"Voyaging through strange seas of thought, alone ..." William Wordsworth

18 July 2022

First-In-Class.


Merritt Sellers, 14 (above), drove the 36-foot J/111 sailboat "nosurprise" to a first-in-class finish in 98th running of the Bayview to Mackinac race ...

A 14-year-old girl sailing her first Bayview Mackinac Race with her father won the race Sunday night after 33 hours of non-stop work.

As the duo pulled into the Mackinac Island harbor just after 9 p.m., a crowd at the Pink Pony restaurant and bar cheered, whistled and applauded. 

The island had been buzzing all day, wondering if young Merritt Sellers could pull it off.

"Congratulations! I'm very impressed. So's the world," yelled Janet Bradley, 63, a real estate agent from Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, who has raced to Mackinac six times. 

The competition began for the J/111 sailboat "nosurprise" at 11:30 a.m. Saturday just north of the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron for Merritt and Scott Sellers of Larkspur, California.

The whole endeavor seemed ambitious and almost unbelievable.

Merritt Sellers needed to sail the boat at night alone on the 204-nautical-mile journey (235 land miles) while her father rested below deck.

"I sat there, trimming the sail, eating Sun Chips, and thinking about how much I wanted to go to bed," Merritt said afterward.

A sailboat that typically raced with eight sailors had only two aboard.

Not only did they win, but they crossed the finish line more than an hour before their nemesis, a boat named "Utah" from Holland, Michigan, that carried seasoned sailors who had won repeatedly in the past. 

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