2017 Chicago to Mackinac Sailing Race

Absolute Chicago-Mackinac, photo by Jim Sorbie

When I wandered down to Fishtown in Leland yesterday afternoon, the number one topic of conversation was the annual Chicago to Mackinac sailing race. The 333-mile race from Chicago’s Navy Pier to Mackinac Island is kind of a big deal in communities along Michigan’s western coast like mine. I almost always know a couple of people who are racing, and after the race gets underway, you’ll hear a lot of speculation about the time that the boats will enter the Manitou Passage and then what time they’ll finish at Mackinac Island.

One of the things that’s particularly cool to me is that the Chicago to Mac is one of the few events that ties the whole community to the weather and condition of Lake Michigan. People will take boats out to watch them, or climb Pyramid Point or Whaleback for a view of the boats if they stream past when it’s light out. If you’re within distance of a community like Leland, Frankfort, Ludington, Elk Rapids or up near the Mackinac Bridge, consider checking out likely times boats will pass, grab the binoculars and see if you can get a glimpse of the racers.

Jim writes: Summer Flashback – We’re trying desperately to pass an old friend on the run in to the Island – no luck!

View his photo from near the end of the 2013 race photo background bigtacular and see more in his Mac Races (Chicago & Port Huron) slideshow.

PS: Definitely check out their 2016 Race Photo Contest winning photo!

Sailing into the Weekend

Sunset Sail, photo by Julie Mansour

View the photo background bigilicious and see more in Julie’s slideshow.

2016 Chicago to Mackinac Sailing Race

Chicago to Mac Sailboats & Mackinac Bridge

Sailboats and Mackinac, photo by Alex Duncan

On July 23, 2016, over 350 sailboats will leave the Chicago Yacht club for the longest annual freshwater race in the world. 2016 marks the 108th annual Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac aka the Chicago to Mac. On their Race History page the CYC shares that:

Starting in 1898 with a mere five boats, The Mac has evolved into a world-class sporting event. After the first race in 1898, the Race to Mackinac was not held for five years until the second race in 1904. By 1906, the race had developed a healthy following and, in that year, the original Mackinac trophy was purchased. The race has seen occasional sustained violent weather in the blows of 1911, 1937 and 1970. After gale force winds took down most of the fleet in the Mac of 1911, the finish in the 1912 and 1913 races was changed to Harbor Springs on Little Traverse Bay instead of Mackinac Island. Race organizers felt the shorter distance was safer.

From 1914 until 1916 the Mac was back to its full distance until WWI. From 1917-1920 there were no Mac races due to the strains of the War, which took away yachtsmen and put many boats out of commission. Since 1921, the Race to Mackinac has run consecutively every year, remains the longest annual freshwater distance race, and is recognized as one of the most prestigious sailing races in the world.

Read on for lots more including an account of the first race. If you’re wondering when to catch a glimpse of them, Pyewacket set the monohull record in 2002 with a time of 23 hours, 30 minutes and 34 seconds. The race starts at noon on Saturday and usually takes between 40-60 hours to finish.

View Alex’s photo from 2011 background bigtacular and see more in his Pure Michigan slideshow.

More summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Come Sail Away

Come Sail Away

Come Sail Away…, photo by Mike Millspaugh

What a gorgeous photo of a tall ship under sail off Grand Haven. I looked around for a while trying to figure out what ship this is until I remembered that I can just ask all of you. Let me know in the comments!

View Mike’s photo bigger, see more in his slideshow, and view more of his work on his website.

You know I can’t resist…