2022 Chicago Mac

Published January 2023

Thunderstorms seem to be attracted to sailboat racing. Perhaps it’s an affinity for fiberglass, but more likely it’s because competitors challenge Mother Nature by venturing offshore during the height of thunderstorm season.

Over the years, I’ve written many regatta and thunderstorm summaries, and they have a common theme: a squall line or cluster of storms reaches the fleet, wreaks havoc for an hour or so, and continues on its way. The fleet is left to restore order and refresh their strategy, but the excitement from the thunderstorms is usually short-lived. The forecast for the 2022 Chicago Mac suggested this would not be the case. A steady parade of thunderstorms marched across southern Lake Michigan even before the start—a preview of things to come.