Port Huron to Mackinac Race is the premier sailboat race in the state of Michigan. The race is one of only two long distance fresh water sailboat races in the world. The other race is the Chicago to Mackinac race sponsored by the Chicago Yacht Club. The Port Huron to Mackinac Race, nicknamed the “Mac”, is sponsored by the prestigious Bayview Yacht Club of Detroit.
This year’s race will be the 89th in a series that began in 1925. Charlie Elmer, Chairman of the 2011 Race Committee wrote in his welcoming letter on the Bayview Yacht Club website, “In its own way, the Bayview Mackinac race has become a vital part of Great Lakes boating history, the State of Michigan history, and sailing history. We hope you will join us and make your history of your boat, your family, your friends, and yourself.” This was true then and it's still true!
This sailboat competition is a wonderful event for sailors, landlubbers and anyone who appreciates watching a beautiful fleet under sail against the backdrop of a glistening Lake Huron and the grandeur of Mackinac Island. Whether you are rooting for a favorite sailor or just admiring the beautiful yachts moored in the Mackinac Island marina this event is the perfect complement to a Northern Michigan summer vacation.
The race draws a lot of visitors to the Island so it is important to get your reservations in early at one of the wonderful Mackinac Island hotels, Bed and Breakfasts or other Mackinac Island lodging options.
The Grand Hotel is serving as host and one of the proud sponsors for the Port Huron to Mackinac Race awards ceremony on its beautiful front lawn. The ceremony is followed by a series of parties and gatherings across the island. Sailors and tourists mix together long into the night in celebration with music, food and drinks at this festive affair.
Grand Hotel is a popular lodging for the sailor’s family and friends while waiting for the boats to moor in the Mackinac Marina. The Grand Hotel is a short 15 minute walk or bike ride from down town. It has many resort activities for young and old alike.
There are two race courses in the Port Huron to Mackinac Race in order to allow more participation with yachts ranging from 26 feet to more than 80 feet in length.
The Cove Island Course is around 298 miles long and is typically followed by boats 50 feet long or longer. This course takes the boats across Lake Huron to Canada’s Georgian Bay. It can be a treacherous route to the winds and storms that often build up along the Canadian shoreline of Lake Huron and collide with the western winds coming across Michigan. Many skippers choose this course in order to experience the challenge of open water racing.
The Shore Line Course is 235 miles long and is designated primarily for boats 27 to 40 feet in length. The route closely follows the Lake Huron shoreline of Michigan and is popular in part because family and friends can more readily track the progress of their favorite sailor’s boat from land.
The Pink Pony is the infamous sailor’s bar located at the Chippewa Hotel near the Mackinac Island marina. It’s a perfect place to drink a cold brew and eat one of the best hamburgers on the Island while watching the boats come into port. The camaraderie is quite entertaining and lively…the rumor has it that what happens at the Pink Pony stays at the Pink Pony.
If you want a quiet and delicious dinner in-town
after watching the Port Huron to Mackinac Race head to the Seabiscuit Cafe on Main Street.
INSIDER TIP: A perfect place to watch for the boats is on the large lawn just below the historic Fort Mackinac. Take a picnic, a Frisbee for the kids and a blanket to enjoy the exquisite scenery of the billowing white sails coming towards you and the Island during the Port Huron to Mackinac Race.
Fun Things To Do!
Terrific Mackinac Gifts
Great Places to Stay
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