Mackinac Island Events: Here at, we tend to get very excited about all kinds of goings-on in Northern Michigan. We love to celebrate everything and anything which recognizes the wild beauty of our remote paradise and want to share it with everyone who has the same attachment to clean, fresh water lakes, deep green forests and impossibly vivid sunsets. Officially called the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac Island, "The Mac" is a perfect example of a Northern Michigan event.

Started simply for the love of sailing on Lake Michigan, the Race has evolved into one of the most competitive and anticipated races in the international sailing world. Despite this, the sailors we spoke with about the CYC Race to Mackinac Island were the most passionate when they were describing sailing by Point Betsie on a Sunday evening, or the atmosphere of comradery at the finish line at Mackinac Island.

Over the past month or so, we have done a lot of research on this year's Race to Mackinac Island, and have thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. Now with the July 21st take-off in Chicago just a week away, we want to share the history, stories, and tips we have collected about The Mac. Learn more about the best ways to get involved in one of Northern Michigan's most celebratory summer events!

The History of the Race

Did you know that the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackianc has been sailed for the past 104 years? Or that it is the longest freshwater race in the sailing world? Find out how what started as a bet between two 19th century Chicago sailors became the Mighty Mac and why they selected Mackinac Island as the ultimate destination in our article on the race's early history!

Sailor Speak!

Get ready for the 104th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac by brushing up on your sailing lingo! We've compiled a list of both frequently asked questions about The Mac and some tricky nautical lingo to help you learn the finer details which make tracking the race even more exciting. Read it online!

Places to watch the Sailboats During the CYC Race to Mackinac

Here in Northern Michigan we are perfectly situated to see the sailboats as they race from Chicago to Mackinac island. Head to some of the most stunning Lake Michgian look-outs–even from the shore line you can taste the sense of adventure. Plan your sight seeing with our guide to the course!

An Inside Look with Chairman of the Race Lou Sandoval

To get an accurate view on all aspects of the Mac, we sought someone who has both authority and personal experience—Chairman of the 104th Race to Mackinac, Lou Sandoval. Read our interview with Lou to learn about winning strategy, race traditions, and how he made his passion for sailing in to a way of life.

Talking with Traverse City Sailor David Gerber

Get a Northern Michigan perspective on the race from Traverse City-based sailor David Gerber, whose attitude towards sailing, and in extension, life, is quintessentially Northern Michigan–keep it simple. Read it at!

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