David Gullo and Harry Bearrows will always remember the 110th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac Island.
They joined fellow Tango in Blue crew members Daniel Griggs, Max Bardeen, Dave Rearick, Allan Brown, Stuart Taylor, Martin Sandoval, Ines Nandin and Tim McCormick to win Section 3 of the Mackinac Cup Division. Leaving Chicago Saturday afternoon, the boat finished the race at 4:50 p.m. on Monday in an elapsed time of 51 hours, 28 minutes and 21 seconds.
Rearick, Bearrows’ godfather, led an experienced crew with 34 Mackinac races under his belt. He is also a world solo-circumnavigator.
“Holly Hirst, Harry’s mom, talked with me about how great it would be to do Harry’s first Mac race with me, some of my friends and Dave Rearick,” Gullo said. “Holly and I go back about 25 years in terms of sailing. We had a really excellent crew this race, but perhaps the worst possible starting conditions.
“There was a heavy upwind, which caused a lot of waves, and it was cold. We had wet, soaking weather gear on the entire race. The race was test of endurance and not the most pleasant experience.”
A persistent wind from the North for over 200 miles made the race particularly challenging.
The start of the race off Navy Pier featured high winds and heavy seas which led to the unfortunate death of a sailor from the boat, Imedi.
Despite the inclement weather, Tango in Blue edged runner-up Sirocco (51:52.18) and Renegade (51:47.29) as the three boats engaged in a tacking battle for over 35 miles toward the end of the race.
Gullo, from Oak Park, raced his 25th “Mac,” which qualified him to become a member of the Island Goat Society.
Bearrows, a River Forest resident and recent Fenwick graduate, fared well in his first Mac race. Previously, he served as a co-captain on the Friars’ sailing team, which took second place in the Interscholastic Sailing Association Illinois State Sailing Championship.
“Harry did a terrific job,” Gullo said. “You don’t ordinarily see an 18-year-old get on the helm and drive the boat. It’s clear he has a lot of talent and he did an outstanding job. He’s a great guy to have on your crew.”