History of the Trans Superior International Yacht Race
The Trans Superior was first held in 1969 as a challenge between two old friends from White Pine, Michigan. Dr. John Pierpoint's and Jack Soetebier's friendly challenge turned into a race involving 22 sailing yachts from all over the Great Lakes. The race was won by Tigress, a New York 36, sailed by George Lyons of Rochester, Michigan, in an elapsed time of 84 hours and 2 minutes.
The race has always been held every odd-numbered year. The 27th running of the Trans, the world's longest known freshwater sailboat race, will commence Saturday, August 7, 2021, at the Gros Cap Light in Whitefish Bay, near Sault Ste. Marie. The race start is scheduled for approximately 1300 hours EDT.
The race course, approximately 350 statute miles on this inland sea of Lake Superior, is from the lower end of Lake Superior defined by the Gros Cap Light near the mouth of the St. Mary's River, to a finish line extending from North Pier of the Duluth, Minnesota ship canal, to a white pin buoy some 150-200 yards south of the canal's south pier.
Surface water temperatures vary between 60 and 75 degrees. Surface water aside, Lake Superior's water temperature averages 40 degrees F. during the summer months and 39 degrees F. in the winter. Evening air temperatures during the summer months can be cool. The colder lake water can quickly and dramatically affect weather and sea conditions on the Lake and along its shores. Sailors sailing in exposed areas of the Lake, even during the more stable summer months, often experience dramatic wind shifts with velocities which can quickly build seas in excess of 10 feet.Early August on the 'Big Lake' has unpredictable weather as the rule, not the exception.