Two of the most iconic Mackinac Island events are the infamous annual Yacht Races. These races bring thousands of sailors and spectators to the island. The marina landscape is busy and beautiful. The celebrations are exciting. This Saturday, July 15, begins the 109th annual Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, and the 92nd annual Bayview Mackinac Race will commence the following weekend.
These competitions are recognized as one of the most challenging freshwater boat races in the world. But did you know Mackinac Island is also a site for smaller sailboat races?
These local races are much more amiable than they are competitive. All classes of boats are welcome and all skill levels are encouraged. There are currently four Mackinac races, sponsored by the Mackinac Island Yacht Club:
The Pink Pony 4th of July Race
Chicago Mac Week Round the Island Race
Mission Point Resort Mac to Mac Race
Horns Bar Labor Day Regatta
The first “Sail Mackinac” event of the year, the Pink Pony 4th of July Race, drew eleven competitors, all of which were local boats. The weather was warm with an easy wind.
This particular race travels East around the perimeter of the island. The 50 Free lapped first with a time of 1:25:56 but it was the Yahoo that placed first after handicaps. The Yahoo was new to this race and also to its captain, Tim McCleery, who had recently acquired the vessel. Keeping with tradition, post-race awards were announced at the MIYC with a Pink Pony catered celebration.
The next Sail Mackinac race will be Chicago Mac Race Week Round the Island Race. This regatta follows the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, and takes place this year on Wednesday, July 19 (1:00PM). The race is open to all sailboats in the Chicago Mac Race and all boats in the Mackinac area.
The start line will be near the East Breakwall, rounding the Island to port, finishing directly south of the Mackinac Island Harbor. Immediately following the race, an awards ceremony and party will be held at Mackinac Island Yacht Club. Prizes include brag flags and keeper trophies. The Madigan Trophy is awarded to first in fleet. For more information and registration, visit www.miyachtclub.com
Maritime culture is such a precious piece of Mackinac Island’s character. The Chippewa Hotel and Pink Pony take pride in their relationship with lovers of the distinguished Great Lakes. We are so excited for the upcoming Yacht Race gatherings and our continuing partnership with Sail Mackinac events.
If you don’t have your own boat, there are plenty of opportunities to cruise the Straits of Mackinac.
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Post & Photos by Kate Dupre
Social Media / Marketing Manager for Lilac Tree Suites & Spa, Chippewa Hotel, Pink Pony
Mackinac Native & Enthusiast