Sailors Gear Up for Race to Mackinac

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The 105th Race To Mackinac sets sails on Lake Michigan on Friday. Boats from far and near converge to this most prestigous fresh water race. (Published Thursday, Jul 11, 2013)

    Thousands of sailors are getting ready for this weekend's Race to Mackinac (MAK'-ih-naw), a 333-mile sailboat race across Lake Michigan.

    The Chicago-to-Mackinac Island, Mich. race begins Saturday, although some boats in a "cruising division" set sail Friday.

    In its 105th year, the competition is the oldest annual freshwater distance race in the world. This year, 350 boats are set to participate in the around-the-clock challenge.

    Most boats finish in 40 to 60 hours, but the record was set in 2002 when a team finished in 23 hours and 30 minutes.

    In 2011, the race was marred by the deaths of two crew members when their Kiwi 35-foot sport boat capsized during a storm.

    Before the race A new kind of parade sets sail in Chicago Saturday. Ashore Thing, presented by Michigan Avenue Magazine and the Chicago Yacht Club, will celebrate the start of the famous Race to Mackinac Island boat race with a parade of sailboat sensations. A wave of prestigious sailboats preparing to embark on the 105th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac will sail through the shores of Chicago offering seaside admirers a close-up view of their "floats." Streamed live on NBCChicago.com.July 13, Navy Pier, 9 a.m.- 1 p.m.