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Bayview Mackinac Race this weekend

Courtesy Bell's Beer Bayview Mackinac Race

It's a big weekend for sailors.  This is the 88th year for the Bayview Mackinac race. It starts in southern Lake Huron and ends at Mackinac Island.

This year's event has drawn 222 boats, crewed by about 2,000 sailors.

Greg Thomas is the race chairman.

"Maybe when you stand on shore, and you see a sailboat out there, it doesn't look like there's a lot going on," Thomas says. "But there's a lot going on.  It's very high-tech, there's a physical fitness part to it, an athleticism part to it, and a mental part to it."

Notable this year is the participation of The Bernita, a wooden sailboat that won the first event in 1925, and again in 1927, and then disappeared.

"A few years back, some men found it in a barn in Frankfort, Mich.," Thomas says. "It was in a horrible state of disrepair, and with some passion and some skill, they rebuilt it."

Thomas says festivities kick off this evening (July 13) in Port Huron with Boat Night. Ships will be dressed with colors and there'll be music food and entertainment.

There'll be another pageant  tomorrow as the boats file out of the Black River.