2007 is the 99th annual Chicago to Mackinac Sailing Race. The race was first held in 1898 and won by the sloop Vanenna in 51 hours. The Chicago Race to Mackinac is an amateur event, so no prize money is awarded. Racers who have competed in 25 or more Mackinac races are invited to join the exclusive Island Goat Society founded in 1950 by Hobart “Red” Olson and so named for the appearance, aroma, and behavior upon reaching Mackinac Island.
The race starts on Saturday, July 14th from 9:30 to 2:30 depending on class from the Chicago Yacht Club. At 333 statute miles (289.4 nautical miles), the Chicago to Mac is the longest annual freshwater race in the world. The race course (view chart) starts at Chicago and finishes at Mackinac Island, Michigan crossing Lake Michigan and just entering Lake Huron.
Folks all along Michigan’s western shore from Ludington northward will see the boats as they pass this weekend (most of the fleet finishes in 40-60 hours). As the forecast is for very windy conditions (gusting at 40 mph+ on Saturday) we could see some record times!
You can get much more on the race (including live updates) from the link above, also at the unofficial Chicago to Mackinac web site and see some Chicago to Mac photos over on Michigan in Pictures. For the reader’s digest version, check Wikipedia’s entry on the Chicago to Mackinac Boat Race.