Lead competitors in the Race to Mackinac, the oldest annual freshwater boating distance race in the world, concluded their 290-mile run from Navy Pier in Chicago to Mackinac Island on Sunday afternoon with a record number of spectators (in person as well as virtual) looking on. Thanks to Yellowbrick Tracking—an app that allows users to view all participants of the race in real-time with GPS coordinates, leaderboards, overviews of teams, weather conditions, and even social media related to the event—fans and friends of the sailing crews were able to witness the happenings on Lake Michigan from the comfort of their smartphone or tablet. Read on for results, a brief history of the race, and how technology is changing the game on this already popular nautical Northern Michigan sports event.

Race to Mackinac – From 1898 to Today

What began as an informal race between 5 vessels in 1898 has bloomed into a massively popular event that continues to draw competitors and spectators every year. The 106th Race to Mackinac had 319 boats competing in 5 divisions based on size of the vessels, size of crew, and types of boats. Handicaps are applied to each boat to level the playing field using a series of mathematical rating systems that determine how fast each boat should be capable of sailing based on a number of factors. These ratings allow for each boat’s time to be calculated based on their limitations, which means the whole fleet is able to compete against each other. A slew of pre-race events occur in Chicago, but the true celebration lies at the finish line in Mackinac Island: the Grand Hotel hosted a children’s party on the lower level as well as the swanky, adults-only Grand Hotel Porch Party on Sunday evening, and the family-friendly Sailor’s Celebration will take place on Tuesday, July 22nd at the Grand Hotel Tea Garden.

Yellowbrick Tracking Revolutionizes Race Experience

2014 marks the third year that Yellowbrick—an app that utilizes GPS technology integrated with other race-specific information—has outfitted Race to Mackinac. Each racer is provided a Yellowbrick (a fitting name, as the trackers uncannily resemble the profoundly chunky and seemingly omnipresent Nextel cell phones of yesteryear) upon registration at the Chicago Yacht Club. Yellowbricks are “rugged and fully self-contained battery operated trackers which work anywhere on earth,” and utilize satellite technology to send out transmissions every 15 minutes during the race. On the intuitive and easily navigable interface (you don’t need to be a tech whiz to spectate the Race to Mackinac), users are able to view real-time coordinates of each and every boat participating on a map, see information on every vessel including the type of boat, the owner, its division and its speed, and browse leaderboards as the boats finish. A newer feature of the app includes a Twitter feed comprised of tweets that are specific to the race by spectators, media outlets, and competitors alike.

Check out some screenshots from the Yellowbrick iPhone app in the gallery below:

Click the arrows in the gallery’s upper-right corner to expand images; hit “Escape” button on keyboard to exit full-screen:

The ability to observe the lengthy Race to Mackinac as it happens out in the middle of Lake Michigan is no small feat, and the amount of supplemental features provided by Yellowbrick gives fans, friends, and family of the crews participating not only peace of mind, but also an inclusive and thrilling experience to track results from anywhere on earth.

2014 Race to Mackinac Results

While a number of crews and their boats have already crossed the finish line between the lighthouse on Round Island and the race committee trailer on Mackinac Island, many will continue to trickle in over the next few days.

To view times and standings of boats that have already finished by division, visit Results by Division at CYCRaceToMackinac.com.

To view a full list of competitors (finished and still in progress) by section, visit Results by Section at CYCRaceToMackinac.com.

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