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Boat capsizes in Lake Michigan during Race to Mackinac

File photo of Lake Michigan. (upnorthlive.com photo)

(WPBN/WGTU)-- Four sailors were rescued after their boat capsized in Lake Michigan during the 109th Annual Race to Mackinac.

Race organizers with Chicago Yacht Club-Race To Mackinac say the boat, High Priority 2, in the multi-hull fleet, capsized around 10:30 Saturday night.

The Coast Guard says , three red flares were reported by a good Samaritan approximately 30 miles east of Fox Point, Wisconsin. The good Samaritan, who was also a part of the race, arrived on scene and reported that the vessel had capsized and four people were on top of the vessel's hull. The good Samaritan was unable to render assistance due to weather conditions.

The Coast Guard says the vessel capsized due to a series of 35 mile-per-hour winds that shifted from the south to the northwest very quickly. Only two of the four people on the vessel's hull were wearing life jackets. They did have an electronic position indicating radio beacon and flares.

Race organizers say all four on board of High Priority 2 were rescued by a small boat that launched from the Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne. The Coast Guard says an an Air Facility Waukegan MH-65 helicopter crew hovered over the distressed vessel and provided assistance with their spotlight while a small boat from the Biscayne Bay rescued the four people and transferred them to the cutter.

The race boats that stood by to help were the Dark Horse, Abbie Normal, Tide the Knot and Timberwolf. Organizers say all of these boats appear to have resumed racing based on the GPS tracker.

The Coast Guard says all four people rescued were reported to be in good condition and did not require medical attention.

Organizers say more than a dozen other boats have since retired from the race.

The Coast Guard says another person was rescued by a good Samaritan in a separate incident during the race after they fell overboard. The person was wearing a life jacket and a personal locator beacon and was in good condition despite being in the water for over an hour. The good Samaritan who rescued the person was also competing in the race.

The Race to Mackinac is a 333 statute miles (289.4 nautical miles) from Chicago to Mackinac Island. It's the oldest annual freshwater distance race in the world.

The Chicago Yacht Club says the Cruising Division took off to Mackinac Island from Chicago on Friday in moderate northerly breezes, 12 knots at the Harrison Deever Crib, off of Chicago.

The CYC says the Racing Division took off to Mackinac Island Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

To track real-time GPS positioning of all the racing boats, CLICK HERE.

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