Bloomfield Hills father-daughter duo compete in 2023 Bayview Mackinac Race

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published July 24, 2023

 Erin DeGrazia sails over the finish line at the 2023 Bayview Mackinac Race.

Erin DeGrazia sails over the finish line at the 2023 Bayview Mackinac Race.

Photo provided by Teresa DeGrazia


BLOOMFIELD HILLS — Erin DeGrazia, a 14-year-old from Bloomfield Hills, recently steered her crew across the finish line during the 2023 Bayview Mackinac Race.

The race, also known as the Port Huron to Mackinac Boat Race, is “the world’s longest continuously run long distance freshwater yacht race,” according to its website. Sailors have been participating in this race since 1925.

Erin joined her father, Gregory DeGrazia, this year in participating in the race. This was Gregory’s 13th race and Erin’s first.

“I kind of grew up on a sailboat, and I’ve been sailing since I can remember,” Erin said.

The DeGrazia family had a sailboat, and Gregory said Erin was eager to start sailing by the time she turned 8. She began sailing at the Detroit Yacht Club before moving to Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, remaining there ever since.

“We experienced all different types of weather,” Erin said.

The crew faced dead wind, waves and even a storm during their sail.

Gregory said he picked up sailing later in life and is excited to see his daughter following in his footsteps so young. While he has done this race before, having his daughter on the boat alongside him made this year stand out.

“It was extra special for me to have my daughter on the boat,” Gregory said. “Having a family member out there doing it with me who was so excited to do it, that was a real thrill, and it was something I will never forget.”

The DeGrazias raced “Hibernia,” a Beneteau 40. They completed the race in 46 hours and 44 minutes on the Shore Course, which is 204 nautical miles.

The race began on Saturday, July 15. The DeGrazias and their crew ranked 12th in Class N. They finished the race on Monday, July 17, at 11:34 a.m.

Erin said she will continue sailing with Marian High School in the fall. She began sailing with them as an eighth grader.

This race was not a one-time thing for Erin and Gregory. They plan to race next year for the 100th Bayview Mackinac Race.