Marine News from the Great Lakes

South Shore Yacht Club’s 80th Queen’s Cup: A Proud Heritage

Published: Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Queen’s Cup Race, one of the oldest trophies in world yachting, dates back to the British Victorian era. Queen Victoria first offered the cup as a prize in a sailing race in 1853. History was a little sketchy up until the turn of the 20th Century, until it was discovered in Walter Hull’s attic. Walter Hull treasured the cup, kept it in his possession until September 1, 1938, and eventually deeded the cup to South Shore Yacht Club in 1944.

This annual race across Lake Michigan always starts off at South Shore Yacht Club in Milwaukee, WI, and crosses the Lake to various harbors in Michigan as the ending point. For an in-depth look at the history, click

Range of Boats & Crew

The 80th running of the Queen's Cup is open to all yachts of recognized yacht clubs. This overnight race across Lake Michigan can be a sprint or a marathon, whether sailing the latest high tech TP52 or a classic cruising boat. We've seen winds that bring both downwind runs and upwind battles, as Lake Michigan serves up conditions of all kinds with races times of 8 hours (less for the biggest yachts); to 26 hours or more.

Scoring is both PHRF and ORR, with section splits from 1 - 10 depending upon the number of entrants. Additional sections are one design with previous years seeing J/111, 40.7, multi-hulls and a short-handed section.

This race is inclusive, from smaller boats to bigger boats, and crews from 12 or more, down to the occasional solo racer. Most of the crew are “regular” crew members coming from years of sailing together; family, friends - it’s about building a team. There’s an obvious love of water and sailing… the challenge of crossing the lake, the competition, and a chance to win the coveted Queen’s Cup with the boat name engraved on the trophy.

South Shore Yacht Club Queen's Cup Events are Packed Full

SSYC’s Queen’s Cup Race is not only the “Big Race,” but, over the years, has evolved into a 3-day “Big Event.” Boaters from around Lake Michigan will arrive in time to join in the fun of a Caribbean Night Party on Wednesday, June 20th. Then, rise and shine early Thursday, June 21st, as it’s full of events for everyone including raffles, merchandise for purchase, beer and rum tastings, and educational presentations by various sponsors of the Queen’s Cup Race. The day ends with the annual rockin’ “Big Party” featuring live music under the Canvas Cove.

Then, mark your calendar, next comes Friday, June 22nd, the “Big Race Day.” After checking weather briefings, the start warnings sound; first, the cruising fleet at mid-afternoon, followed by the short-handed fleet, and lastly, the fully-crewed fleets. Racing off in early evening, boats most likely will arrive early in the dawn hours. This iconic race is always a favorite, well attended, and challenging.

For more info on the Queen's Cup or more info on how to enter, click


tags: Events, Lake Michigan, Racing, Sailing

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