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Cristina Chadwick sails toward history: A Mac story unfurling

Since she was 13, Cristina Chadwick sailed the Mac every year. With one exception.

“It has been a challenge, but it has been a priority,’’ she said. “I missed one when I was trying to sail the Atlantic in 2001. We ended up sailing Antigua to Bermuda.’’

This weekend, Chadwick should sail into history as the youngest woman to qualify for the Island Goats Sailing Society, the organization for those who have sailed 25 or more Macs.

The first boats in the 108th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac should finish at Mackinac Island, Mich. Sunday evening. Most of the fleet should arrive Monday.

The cruising division sailed Friday from Chicago, while the bulk of the fleet (326 boats registered) set sail Saturday on the 333-mile race.

For Chadwick’s special Mac year, father and daughter will be reunited.

“He is joining us on our team,’’ Chadwick said. “Doing the Mac together, that will be fun. We have a regular crew, pretty tight for 10 years. But they knew it was a big year for me.’’

Other crew members listed for the historic Mac sail include Steven Mathias, Konstantine Stamatis, Philip Toth and Jason Veatch.

History it will be. The Island Goats Sailing Society, founded in 1959, did not have its first “nanny goat,’’ until the late Anne Juell in 1979.

“Lucky with Karma, we have managed to win our sections a few times,’’ Chadwick said. “It is a good time and we enjoy each other, but we race very hard and try to go as fast as possible.’’

Chadwick takes sailing seriously, the real estate broker company she started in Chicago is Windward Properties, LLC.

“I do spinnaker trimming, jib trimming and helm quite a bit, depending on who is awake,’’ Chadwick said. “I am one of the primary drivers. Everybody is part of the team. There is not a sleeper role.’’

When it comes to wind, she might get her wish this year.

“I prefer lighter air, I tend to drive better in it and it takes extra concentration,’’ she said. “When it is really windy, it is matter of surviving it. With lighter air, it is much more of a challenge to stay in it and find the right air.’’