Chicago to Mackinac Race – Olson 34 & AS-40

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The 108th Chicago to Mackinac adventure begins Friday July 22nd @ 15:10, and Jay Grizzell and his 7 man crew will be racing aboard “Shoe String”, a 1989 Olson 34 equipped with the Trogear AS-40 bowsprit.

Put on by the Chicago Yacht Club, at 289 nautical miles (333 Statute Miles), most of it over open water and well beyond sight of land, it is the longest and oldest annual freshwater distance race in the world. ‘The Mac’ starts at the Chicago Lighthouse, just off Navy Pier and continues to Mackinac Island.

Jay has been preparing Shoe String for this event for many months and the addition of the Trogear bowsprit was a major part of that preparation. Following is a part of the story:

“Mid-December of 2015 is when the initial discovery of Trogear Marine Products occurred. Unfortunately, the mists of time obscure how this fine company was stumbled upon. It is remembered as a ‘Eureka!’ moment, because the pivoting carbon bowsprit (AS-40, in this case) appeared to meet large percentages of an array of criteria that a sprit for a 1989 Olson 34 (Shoe String) must meet:

  • Functional
  • Affordable
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Easily installed
  • Durable
  • Uncomplicated

Many conversations ensued, both verbal and via email, with many questions answered and some leading to additional questions. Eventually a new AS-40 was in hand, prompting an unsettling question “uh oh, now what?”.

The installation guidelines within the Trogear Marine Products site were reviewed and adapted to the particular demands of an Olson 34…”

Read the REST of the STORY – the complete installation process


Follow Shoe String’s progress during the race 

It has been an incredible pleasure to be part of Jay’s experience. His emails full of detail and humor have been inspirational and we will follow the race closely wishing him and his crew fun, excitement and even a win!

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