CHICAGO YACHT CLUB

Michigan Avenue - - THE SOURCE: SCENE -

The Race to Mack­inac is about the jour­ney as much as the des­ti­na­tion. More than 325 boats car­ry­ing 3,000 sailors an­nu­ally de­part on a 333 mile ad­ven­ture to Mack­inac Is­land, Michi­gan. The first night falls and crews de­velop tac­tics for stay­ing alert whether it’s through song, weather fore­cast­ing or sto­ry­telling. They hud­dle to­gether on the rails for warmth in the dark­ness with only the stars and pe­ri­odic beams of flash­lights to light their way. Dawn is when sailors re­mem­ber just how large Lake Michi­gan is – they’re sur­rounded by the com­pe­ti­tion or all alone. There’s the in­evitable mix­ture of pain and re­lax­ation on­board, but spir­its re­main high. A dozen sets of weary eyes perk up and col­lec­tively bod­ies that had been sleep­ing be­low deck rise up. The Mack­inac Bridge is on the hori­zon; the fin­ish line is within reach. Wish the sailors luck and wave farewell as the boats pa­rade past Navy Pier be­fore the start of the race on Satur­day, July 15.

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