By Sam Graubner, South Shore Yacht Club

The Queen’s Cup Race is sailed for one of the oldest trophies in world yachting, with a history that 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, when Walter Hull was cleaning out a family storeroom and discovered an exquisite rosewood box holding the cup. His father, Charles Hull, son-in-law of Commodore Barker had been given the cup. Walter Hull treasured the cup and kept it in his possession until September 1, 1938. Eventually, in 1944, he was convinced to deed the cup to South Shore Yacht Club.

This annual race across Lake Michigan always starts off at South Shore Yacht Club in Milwaukee, WI and crosses Lake Michigan to a finish line on the Michigan shore. The Queen’s Cup is open to all yachts of recognized yacht clubs on the Great Lakes.

Range of Boats & Crew

The 80th running of the Queen’s Cup offers the same challenges to racers as previous years. 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. Some races are screamers, some are drifters. Some races take 8 hours (less for the biggest yachts); some take 26 hours or more. It all depends on the weather.

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. It’s all about the challenge of crossing the lake, the competition and a chance to win a section flag or trophy or maybe even the coveted Queen’s Cup itself with your boat name engraved on the trophy.

This iconic race is always a favorite, well attended, and challenging … For more info on Queens Cup or more info on how to enter go to

South Shore Yacht Club Queens Cup Events are Packed Full

Starting Wednesday, June 20th it’s Caribbean Night Party Time with food and drink specials from the islands and sway to the tunes of Pangea Steel Drum Band.

Rise and shine early on Thursday, June 21 to a mouth watering buffet breakfast served in the SSYC Commodore’s Cove. (Upstairs dining room) There’s something for everyone over this 3 day event … Beer Tasting by Wisconsin Brewing, Rum Tasting by Mount Gay and finish it off with a dinner buffet in the Commodore’s Cove. You’ll be tempted to join in at the Pig Roast and the annual rockin’ Queen’s Party featuring live music by “The Sentinels” under the Canvas Cove. SSYC rocks during the Queen’s Cup event.

Besides the Party atmosphere, there will be raffles, merchandise to purchase, lecture presentations by Dr. Dr. Edit Olasz Harken, and more. Most important, North Sails will keep the racers up to date with current weather briefings. Then, we’re off to the race on Friday, June 22nd, with start warnings first for the cruising fleet at mid-afternoon, followed by the short-handed fleet and lastly, the fully-crewed fleets. The boats will race off into the evening and likely finish sometime around dawn. Truly a spectacular site to see all the racing boats with sails up. Safe sailing to all on your journey to Grand Haven Yacht Club.