PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) — More than 130 sailboats have signed up for an annual race on Lake Huron in Michigan that was toned down last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Organizers of the Bayview Mackinac Race expect between 180 to 200 boats to participate in the event’s 97th consecutive running this summer, the Times Herald of Port Huron reported Friday.
The 2019 race had 220 boats registered. Only 103 registered last year.
The race will kick off July 24 on Lake Huron from Port Huron, about 72 miles (115 kilometers) kilometers northeast of Detroit. The finish line is at Mackinac Island between Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas.
A race committee is planning a return to the event’s two courses. It was reduced to one course last year; Crews were not allowed to sail into Canadian waters because the border was closed due to COVID-19 precautions.
“We are hoping that changes and our Canadian friends will allow us to take on the Cove Island Course,” race chairman Greg Thomas told the newspaper in an email.
Due to ongoing issues with COVID-19, the race committee also has been unable to secure the Mackinac Island marina for post-race use. Boats registered in the race will be able to reserve slips individually at either Mackinac Island or Mackinaw City from April 5-17.
The Port Huron Yacht Club canceled its pre-race party last year. The annual Boat Week festivities put on by the city of Port Huron also were canceled.
Port Huron Downtown Development Authority Director Cynthia Cutright said a “toned down” Boat Week is being planned, contingent on the COVID-19 situation.