235-mile Shore Course for boats smaller than 50 feet in length. Larger yachts will compete in the 290-mile Southampton Course. Boats from 26 feet to more than 80 feet are encouraged to participate.

For more information go to www.byc.com/mack05.

Jason Fell