DeVos-sailed Windquest first racing boat to finish Chicago-to-Mackinac event

Originally posted in on July 18, 2011

Windquest, the Max Z86 sailed by Dick and Doug DeVos out of Macatawa Bay Yacht Club in Holland, was the first in a field of 311 racing boats to finish the 103rd sailing of the Chicago-to-Mackinac race.

Windquest completed the world’s longest annual freshwater race at 6:55 p.m. on Sunday. The 85.8-foot Windquest, which led the Turbo class out of Chicago Harbor at 3:20 p.m. on Saturday, completed the 333 nautical-mile course in 27 hours, 35 minutes.

The record for mono-hulled boats in the Chicago-to-Mackinac race is 23 hours, 30 minutes, 34 seconds, set by Roy Disney aboard Pyewacket in 2002.

“Dockside, the brothers agree this was the most pleasant Chicago-to-Mackinac race they have ever done, and the fastest,” race officials said in a news release Sunday night.

Windquest, with her crew of 22, finished more than an hour ahead of Equation, an STP Farr 65 sailed by Bill Alcott of St. Clair Shores. Equation finished at 7 p.m. on Sunday. Windquest’s crew includes Dan, Cole, Doug, Dalton, Ryan and Dick DeVos; Bob and Ben Vander Weide, Willem VanWaay, Jono McBeth, Bob Schermer, Brent Ruhne, Jim Stone, Tom Giesler, Brian MacInnes, Nick White, David Tank, Robbie Young, Bill Sellman, Brian Janney, Farley Fontenot and Mark Pinney.

Windquest was the first in the racing fleet to reach the finish line that stretches between Round Island Lighthouse and Mackinac Island, but she was not the first boat to arrive at Mackinac Island.

Four boats in the Cruising 1 division, which left Chicago 24 hours before the racers, used ideal conditions late Friday and early Saturday to make it to Mackinac Island before the fastest boats on Lake Michigan. Among the cruisers that finished ahead of Windquest was Final Diversion, skippered by Joseph Hass, who is the commodore of the Chicago Yacht Club.

Conditions were less than ideal on the northernmost reaches of Lake Michigan on Sunday night for the hundreds of boats that had yet to finish the race. A wide band of thunderstorms moved across Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula, and a severe thunderstorm warning was declared in the U.P. by the National Weather Service.