Record Numbers Register for 108th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, One of World’s Oldest Freshwater Races

More than 300 crews have already registered for the 108th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac presented by Wintrust, one of the world’s longest-running freshwater distance races. The 333-mile sprint from Chicago to Mackinac Island, MI kicks off on Saturday, July 23, 2016 with more than 3,000 sailors approaching the start line east of Navy Pier.

“There is a lot of excitement around sailing in Chicago this year with more opportunities to enjoy the water; in particular, the return of the tall ships and the coming of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in June,” said Race Chairman Don Maxwell, who has raced in 15 Chicago Macs. “The Mackinac Race, even as one of the pillars of sailing in Chicago, is benefitting from this increased interest in sailing. We are seeing past competitors returning to the race, and many new faces looking to experience it for the first time.”

Among this year’s participants will be 29 first-time Mac racers including Chicago-native Jeff Barton. While Barton is new to the Mac, he has assembled an experienced crew with a combined 22 Chicago Macs and several distance races onboard. “Although I don’t have as much experience as my fellow crew members, I have managed the boat for long distance passages, and am deeply committed to ensuring the safety of my crew,” said Barton. The last statement holds especially true, as he will be racing with his two sons, Noah age 15 and George age 12, as well as his wife, Susan. “The entire family is fully capable of taking shifts at the helm, understands how the boat operates, and is well-versed in the necessary safety protocols.”

The historic race is oftentimes a family tradition. At the age of 31, Kim Petritz has raced in 12 Macs with her father George Petritz. While her father and brother participate in a race to Hawaii, Kim will be racing up to the Island with a crew of her own. “This year, Dad will be happy to hand over the keys after he completes the Solo Mac, and will be on the Island to greet us as we finish,” said Kim. Petritz is currently the youngest female boat owner registered for the Race onboard the second smallest vessel at 29 feet with the second youngest crew at an average age of 36. “This race is both a physical and mental challenge,” she added. “The advantage of youth could be our ability to function with very little sleep, but there is no substitute for knowledge and experience of the Race.”

Spectators can enjoy the parade of boats from the east end of Navy Pier starting at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 23. Participation in the 108th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac is by invitation only from the Chicago Yacht Club, with locations at Chicago’s Monroe Harbor, 400 W. Monroe, Chicago, IL 60603, and Belmont Harbor, 300 W. Belmont, Chicago, IL 60657.

For more information and the full schedule of events, visit Real-time GPS positioning of all the racing boats will also be available by clicking the “Race Tracking” link. Racers can also be followed on Twitter using #CYCRTM.


About Chicago Yacht Club

The Chicago Yacht Club is one of the oldest and most respected yacht clubs in the world. Today, the club boasts a membership of nearly 1,500 boating enthusiasts and is one of the preeminent organizers of regattas, races and predicted-log events in the United States. The club offers an array of spectacular off-the-water amenities, including fine dining and full-service catering at both its Monroe and Belmont stations. The club has dedicated itself to promoting the sport and perpetuating the values of camaraderie and community since 1875. Learn more at

About the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac

At 333 miles (289.4 nautical miles), the Race to Mackinac is one of the world’s longest running freshwater distance races. ‘The Mac’ starts at the Chicago Lighthouse just east of Navy Pier and continues to Mackinac Island, MI. The Race can be followed online via Facebook, Twitter (#CYCRTM) and the race tracking app – YB Tracking. See more at