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Wings peg Sorcery for Mackinac race

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
The Pro Team Challenge Cup trophy (Photo by Bill Roose/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – The Red Wings hope to put a spell on the field of four when Sorcery sets sail in the Pro Team Challenge Cup during the 87th Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race July 23.

From a pool of 222 sailboats, Detroit’s four professional sports teams selected their adopted boats in a special drawing held Tuesday morning at Bayview Yacht Club.

Picking third, the Wings selected Sorcery, a 34 ½ foot Tartan, owned by Jeff and Brian Smith, of St. Clair Shores, Michigan. Sorcery will fly the Red Wings’ colors in the second annual Pro Team Challenge Cup, sponsored by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association.

“We think it’s a great event,” said Rob Mattina, the Red Wings director of marketing, who pulled the name of the Wings’ race representative out of a large bowl that sits atop the J.L. Hudson Company Trophy.

“We love the partnership,” Mattina said. “We love competition with our other professional brethrens.”

Sorcery, based out of Bayview and Great Lakes Yacht Club in St. Clair Shores, captured the J-105 class championship in the 2007 Mackinac race.

Last summer, the Wings, with their adopted boat Surprise, based out of Harbor Springs, Mich., placed second behind the Tigers.

The Pro Team Challenge boats will sail the shorter of the two Mackinac courses next month. Sailors on the short course will sail 204 nautical miles along the Michigan shoreline before heading west to the Mackinac Island finish line. Most of the boats competing on the short course are 27-40 feet long.

Besides its owners, Sorcery is crewed by Steve Harthorn, Dan Gidcumb, Steve Tepel, James Fisher, Bert Phillips, and Jeff Ralya.

Race fans can follow the Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race via GPS tracking online by visiting

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

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