What is going on at the Great Lakes? This weekend on Lake Michigan, 350 boats will start the 101st Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, the 333 statute mile event that calls itself the “The world’s longest annual freshwater distance race.” However, also this weekend, over to the east there will be 170 boats starting the 20th running of the Lake Ontario 300 (nautical mile), which similarly labels itself as “the longest annually held fresh water sailing race in the world.”
To their credit, both races are sold out, but is now a good time to mention how 1 statute mile equals .86897624 nautical miles?
The scoop on the Lake Ontario 300 is that they have sponsorship from Bell BlackBerry, and have grown by more than 40% over last year, attracting competitors from over thirty different yacht clubs from both sides of the border. The course is a circumnavigation of the lake that starts at Port Credit Yacht Club (Mississauga, ONT), heads east and rounds Main Duck Island, then heads south to Oswego NY where it turns east along the south shore to the Niagara River mark before heading to the finish line at Port Credit Yacht Club.
Regarding what race this year is the actual longest, freshwater race (though not annually held), the gauntlet has been thrown down with the return of the "Super Mac". Last run in 2000, this 564 statute mile race (or 490 nautical miles) starts with the Chi-Mac but rather than stopping at the top of Michigan after their finish, the 31 current entrants will continue on around the corner and head south in Lake Huron to the finish in Port Huron, Michigan, and serve as a feeder race for the 85th sailing of the 2009 Pure Michigan Bayview Mackinac Race, which will start on July 25, 2009.
Chicago YC Race to Mackinac: http://www.cycracetomackinac.com
Lake Ontario 300: http://www.lo300.org
Pure Michigan Bayview Mackinac Race: http://www.byc.com/mack
Mileage convertor: http://boatsafe.com/tools/scale.htm
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