CHICAGO YACHT CLUB
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.