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First boat to win Mackinac to sail it again

Bernida, the first boat to win the Bayview Port Huron to Mackinac Race in 1925, will sail the 88th running of one of the Great Lakes’ most popular races, starting July 14.

Bought last autumn by Grosse Pointe Park's Al Declercq, the boat is a 32-foot R-class sloop with an open cockpit. There is no cabin for the crew. In terms of size, it's significantly smaller than other boats in the field.

"It's only 48 hours, who the heck cares?" said Declercq, who has entered two races this year with Bernida and won both. "It might be nice, it might be ugly, but when it's rough out there, no boats are comfortable. We'll just be a little less comfortable than the rest of them."

Bernida was built approximately 92 years ago and won the 1927 Mackinac race as well.

Click here for the full report with photo by the Detroit News.