Fondly known as “The Mac,” Chicago Yacht Club’s Race to Mackinac is—at 333 miles—the longest running annual freshwater sailing race in the world.
Setting sail in 1898, the Mac’s early years were plagued by storms, course changes, and the onset of World War I; but since 1921 has occurred each consecutive year. It has grown from five boats competing in the inaugural race (and finish times upwards of 52 hours) to more than 300 participating vessels this year; and aboard those vessels, more than 3,300 sailors and crew members from all over the world, from New Zealand to Maine, Hong Kong to California. The race has advanced with technology—spectators can follow their favorite boats via tablet or smart
phone using the boat’s GPS enabled tracking systems —but always kept its age-old traditions. The current Monohull record, set by Roy Disney on Pyewacket, is 23 hours, 30 minutes, and 34 seconds. The multihull record set by Steve Fossett on Stars and Stripes in 1998, is 18 hours, 50 minutes, and 32 seconds. Every year, adventurers and amateurs alike partake in the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, and everyone else enjoys a week long celebration of sailing in both Chicago and Michigan—beginning, of course, with Ashore Thing.