Northern Michigan Events: One of the best summer events of the North is right around the corner. The 105th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac Island is one of the most anticipated freshwater sailing competitions in the world. From Saturday afternoon until the boats finally dock on Mackinac, gorgeous (and speedy) sailboats will be scattered throughout Lake Michigan. 

Here in Northern Michigan, a spot with a love for Big Blue and all things summer, the annual July race never fails to be exciting. Spend the day at a Sleeping Bear beach on Monday afternoon or take a weekend camping trip to North Manitou, and you'll get a glimpse of the over 300 boats that take part in the historic dash to Mackinac.

The race's history goes way back, with the first race taking place in 1898. Today, a century later, little has changed. Sailors still pause, in awe, as they round Point Betsie, strategy through the famed Manitou Passage makes or breaks those at the front of the pack, and Mackinac Island is full of festivities at the finish line. Nonetheless, with 21st century technology, spectators throughout Northern Michigan have the chance to be one with the action like never before. Track boats and even get live Tweets of on-water happenings from sailors as they make their way north. 

Take advantage of both Northern Michigan's place in this grand sailing tradition, as well as the innovations that are giving us a better glimpse, as you head out to enjoy this historic Lake Michigan sporting event. 

Race FAQ's and Sailor Jargon

No worries if you can barely sail a Sunfish. You don't need to be a sailing expert to enjoy the tradition of "The Mac". We've got answers to commonly asked questions about the race and a refresher on nautical lingo. 

A Conversation with Race Chair, Lou Sandoval

In his second year as Race Chairman of "The Mac" and an experienced sailor himself, Lou Sandoval has plenty of insight on sailing strategy, this year's fleet, and tips on getting the most out of your spectating experience.

The Island Goats Sailing Society

Half a century old, yet still going strong, this exclusive society is equal parts tradition, quirkiness, and friendship. Learn more about the Island Goats Sailing Society from one of its very own. "Long live the goats!"

Where to Watch in Northern Michigan

Take advantage of this year's newest tracking technology to watch boats grace the horizon all weekend long. From Empire to the finish line at Mackinac Island, we've got suggestions for beaches, overlooks, and local mainstays along the route. 

Photo(s) by Michelle Almeida