Notes from the Mac #1 - YB Tracking and the 110th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac
June 22, 2018 01:34 PM
Over the past decade, tracking has become an integral part of the Race to Mackinac experience. Tracking brings the excitement of #AmericasOffshoreChallenge closer than ever to friends and fans. For sailors out on Lake Michigan, friends and family at home, race officials, and our sponsors, the ability to watch the race as it unfolds in real-time brings the excitement of this century-old competition closer than ever.
Our partnership with YB Tracking
provides numerous technology features that spectators and participants alike can utilize to enhance their understanding of the race. Here are a few quick tips to maximize the value you take away from race tracking.
The Tracking Website
The main tracking website is reached from a link on the race homepage
and goes "live" on Friday morning ahead of the Cruising Start. A recently updated version of your web browser (Firefox, Safari and Chrome are your best bets) is needed to use all key functions. Track the fleet by section, division, or select individual boats to monitor. Please note that you cannot access the tracking website from your iPhone or iPad. Instead, you must use the mobile app.
Tracking relies on satellite connections and data processing so is not real time; boat positions are recorded and uploaded for all boat every 15 minutes on the quarter hour AND as each boat crosses the 3 Mile Radio Call-in and Finish lines. In most circumstances, all boat position updates will be visible in the system within 2 to 3 minutes of the quarter hour.
New for 2018, the tracking site will display an approximation of the finish line (in red) and the Three Mile call in line (in yellow) to help friends and fans follow the action at the end of the race.
The Mobile App
The YB Races app
is available for iOS
. Download it now so you’re ready when race week arrives. The race data will be available on Friday July 20th without charge thanks to our generous sponsors. To add the Race to Mackinac to your app, click on the gray "add races" bar at the top of the "My Races" tab. You can also view races from around the world that are supported by YB.
YB on the Water
Neither the website nor the mobile app are optimized for the narrowband environment sailors experience during the race. To better serve our competitors, YB makes available a set of narrowband files that can be quickly and easily downloaded during the race, provided you have a cellular data or satellite data connection. Check out the files from last year’s race
today at to familiarize yourself with what’s available. And visit https://yb.tl/links/chicagomack2018 on Friday July 20 to begin viewing the live data feed from this year’s race.
Are you an Expedition
user? Expedition facilitates the easy download and display of YB data. Just click on the YB button and enter chicagomack2018 in the "race name" field. Follow the prompts to download the entire fleet or just a subset of the data available on a regular basis. Again, this goes live on July 20.
offers unlimited data for about $140 per month, with prepaid cards
also available. The satellite modem retails for about $700
and is easy to use. While not inexpensive, Iridium Go is reliable and increasing a part of many racing boats. More robust data connections are also available, most notably Inmarsat’s Fleet One
product, but require professional installation and involve more significant cost. For those of you with low-bandwidth connections such as an IridiumGo, we encourage you to look into how to get tracking data into your routing software as there is some setup involved and a learning curve to overcome.