324 Boats to Race in Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac

Published on June 10th, 2015

There is just one month to go until the 107th Race to Mackinac, presented by Wintrust, when 324 sailboats will make the 333 mile voyage from Chicago to Mackinac Island. More than 3,000 racers from as far as New Zealand will be coming to Chicago to be part of the tradition.

Richard Mason will be arriving in Chicago fresh from managing Volvo Ocean Race Team SCA’s shore program. “Having spent most of my career sailing in oceans I find it very challenging to sail in the landlocked lakes with all the localized characteristics of the winds.” Mason will be racing onboard speed record hopeful Il Mostro, a Volvo 70.

Joining the Race this year will be 42 first-timer boats. Among these ranks is Ben Wilson racing one of the smallest boat designs on the line, the J/88, Rambler. While this will be Wilson’s fourteenth Mac, it is his first time as a boat owner. “It’s an honor to be part of this race as a captain. It makes you a little nervous; it’s a little disconcerting. But on the same token I think that I’ve taken the steps that I need to take to be ready.”

Wilson is up against some stiff competition such as fellow J/88 racer, Rich Stearns, who will be racing his 41st Race this year. Rich Stearns, had some advice for the first timers, “The boats can be so fast now that this is really kind of a sprint to middle distance race. Although you need rest, you need to concentrate the whole time and keep things going fast.”

Wilson has been taking notes from Stearns and other race mentors, and already decided that Rambler will do the Race again in 2016. “Part of what makes the Mac great, is that it honors tradition; so year-to-year you don’t see a lot of variance,” pointed out 2014-15 Race Chairman, Matt Gallagher.

The Race to Mackinac begins on Saturday, July 11 just off the east end of Navy Pier with the Parade of Boats. Participation in the Race is by invitation only. For more information and the full schedule of events, please visit cycracetomackinac.com.

About the Chicago Yacht Club
The Chicago Yacht Club is one of the oldest and most respected yacht clubs in the world. Today, the club boasts a membership of nearly 1,500 boating enthusiasts and is one of the preeminent organizers of regattas, races and predicted-log events in the United States. The club offers an array of spectacular off-the-water amenities, including fine dining and full-service catering at both its Monroe and Belmont stations. “A tradition of yachting excellence” is a fitting description of a club that has dedicated itself to promoting the sport and perpetuating the values of camaraderie and community since 1875. Learn more at chicagoyachtclub.org.

About the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac
At 333 miles (289.4 nautical miles), the Race to Mackinac is the oldest annual freshwater distance race in the world. ‘The Mac’ starts at the Chicago Lighthouse just east of Navy Pier and continues to Mackinac Island, MI. The Race can be followed online via Facebook, Twitter (#CYCRTM) and the race tracking app – YB Tracking. See more at cycracetomackinac.com.

Source: Morgan Kinney – Communications Director, Chicago Yacht Club

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