The 2007 Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac: July 14th
Presented by Lands’ End Business Outfitters
For the 99th time, sailors converge on Chicago’s front yard to compete in
the world’s longest annual freshwater sailing race.\

Year after year they come. 99 years to be exact. Over 3,000 sailing enthusiasts will take part in the 333-mile race from Chicago to Mackinac Island, MI, during one of the world’s longest and most prestigious freshwater races. The Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, better known as “The Mac,” will weigh anchor and set sail on Saturday, July 14, 2007.
Beneteau 36.7 start of the Chicago to Mackinac race.

Starting in 1898 with a mere five boats, The Mac has evolved into a world class sporting event.

 Although the Mac remains primarily an amateur event, this race has a proven track record of attracting some of the finest sailing talent in the sport. Last year, Doug DeVos’ record breaking Windquest and 2006 Volvo Ocean Race winner ABN AMPRO TWO, skippered by Mike Sanderson, were the boats to watch. Although neither monohull beat the record of 23 hours, 30 minutes, and 34 seconds, set by Roy Disney’s Pyewacket in 2002. Steve Fossett on Stars and Stripes set the multihull record of 18 hours, 50 minutes, and 32 seconds in 1998. The unpredictable weather and fickle winds on Lake Michigan make the Race to Mackinac a supreme test, which many competitors feel rivals any ocean race. As one veteran sailor put it, “It’s fun, but it’s serious fun.”
Crowded startline for the Chicago to Mackinac race. Photo provided by

In 2006, over 7 million website hits were recorded, as spectators watched real-time updates of boats tracked with global positioning satellite. Race tracking is available thanks to state-of-the-art technology developed by Rolling Meadows-based innovator FlagShip Integration Services, Inc. The website also offered access to Mac multimedia, with streaming videos, photos and race updates. For 2007, race tracking, videos and more can be found on the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac website at

Sailors from Maine to California make this race an invariable part of their summer. Moreover, each year the Mac hosts sailors from as far off as Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia. The reach of the Race to Mackinac will extend even wider for 2007. A fourth race division, the Cruising Division, has been added, inviting recreational sailors to experience the thrills of this nautical feat. The Cruising Division has separate requirements for eligibility and entry. Also new in 2007, The Mac will allow competitors who choose to logo their boats the ability to enter the race, thereby attracting larger, more well-known boats from around the world.

These changes reflect the progression of the international world of competitive sailing, and add a new chapter to the Mac’s colorful and rich history. However, the basic elements of this venerable contest have remained unchanged for over 100 years. Stripped down to its essence, The Mac, like all sailboat racing, is still primarily a test of strength, endurance, strategy and willpower. And let’s not forget the dearest friend and most menacing foe of all sailors, the wind. Sailors can request an invitation to the Race to Mackinac online at: racetomackinac/requestinfo.cfm.

Editor’s Note: While in Chicago, we recommend the breakfast at Under 55 Cafe located at 55 E Monroe St.

All contents are copyright (c) 2007 by Northern Breezes, Inc. All information contained within is deemed reliable but carries no guarantees. Reproduction of any part or whole of this publication in any form by mechanical or electronic means, including information retrieval is prohibited except by consent of the publisher.