More than 80 boats drop out of Race to Mackinac

Photo of the Cruising Division taking off Friday. Courtesy: MISTE Photography via Chicago Yacht Club

LAKE MICHIGAN (WPBN/WGTU)-- More than 80 boats have dropped out of the 109th annual Race to Mackinac.

Chicago Yacht Club organizers say since Friday, around 85 boats have unofficially withdrawn from the race. The highest number to retire from the race was in 1970, where 88 out of 167 boats retired that year.

Organizers say there were nearly 300 boats registered for this year's Race to Mackinac.

Organizers say many boats in the race are barely moving due to little to no wind out on Lake Michigan. Sailors had the opposite problem Saturday and Sunday when they experienced high winds and waves.

Saturday night, organizers say High Priority 2, in the multi-hull fleet, capsized on Lake Michigan.

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. Two of the four people were wearing life jackets. The good Samaritan was unable to render assistance due to weather conditions. The Coast Guard had a small boat from the Biscayne Bay to rescue the four people and transferred them to the Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne.

In a separate incident during the race Saturday night, the Coast Guard says a person wearing a life jacket fell overboard. A good Samaritan who was also competing in the race rescued the person. The person was in good condition despite being in the water for over an hour.

Infinite Diversion in the Cruising Division was the earliest boat to ever finish the Race to Mackinac. The boat sailed into Mackinac Island around 8:30 a.m. ET Sunday.

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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