What’s That on the Horizon? The Upcoming Chicago Summer Sailing Season

When you look out on Lake Michigan this weekend, June 18 -19, you just might spot some white sails down near the Loop. That’s because the U.S. Sail Grand Prix at Navy Pier will be boldly setting sail for a weekend of racing and spectating.

In a year of firsts — such as this being the first year the trials will take place on fresh water — the race will feature 10 national teams from locations such as Japan and New Zealand, including two new franchises from Canada and Switzerland. Each team is equipped with identical F50 catamarans to test their dexterity in this globally-appreciated race.

SailGP Event 2 Season 3 Chicago, USA.
USA SailGP Team practice session ahead of T-Mobile United States Sail Grand Prix | Photo by Simon Bruty for SailGP | Courtsey of SailGP

This will also be Chicago’s first time hosting such a prestigious event — for which they have signed a two-year partnership with Sail GP. The partnership also situates Chicago as the the central race village for spectators, including ticketed viewing areas, entertainment and on-shore and on-water VIP hospitality opportunities.

With the city’s skyline as the backdrop to this international sporting event, fans and enthusiasts alike can enjoy the maritime merriment. Tickets can be purchased at the Sail GP website, where additional information can also be found.

The 113th Race to Mackinac Cruising Starts

Sailors looking to test their merit out on the blue horizon needn’t look further than the Race to Mackinac — or “The Mac” as it is colloquially known. This two-day, 333-mile expedition destined for the shores of Mackinac Island is not for the faint of heart, but that doesn’t stop hundreds of boaters from across the world from trying their hand.

Race to the Mac 2019 | Courtesy of Chicago Yacht Club

“Stripped down to its essence, The Mac, like all sailboat racing, is still primarily a test of strength, endurance, strategy and willpower. And let’s not forget the dearest friend, and most menacing foe, of all sailors — the wind,” read a Chicago Yacht Club article.

This competitive race, held in esteem by the entirety of the international sailing network, began in 1898 with a scant fleet of only five boats. In 2022, despite canceling the 2020 race due to COVID restrictions, sailors are returning with gusto — their navigation set and eyes on victory.

Race to the Mac 2019 | Courtesy of Chicago Yacht Club

The race has staggered start times which begin Friday, July 22 at 3pm; will pick up again Saturday, July 23 at 11am; and will release the final heat at 3pm that evening. A luxury of the modern-era provides all remote spectators with the opportunity to watch live coverage of the race via the Race Tracker or keep up to speed with their favorite mariners on CYC’s Facebook and Instagram

On the Horizon…

Chicago Regatta

chicago regatta
Courtesy of Chicago Yacht Club

After months of sunshine, lake mist and smooth sailing, the summer season comes to an unofficial close on Saturday, September 10 with the Chicago Regatta — the premiere charitable event for all those who love and support nautical sports — hosted by Chicago Yacht Club and presented by Wintrust. The key aspect at the core of the Chicago Regatta event — which unites all of its participants — is a mission to help improve the well-being of children in the Chicagoland area.

chicago regatta
Courtesy of Chicago Yacht Club

They have partnered with charities such as: University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital, which is actively advancing pediatric research and patient care; SOS Children’s Villages Illinois, which provides innovative and sibling-focused foster care services; and Chicago Yacht Club Foundation, which promotes youth awareness and appreciation of the nautical arts.

Chicago regatta
Courtesy of Chicago Yacht Club

To take your pledge one step further, donors are welcome to become a Medal Donor or place a winning bid in the silent auction that evening. Moreover, interested parties can visit the Chicago Yacht Club donation page to make a tax-deductible donation.

Additional information and a schedule of the evening’s events — yet to be announced — will be available on the CYC website soon.

More from Better:

Margaret Smith is a Chicago-based writer and editor with a passion for socio-political storytelling about their community. They are a graduate of Columbia College Chicago.

  Who We Are       NFP Support       Magazine       Programs       Donate