The 105th running of the Race to Mackinac will begin with cannon fire, signaling the Cruising Division at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, July 15, with the rest of the fleet starting at 11:30 a.m. on July 16th and continuing every 10 minutes until the last section has started. The starting point is the Chicago Lighthouse just off of Navy Pier, where spectators can join together to watch the race kick off. Festivities will be held throughout the races at Navy Pier and the Monroe Station.
The Mackinac race is 333 statute miles, or 289.4 nautical miles, from Chicago to Mackinac Island, Michigan. The finish is marked by the line between the Round Island lighthouse and the race committee trailer on Mackinac Island. The Race to Mackinac is the oldest running annual freshwater distance race in the world, beginning informally in 1898 with 5 boats, with a winning time of 51 hours by Vanenna. The race didn’t run again until 1904 and was held intermittently until post WWI. 1921 marked the first year that sailors and fans would see the race every year, with 2013 marking the 105th running.
The 2011 Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac drew 355 boats and approximately 3,500 crewmembers, and participation is by invitation from the Yacht Club. Though no purse is awarded, each year’s winner is rewarded a plaque, flag, and their name engraved on the permanent trophies on display at the Chicago Yacht Club.
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Among the many Yacht Club festivities surrounding the races this year will be a family party from 6-8 p.m. on July 13th that includes free and fun nautical activities for children such as building and racing a sailboat in a gutter race, art activities, prizes, and a BBQ. You can make dinner reservations at (312) 861-7777. The race site includes a full list of all of the events surrounding the races, including racing seminars, as well as crewing opportunities for those interested.
Concierge Preferred: The Source for Annual Sporting Events in Chicago
When it comes to sports in Chicago, Concierge Preferred keeps Chicagoans in the loop. From The Race to Mackinac to the Chicago Marathon and everything in between, our readers will find it all right here.