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2006 Race to Mackinac

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jul 21, 2006 3:52PM


The Chicago Yacht Club's 98th annual Race to Mackinac kicks off this Saturday, as about 300 boats set sail up Lake Michigan to Mackinac Island, Michigan. The longest freshwater sailing race in the world, the Chicago - Mackinac Island course covers 333 miles.

2006_07_sports_mac_logo.jpgChicagoist is often mocked by our colleagues for our "beaches" and "fresh water," as if Lake Michigan is some fishin' hole. But that coastal bias against the Great Lakes has proven dangerous to sailors who underestimated the dangers of the race. Just ask Ted Turner! His boat won the race in 1970, but only after his ill-prepared boat fought through storms without storm sails and nearly snapped its mast. Other rich and famous, including Roy Disney and Larry Ellison, have trucked their ocean-going sailing yachts inland to participate.

Will any of the big names be taking part this year? We don't see any among the list of participants. Of course, it doesn't get any bigger than being a friend of Chicagoist. Good luck, Vayu and Measure for Measure!

While the race itself is all business, sailors certainly know how to have a good time. There are a number of parties leading up to the start of the race -- we hear they're quite fun! -- but you've got to know somebody to get in. Unless you know how to tempt a sailor. The parties continue in Mackinac, including the famous Mount Gay Rum Party.

Photo by blipsman