Chicago Mackinac Yacht Race

It’s here!! This race is such a fun time to be in the island. Yes they sail from Chicago to Mackinac. According to the Mackinac tourism page this is the world’s longest freshwater sailing event and is recognized as one of the most prestigious sailing races in the world. Today, sailors from Maine to California make this race an invariable part of their summer.

Photo courtesy of Barry Butler

Now I have stayed on the island when these boats came in. Truthfully I wasn’t watching it. And I wasn’t even aware it was going on accept it was so, so busy everywhere and lots of fun. The island was bursting was energy. I for sure will go back when it happens to take it all in.

So lots of questions for myself included. I got in the website for more info. At 333 statute miles or 289.4 nautical miles, the Race to Mackinac is the oldest annual freshwater distance race in the world. The race starts just past Navy Pier in Chicago and finishes between the lighthouse on Round Island and the race committee trailer on Mackinac Island, Mich. it can take anywhere from 40-60 hours for the boats.

The first Mac Race was held in 1898 as an informal race of five boats. Vanenna won in 51 hours.

The second Mac wasn’t until 1904, and it was then held intermittently until after World War I. Every year since 1921 has seen the running of the Race to Mackinac, except in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not sure if many of you have been in the Great Lakes when they are a little rough. It’s intense. So to be in a sailboat ⛵️ all day and night takes dedication. I admire their spirit. Approximately 330 boats, crewed with more than 3,000 sailors in the annual Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac. In order to compete, an invitation from the Chicago Yacht Club is required. There is no prize at the end- just names engraved on permanent trophies at Chicago Yacht Club. Oh and of course bragging rights 😉😉😉

You can track the race online now too. See where they are at. This has come a long way from when it began huh? The island prepares for this event with lots of social activities. The restaurants stock up, entertainment is prepared and shops are fully loaded for incoming boats and visitors. It’s a full weekend but very exciting. This is when you want a balcony view of the water. So the Chippewa, Hotel Iroquois, Downtown Harbor suites and penthouse all have direct view of the water- otherwise a balcony or porch with the other hotels will be good too. You could also trek up to the West Bluff for some great shots of them coming in.

So be sure to watch online through https://cycracetomackinac.com/the-race/race-tracking. I know I am watching.

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