The Chicago Yacht Club's 111th Race To Mackinac Set Sails

Rob Hart
July 13, 2019 - 3:14 pm

John F. Martin (Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A century old tradition will shove off from Chicago today.

The Chicago Yacht Club 111th Race to Mackinac is underway.  Two hundred and seventy boats and 2,000 sailors will traverse the 333 -mile course on Lake Michigan from the Chicago Lighthouse to Mackinac Island in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. 

Keith Krause of Park Ridge is participating in his 22nd Race to Mackinac.

He said the race is a 24/7 competition.

"We are pedal to the metal all the way," Krause said.  The crew has a sleep rotation so their boat can keep going at full speed in the middle of the night.

"There's a saying on our boat that the race is won and lost at night.  We always put as much maximum effort into being successful at night to try to gain an advantage on our competitors," Krause continued.

Safety is also on the minds of this year's sailors.  Last year's race was marred by tragedy after a sailor fell off of his boat in rough weather and drowned.

Krause said this year, the majority of a boat's crew are required to complete a safety at sea course.

"All the various things you might need in an emergency situation.  Practice them and run down all of the various processes that need to happen," Krause said.

The earliest arrivals pull into Mackinac on Sunday night, with the majority of the boats arriving on Monday.