Chicago Mac: Back on track
Published on May 26th, 2021
When entries opened for the 2021 Chicago to Mackinac Race opened in February, the COVID clouds were lingering, but now nearly four months later, Chicago Yacht Club is preparing for full sun in July.
After cancelling the 289nm race last summer due to the pandemic, the 112th edition has been green lighted to start on July 16 for cruising sailboats and July 17 for performance sailboats, with 240+ entrants planning for the course from Chicago’s Navy Pier on Lake Michigan to Mackinac Island, MI on Lake Huron.
“The Chicago Yacht Club is just so pleased to be back on track with this incredible sailing tradition,” said Race Chair Martin Sandoval. “The Race to Mackinac is fresh, exciting, challenging and very different every year.
“It’s a test of strength, endurance, strategy and will power. At the same time, it is simply a scenic offshore race where you can actually see the cities along the shorelines…the bridges, the lighthouses…and then you end up at Mackinac Island, a magical destination that has to be seen to be believed.”
The largest boat entered thus far is Peter Thornton’s (Burr Ridge, Ill.) historic 104-foot ketch Whitehawk (in the Cruising Division). Of Thornton’s 19 crew members, nine share his surname.
“For many families it’s a rite of passage for their children and their children’s children to experience the Race to Mackinac,” added Sandoval, noting that “Old Goats” (as they call them) have completed more than 25 Chicago Macs.
At the other end of the spectrum, the two smallest boats in the fleet are 26 footers, each being sailed with just two people (in the Doublehanded Division) and each having one Slovenian and one American aboard.