Most Chicagoans know of Chicago Yacht Club’s annual 333-mile Race to Mackinac, which begins its 106th edition on July 18 (cruising fleet) and July 19 (racing fleet).
Few know that there’s another Mac Race (though this one seems to prefer the spelling Mack). Michigan’s Bayview Yacht Club hosts this younger sibling. Its 90th edition starts Saturday, July 12, in Port Huron, Mich., and sails the length of Lake Huron with some sections following a 235-mile Shore Course and others a 298-mile Cove Island Course, which wanders into Canadian waters, before eventually crossing the very same finish line as used by Chicago’s race, just in the opposite direction. Port Huron boats finish east to west, while Chicago boats finish west to east. The Chicago and Port Huron races alternate which goes first from year to year, since competitors from the race that goes first often enter the second race too — once at the island, the boat is roughly halfway to the other starting line.Bayview Yacht Club and its sponsors stretch beyond being a sailing race via three community activities tied to the event: Set Sail for Autism, the Less Cancer Ride and the Pro Team Challenge.
In its second year partnering with the race, Set Sail for Autism provides an opportunity for young adults with autism spectrum disorder to sail.
Also in its second year, the Less Cancer Ride pits cyclists against sailors to see who can reach the island first. The cyclists will start Saturday, just like the sailors, but will stop overnight along the way, unlike the sailors, who don’t stop unless the wind dies. The cyclists are expected to arrive Sunday night, along with the first boats. For information about the ride, or to watch it live, go to www.lesscancer.org.
Having been part of the race for a few years, the Pro Team Challenge pits four boats sponsored by Detroit’s professional sports teams (Tigers, Lions, Pistons and Red Wings) against one another. For example, the Tigers-sponsored entry, Christina With a Sea II, has a crew of six boys ages 8-12 and five fathers. They received Tigers shirts, caps and a flag during a ceremony before the July 2 Tigers-Oakland A’s game.
For race details, go to www.bycmack.com.