Sailboats on Lake Michigan
Riding the wind on Lake Michigan

Set Sail

The 74th annual Queen’s Cup, one of the oldest races in the history of yachting, sets sail from Milwaukee on Friday, June 29. Some 1,200 crewmembers on 200 boats will sail more than 70 nautical miles overnight to South Haven, Michigan. The South Haven Yacht Club will host the incoming vessels. If you join the fleet in South Haven, there’s plenty to do while you’re waiting for the ships to come in:

  • Book a cruise on Cat’s Meow, a 38-foot catamaran docked at the River Noire Yacht Club (300 Oak St., South Haven, 574-220-7007,, at slip 77. For $225, up to four people can take a two-hour sail at sunset; bring your own beer and wine.
  • Should you want to get that wine locally, stop at Fenn Valley Winery (6130 122nd Ave., Fennville, 800-432-6265, The winery gives two-hour tours for $8; the tasting room is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
  • Or, visit the Maritime Museum (260 Dyckman Ave., South Haven, 800-747-3810, The five-building complex has permanent and changing exhibits, including one about the role of Lake Michigan sailors in the War of 1812 on its 200th anniversary.

GO 74th Annual Queen’s Cup at the South Haven Yacht Club in South Haven, Michigan. 414-481-2331,

Where to stay: Yelton Manor (140 North Shore Dr., South Haven, 269-637-5220, has 11 luxurious guest rooms in the manor and six more in the adjacent guesthouse, walking distance to downtown South Haven; rates range from $230 to $315. The historic Hotel Nichols (201 Center St., South Haven, 269-637-8725, has 10 guest rooms and two suites suitable for families or small groups in the heart of South Haven’s business district; rates range from $180 to $240.

Where to eat: Tello Italian Bistro (524 Phoenix St., South Haven, 269-639-9898, serves contemporary Italian dishes in a fine-dining atmosphere. The Thirsty Perch (272 Broadway St., South Haven, 269-639-8000,, as the name implies, serves fresh perch and other lake fish (haddock, walleye), plus Atlantic salmon and shrimp.


Photograph: Lexie Petter/Courtesy of the South Haven Yacht Club