103rd Race to Mackinac – The Midwestern tradition continues

CYC Race to Mackinac 2010
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The Chicago Yacht Club is pleased to announce that the 103rd Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, presented by Veuve Clicquot has reached 361 boats and entries are now closed.
 
Since 1898, sailors have gathered in Chicago to begin the 333-mile sailing race to Mackinac Island, Mich. The Race to Mackinac is one of the oldest and most prestigious freshwater sailing races and attracts some of the best sailors in the world.

'The Mac,' as the race is affectionately known, will have around 3,400 sailors competing in this world class sporting event this year Pre-race events will begin Wednesday, July 13, 2011, the Cruising fleet will set sail at 3:00 PM Friday, July 15th and the Racing fleets will start at 11:30 AM Saturday, July 16, 2011.

The Race starts in downtown Chicago, two miles east of Navy Pier, with smaller, slower boats going first The fleet will sail up Lake Michigan, continue just over four miles into Lake Huron, and finish between Round Island Lighthouse and Windermere Point off Mackinac Island, in Northern Michigan.

'We are delighted that interest in the race is so high and we look forward to welcoming back many old friends and to welcoming many new friends,' said Greg Freeman, the Race Chair, when making the announcement this week. 'The Race to Mackinac is always an adventure for our sailors, their families and their friends. We look forward to an exciting race and to a wonderful celebration on our arrival at Mackinac Island.'

Last year the line honors winner was Hong Kong sailor Karl Kwok who reached the Island aboard his 80 footer Beau Geste in just over 31 hours. This year Grand Rapids, Michigan sailors, Dick and Doug DeVos’s 86 footer Windquest will probably start as line honors favorite.

Race record-holders include Roy Disney with his monohull Pyewacket at 23 hours, 30 minutes and 34 seconds in 2002, and the famous adventurer, the late Steve Fosset on Stars and Stripes, which set the multihull record of 18 hours, 50 minutes, and 32 seconds in 1998.

While there is intense interest in the big boats, this race is really about family racing.  As 24 race veteran Greg Freeman explains 'around 60 boats out of the 361 competing in this year’s event will be new to the course but for many families this race is a tradition. People come back year after year. We see fathers and mothers racing with their children. We see grandfathers racing with their sons and daughters and their grandchildren.'

In recent times the average boat length is just 39-foot, which makes the 333 Note: It’s 333 statute miles, 289.4 nautical miles mile race a three day adventure for many of the smaller boats.

'It is an adventure that continues to hold an attraction, with our fleet up over 15% in recent years, largely because of the addition of the Cruising division, which this year will see nearly 50 boats competing,' Freeman said.

The GL70 Details, sails into the sunset. CYC Race to Mackinac 2010
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To learn more about the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, go to the official Web site at www.cycracetomackinac.com.