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Blog | Chicago Gaining Steam as a Yachting Hub

July 7, 2016

Chicago Gaining Steam as a Yachting Hub

Chicago and the areas in and around Lake Michigan have a rich sailing yacht tradition. In fact the Chicago Yacht Club has been around since 1875. Back then it only had a few dozen businessmen who shared a love boating. Today, the club, which is now based at Monroe Harbor and Belmont Harbor, has close to 2000 members. The Chicago Yacht Club is home to one of several annual yachting events held in the city – “the Race to Mac,” or more specifically, the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac. Once a small event among local boaters, it now ranks as one of the top offshore freshwater yacht races in the world.

The 108th running of the Race to the Mac, a 333-mile race from Chicago to Mackinac Island, is scheduled for July 23.

In addition to this well-known race, just this past June, the city was proud to be selected as the first freshwater venue to host an America’s Cup racing event, in its 164-year history. This historic event drew a long list of VIPs, and along with them many luxury motor yachts. Like many other cities before it such as Newport, RI, and West Palm Beach, whose relationship with the yachting world started out as a sailing capital, Chicago is now broadening its appeal not only to sailboats, but owners of motor yachts as well.


Chicago Yachting

It is no wonder that Chicago has been, and is growing as a yachting destination. Chicago is the third-largest city in the U.S., and Lake Michigan, at over 100 miles wide and 300 miles long, is the 5th largest body of fresh water in the world. Chicago’s Navy Pier, the site of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event, is a world-renowned tourist attraction. In addition to this year’s first-ever America’s cup event, and the upcoming Race to the Mac, the area is also host to the Super Boat Great Lakes Grand Prix which draws more than 80,000 boating enthusiasts to the area, and is the only race on the Super Boat International schedule to take place on Lake Michigan.

Chicago's Navy Pier

The Navy Pier – Site of the America’s Cup Chicago 2016

Yacht owners have long been drawn to an area known as the Lake Michigan Triangle. Chicago serves as the southwestern corner of the triangle. The other two legs are Saugatuck and Michigan City. Midwest Living magazine recently ranked this area fifth among the top 100 vacation destinations in the Midwest, and in 2009 the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the Triangle one of its “Dozen Distinctive Destinations” in the United States.

CYC Race to the Mac

The Race to the Mac – A Chicago Yachting Tradition

Yacht Brokerage Services in the Chicago

If it sounds like owning or chartering a yacht in Chicago is something you would like to consider, 26 North Yachts is expanding our presence in the area. We already have a wonderful 84ft Cheoy Lee Yacht, the Bonita listed for sale there, and we have several others such as an Azimut 62, and an Evolution 41, that we expect to list shortly. In addition, we ran successful charter experiences during the Luis Vuitton qualifier, so watch these pages for other exclusive charter events in Chicago!

84 Foot Cheoy Lee Yacht for Sale

The Bonita


It’s not always easy to stay on top of what’s new in motor yachts. If you would like to benefit from our expertise in these areas, or if you have any questions or comments about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact our Sales Specialists, or call us at 954-900-9988.

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