“I think it is going to be a great weekend and a great opportunity,” said Grand Haven Community Affairs Manager Char Seise. “It’s a spectacular event.”
The last time the Queen’s Cup race concluded in Grand Haven was in 2010. Despite being on the schedule to host the race finish in 2012, organizers announced in 2011 that the event would bypass Grand Haven.
Recent finishes to the race include Muskegon in 2011 and 2014; South Haven in 2012, 2015 and 2017; Ludington in 2013; and St. Joseph in 2016.
“They contacted us earlier this year saying they wanted to bring the event back,” Seise said. “We started our discussions in March, and even more informally before that.”
The Grand River Sailing Club will host the arrival of sailors to Grand Haven next weekend.
“I’m not sure it’ll go every other year, but we’re excited to have Grand Haven back on the circuit,” said the club’s Mark Erickson.
The overnight race across Lake Michigan departs from Milwaukee for Grand Haven on Friday, June 22. The regatta is expected to see as many as 200 boats, with as many as 1,200 sailors.
With so many participants, sailing club and community officials say the event has a significant economic impact, with many of the participants spending time shopping, dining and visiting the beach and other events in town.
“Many of them have not been here before,” Seise said, noting that this provides a way to show off the area and get people to return for future visits.
For those interested in catching the arrival of the boats, Erickson said the best time will likely be early Saturday morning. He said some of the larger, faster boats could cross the Grand Haven pier heads as early as 11 p.m. June 22, with the rest of the fleet arriving by dawn.
“Depending on the winds, most of the boats will come in between 4 and 7 a.m.,” Erickson said.
Post-race festivities will be hosted by the Grand River Sailing Club. The public can join the sailors at breakfast at the Grand Haven Eagles club, 20 N. Second St., from 7:30-11 a.m. At noon, there will be a gathering at the sailing club as results of the race are announced.
There will be a public beer tent at the Eagles from 5:30 p.m. to midnight Saturday, with the band Back Seat Driver performing at 8 p.m.
“They can come down and mingle with the sailors all day at the Municipal Marina, and we’ll have boats along the seawall just west of Waterfront Stadium,” Erickson said.