For a 17th time

Bloomfield Hills resident set to lead crew at Bayview Race

By: Mike Moore | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published July 19, 2017

His 16th go of this was last summer, yet in speaking about the annual race to Mackinac Island, Stephen Polk still talks as if he’s a rookie ready for his first voyage.

“It’s something you have to enjoy every year,” Polk boasted last week about the 2017 Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race. “Every year is something different, and you always look forward to it.”

This summer’s event is set to launch July 22.

Polk is a co-owner of Evolution, a 70-foot Santa Cruz-type boat set to sail in Class A. This July marks the 17th time Polk has been part of the race.

“It’s a new challenge every time,” said Polk, who is a Bloomfield Hills resident. “But to be out on the water with a bunch of people working as a team is pretty special. The whole experience is great.”

Polk and co-owner Chris Saxton are part of a 15-man crew. Members hail from all corners of Michigan, including Grosse Pointe Park, Holland, Plymouth and Bloomfield Hills, to name a few.

One crew member resides in Noblesville, Indiana. Another calls Irvington, New York, home.

But in just a few days they’ll unite aboard Evolution with one goal in mind.

“We won our class a few years back (2011),” Polk said. His crew was third overall in the entire race that year, he added. “That’s what we’d like to do again.”

Evolution will race on the Cove Island Course with similar-sized vessels, some of the biggest in the race.

“You have to pay attention to every detail,” Polk said when asked about the keys to a successful race. “You really have to stay on top of everything. There’s always something different that comes up, and you have to be ready.”