Set off against the skyscrapers of Chicago's famed downtown Loop district, 19 yachts from a field that annually averages more than 50 boats head out on the 333-mile race to Mackinac Island. The Mackinac (pronounced Mackinaw), billed as the longest fresh-water sailing event in the world, each year draws the finest skippers in the Midwest for a test of seamanship rivaling such salt-water classics as the Bermuda and Seattle's rugged Swiftsure. This year's race, scheduled for July 21, already has more than four dozen entries, all of them aiming for the trophy won last time by Norman (Nubby) Sarns's 40-foot sloop Revelry. Then, after the race, the yachtsmen will treat themselves to a succession of parties aboard their boats and ashore on rustic Mackinac Island, where all auto traffic is forbidden and visitors ride from the dockside in bicycles and colorful, horse-drawn carriages (see page 13).
Crossing finish line after four days of racing up length of Lake Michigan, sailors get ready to drop spinnaker as they slide past Round Island light off Mackinac Island.
Victory party gets under way in cockpit of winning boat Revelry as Skipper Norman Sarns, machine tool executive from Mt. Clemens, Mich, helps guest aboard.
Surrey with a fringe on top gives Wilfred (Toot) Gmeiner, Mitzi and Nic Geib lift to town. Taxis on Mackinac Island are horse-drawn, since autos are forbidden.
July 22, 1956
Grand hotel on Mackinac Island is focal point of postrace activities. Cyclists above pedal past sweeping veranda, which management claims is longest in the world.