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Scuttlebutt Poll:
What is the longest annually held fresh water distance race?

(July 24-27, 2009) - When there are two races both marketing themselves as the longest annually held freshwater race, and they are in the Great Lakes, occur on the same weekend, and are not the same distance, it would seem that one of them needs to relinquish the title.

Heck, that might even be the wise move. After all, how about saying your race is the most fun, or the most interesting? When you say your race is the longest, the only thing for sure is that your race is… long.

The Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac on Lake Michigan is 289 nm, and calls itself the “longest annual freshwater sailing distance race in the world”. However, over to the east is the Lake Ontario 300, and at 300 nm, it similarly labels itself as “the longest annually held fresh water sailing race in the world.” How can this be?

According to Chicago Yacht Club, the fundamental issue is what do you call a distance race? They define the Race to Mackinac as the longest annual distance race, meaning a race that starts at one port and ends at another port. Since the Lake Ontario 300 starts and finishes at the same port, Chicago Yacht Club considers it to be a fundamentally different race than the Race to Mackinac… and thus not a ‘distance race’.

There would seem to be little argument that a port to port race includes more logistical issues for both race management and competitor, but does it mean that the Lake Ontario 300 is not a distance race? It was time to let the Scuttlebutt community decide what they considered to be the longest annually held fresh water distance race in the world. Here was the result of their vote:

  • 71% - Lake Ontario 300
  • 29% - Chicago to Mackinac

  • Click here for the comments.

    Curmudgeon's Comment: The term "ANNUAL" plays a huge role here, as there are longer freshwater races, but they are not held annually. The irregularly held "Super Mac" between Port Huron to Chicago is 490 nm, and the biennial Trans Superior International Yacht Race is 338 nm.

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