Two sailors dead as boat capsizes in Mackinac Race

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 18, 2011 11:43 AM

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Two sailors died when their 35-foot sailboat capsized in a storm, while six crew members were pulled from Lake Michigan by another boat competing in the annual Race to Mackinac, the Coast Guard said on Monday.

The midnight storm generated high waves and "WingNuts," a boat registered out of Saginaw, Michigan, capsized and issued a distress signal.

The crew from the boat "Sociable" radioed authorities and pulled six people from the temperate lake waters, Coast Guard Petty Officer Lauren Jorgensen said.

Two Coast Guard vessels and a helicopter found Wingnuts overturned off Charlevoix, and the two dead sailors were discovered close by.

Race organizers said several boats retired and others were "limping home" following the violent storm that produced torrential rains, high winds, and sheet lightning.

The 333-mile race from Chicago to Mackinac Island, Michigan, drew some 355 entries of all sizes this year.

It is billed as the world's oldest fresh water race, which began in 1898. Most participants race all night and in bad weather until reaching the finish line.

(Reporting by Andrew Stern; Editing by Jerry Norton)