Navy Pier Host’s Race to Mackinac Island


Photograph by Brent Ozar via Flickr

Break out the compass and boat shoes this weekend because it’s once again time to get nautical as the Chicago Yacht Club’s Race to Mackinac Island in the races 107th edition. Come out to Navy Pier on July 10 and send off the sailors and their ships as they vie for the coveted title of the first to reach Mackinac.

Running since 1898, and after some disturbances early in the races history, it has ran every year consecutively since 1921, making it one of the most storied sailing races in the world. It is also the longest annual sailboat race at a lengthy 333 miles through the waters of Lake Michigan.

More than 350 boats will compete in this year’s race featuring crews from around the world including Australia, New Zealand, and Europe, among others. While this is freshwater race, many veterans of the competition say its unpredictable weather and fickle winds make it a supreme test, to rival that of any ocean race.

If you’re wanting a bit more extravagant view of the race’s departure, be sure to check out Ashore Thing, a pre-game to the sailboats departure held at Navy Pier. There will be a cash bar serving Leinenkugel’s summer shandy, Belvedere cocktails, and Vueve Clicquot as well as other drinks to accompany the breathtaking views. The event is family friendly as well with many activities for children and there will be live entertainment in the form of Million Dollar Quartet followed by one of Chicago’s hottest DJs.

For more information on the Chicago Yacht Club’s Race to Mackinac, go to

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