5 Rescued When Boats Flip During Chicago Yacht Club Race To Mackinac

CHICAGO (CBS) — Five people had to be rescued early Sunday after two sailboats capsized separately off the coast of Wisconsin during the Chicago Yacht Club’s 109th annual Race to Mackinac.

About midnight, a racer fell overboard about 40 miles east of Port Washington, and was in the water for more than an hour before another competing sailboat pulled up to rescue them, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The person who fell in, who was wearing a life jacket and a personal locator beacon, was in good condition, authorities said.

Just after 1 a.m., shifting 35 mph winds caused another sailboat with four people aboard— just two with life jackets — to flip over about 30 miles east of Fox Point.

Clinging to the hull of the boat, they fired three red flares to draw the attention of another racing crew, but the whipping winds prevented the good Samaritans from rescuing them, authorities said.

They called for help from a Coast Guard cutter that was stationed nearby for the race, along with a helicopter crew that shined a spotlight as another small Coast Guard boat ferried the capsized crew members to the cutter, authorities said.

No one required medical attention.

The Coast Guard urged boaters and beachgoers to use caution in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan through the weekend as windy conditions are expected to last through Monday. Gusts of 25 mph can cause strong rip currents and 8-foot waves. People are urged to stay off rocks, jetties and piers.

Winds are expected to calm into Monday, but it can take another day for turbulent lake conditions to subside.

The Coast Guard reminds boaters to always wear life jackets, and to carry flares and locator beacons.

The Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, a 333-mile challenge with more than 300 boats sailing from Navy Pier to Mackinac Island, Michigan, is the oldest annual freshwater distance race in the world.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2017. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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