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5 people rescued during Chicago Yacht Club race to Mackinac

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  • 5 people rescued during Chicago Yacht Club race to Mackinac

    5 people rescued during Chicago Yacht Club race to Mackinac

    CHI-Mac Tracker

    CLEVELAND — Five people were rescued in two separate cases during the annual Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, Sunday on Lake Michigan.

    One person was rescued by a good Samaritan after falling overboard during the race and four people were rescued by the Coast Guard after their sailing vessel capsized during the race.

    The first case took place shortly after midnight local time, approximately 40 miles east of Port Washington, Wisconsin. 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.

    In the second case, three red flares were reported by a good Samaritan approximately 30 miles east of Fox Point, Wisconsin, shortly after 1 a.m local time. The good Samaritan, who was a part of the race, arrived on the scene of the flare's origin 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 vessel had 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.

    The Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne Bay, which was near to assist in cases of distress, and an Air Facility Waukegan MH-65 helicopter crew was diverted and arrived on scene simultaneously. The MH-65 helicopter 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.

    All four people were reported to be in good condition and did not require medical attention.

    The Coast Guard strongly recommends boaters wear their life jacket at all times while underway in case of unexpected weather conditions. Additionally, a personal locater beacon and signaling devices, like flares, can greatly reduce search time and increase rescue probability.


    Coast Guard urges caution on Lake Michigan due to weather conditions

    CLEVELAND — The Coast Guard is urging caution at Illinois, Indiana and Michigan beaches along Lake Michigan due to hazardous weather conditions, Sunday.

    Life threatening waves up to eight feet and winds up to 25 miles-per-hour causing strong rip currents are expected today and through the night.

    A beach hazards statement with high-risk swim conditions at beaches all along western, southern, and eastern Lake Michigan is in effect through Monday morning. People visiting the beach should stay out of the water while the beach hazards statement remains in effect.

    People are also advised to stay off of rocks, jetties and piers as high waves and heavy surfs can unexpectedly sweep a person off of structures and into the water.

    Although hazardous conditions are expected to subside Sunday night into Monday, it can take an additional day for the lake conditions to calm.

    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  • #2
    I have some news to share. The boat High Priority 2, in the multi-hull fleet, capsized late Saturday night. All 4 on board were rescued via small boat launched from the Cutter Biscayne Bay and are safe.
    Thanks to our friends in the Coast Guard and thanks to the other racers who came to assist. From the tracker, boats standing by included Dark Horse, Abbie Normal, Tide the Knot and Timberwolf. All of these boats appear to have resumed racing based on the tracker.
    We'll know more in the morning but the tracker also suggests that several boats not involved in this incident are headed to shore and may be withdrawing, so there must have been some breeze on the racing fleet overnight. I expect those boats that do end up withdrawing will be giving us more information later when they reach shore.
    Speak to you all in a few hours.

    The capsized vessel, Corsair 31 High Priority2

    Owner David Shneider from East Lansing Michigan
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


    • #3
      Extreme 2 Sailing Team
      5 hrs ยท
      After a crazy night, the team is still racing hard and positioned on the east of the lake, beating upwind now, not ideal conditions.
      From DC this am
      It's brutal out here. Squalls and lighting last night. Wind blew 34. Today is cold and blowing 23 knots From the north. Big sea state !
      Boat is soaking wet inside and out. We have a 4 mile lead but these conditions are tough on this boat We will keep pushing. All are safe !!!
      Keep the hammer down boys
      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


      • #4

        Latest video from ChiMac
        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

 Photo Gallery


        • #5
          THAT was a rather large windshift!


          • #6
            85 boats withdrew as of last count!


            • #7
              I sailed the SYC Twin Island Race Saturday and on every boat I saw, including a bunch of YRA boats headed south that we crossed tracks with around Alcatraz everyone was wearing a life jacket. Even when the wind went to -0 knots behind Angel Island and foulies came off. The lifejackets went back on. In conditions like racing in the Macinac Race encounters, why were half the crew on a trimaran not wearing life jackets? Even if the Sailing Instructions (as do OYRA's) didn't require lifejackets, don't you think good, common sense would? Look at the Coast Guard stats about who drowns.


              • #8
                Mackinac sailors probably don't encounter conditions we do routinely and therefore lack the fear of get knocked overboard.

                Or maybe they don't mind falling in?


                • #9

                  Spinsheet Report on the value of a good working whistle while sailing!

                  Chicago to Mackinac Race Man Overboard in the Night
                  Posted July 19, 2017

                  Here is Hampton sailor Mark Wheeler’s first-hand account of being that man overboard in the night during the 289-nautical-mile Chicago Mackinac Race last week onboard the Farr 400 Meridian X:

                  The crew of Meridian X raced in this year’s Chicago to Mackinac Race. The wind forecast was for a cold front to come through in the middle of the first night with a fairly sudden shift from SW to N.

                  We raced under spinnaker on the lifting starboard tack from the start and then gybed to the heading port tack. This brought us to our target position in the middle of Lake Michigan and about 100 nm up from the start. The wind direction was 220 at about 15 kts. There was one thunderstorm to the west that did not seem to be moving. The front was still to the NW and an hour or so away.

                  At about 23:30, the wind began to build rapidly to 30 knots with no change in direction, and then very soon to 40 knots. I had gone off watch at 23:00. An all hands on deck call was made to get the staysail and A2 down. I scrambled on deck with my inflatable life jacket and harness on, but not buckled.

                  As I got back behind the wheels, I reached out for the port running back winch. Just before my hand made contact with the winch the helm was put over hard to starboard to go down with the ever increasing wind. I went over the side head first through the life lines above the winch. I was only able to grab a spinnaker sheet for a couple of seconds as the boat was going approximately 18 knots.

                  I had my inflatable life vest set up for manual operation because of all the unwanted auto inflates I had seen on deck in wet races. My first order of business was to pull the lanyard to inflate the vest. The water was really rough at this point and breathing was a challenge. The vest inflated properly which was a relief, but since I had not buckled the front fitting, I had to hold the lobes together with my arms to stay afloat.

                  I knew it would be a while before my teammates could return to look for me since they were travelling away so fast and would not be able to turn without dropping the chute. In fact, afterwards we estimated the boat ended up more than 1.5 miles from me.

                  With the wind blowing 40 knots, I was in survival mode and concentrating on remaining calm and trying to breathe without ingesting too much water. I retrieved my brand new safety light from the PFD and held it up. The crew saw it for a while but lost it in the distance. Right from the beginning the light did not want to stay on bright and steady. I kept banging the side of it to get it to come back on.

                  After a while the wind died down to the 12 to 14 knot range, but my light went out and no longer worked. I tried several times to get my harness buckled in front of me but could not do it with my life jacket inflated. At that point I inventoried my gear. Besides my failed light, I had a whistle, my AIS transmitter and my safety knife.

                  AIS was not mandatory for this race and we did not have it on Meridian X. My transmitter would have to be picked up by another boat or the USCG if someone with AIS was within a couple of miles of me. The thunderstorm to the west gave me a reference so I knew where north and Meridian X was.

                  The next 15 minutes were discouraging to say the least. I was floating in the middle of a pitch black, moonless Lake Michigan with no light at 12:15 AM, and with no boats in sight. After about 30 minutes I could see Meridian’s white mast light off in the distance, but clearly a long way from me.

                  The weather forecast was for big wind out of the north once the front showed up, and I was starting to get extremely cold. I blew my whistle every minute or so during this time. The next time I rotated to the north, instead of a distant light I saw a green glow of the masthead tricolor, and it was significantly closer.

                  I started whaling on the whistle. Occasionally water would get into it and the whistle would not work, but when I had clear blasts it was very loud and fortunately carried a long way. Meridian heard the whistle. Later they told me they would motor and then stop to get the boat quiet, listen, and go towards the sound again. We think this process took about 15 minutes, but it worked and I was found!

                  I was suffering from hypothermia when they dragged me aboard. I had been in the water for 1 hour and 6 minutes. The crew got my wet clothes off, wrapped me in blankets and fleece, gave me some hot water and eventually I stopped shivering.

                  We retired from the race and headed for Muskegon immediately after my retrieval, which was about 4 hours away. Once I was warm it was clear I did not need medical attention.

                  I consider myself a very lucky man, and I will forever be grateful to the crew and my good friends on Meridian X for being able to recover from the squall and get back to the same general area in which I was lost. It certainly was not an easy task.

                  ~by Mark Wheeler
                  " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

         Photo Gallery


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by IOR Geezer View Post
                    Mackinac sailors probably don't encounter conditions we do routinely and therefore lack the fear of get knocked overboard.

                    Or maybe they don't mind falling in?
                    I didn't do well in the Statistics course I had to take as part of my "liberal arts" undergraduate study, probably because I was an English major and much more interested in why Hamlet never learned to control himself. But I learned enough to understand the 2015 Coast Guard report on boating fatalities. Here are some facts from that report. I include the safety education stat because California boaters are entering a new era where eventually all of us will have to pass a test - and the "8 out 10 in boats less than 2" feet because we know kayaks and canoes are more dangerous than keel boats, which does not excuse safety requirements for keel boats. I have friends who sail on the Great Lakes. Their accounts of severe weather lead me to believe that lake sailors do encounter conditions as severe as we do in N. California and that those conditions can arise quickly. The account of the overboard sailor cited below who did have an inflatable lifejacket, but did not have it buckled up is from a very lucky man. What would have been his fate if he'd been one of the crew in the trimaran picture with no lifejacket on when he went over the side. How much easier would it have been had he been buckled up? On my boat in the ocean if you go below, your tether goes with you. After you'd used the head, your lifejacket in fastened and you tether back on as you exit the hatch. Simple. Routine. Here are the CG stats:

                    • Where cause of death was known, 76% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims with reported life jacket usage, 85% were not wearing a life jacket.

                    • Where instruction was known, 71% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator did not receive boating safety instruction. Only 15% percent of deaths occurred on vessels where the operator had received a nationally-approved boating safety education certificate.

                    • Eight out of every ten boaters who drowned were using vessels less than 21 feet in length.


                    • #11
                      Cant speak for Great Lake Sailors myself, but it took a death in the Big Boat Series to enact change here.


                      • #12
                        I primarily sail in Northern California and SF Bay but have done the last 3 Chicago Mac races. It's an absolutely fantastic race and well worth the trip out there if you can make it happen. This year was a rough one, almost all upwind in less than ideal conditions. The boat we were on made the upwind beat feel like taking a Porsche on a 4x4 off-road race. Not gonna lie, it was a little painful and I think I lost some tooth fillings pounding through some of that chop. Despite the conditions it was still a blast with a great group of guys on the crew.

                        The culture out there is definitely more lax when it comes to wearing PFD's. I think it's a combination of warmer water without big swells and generally lighter winds than we typically see in SF Bay. I think the warmer air temps also makes wearing a PFD a bit more uncomfortable. However as this year shows extreme weather is still a possibility on the Great Lakes. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just what I've observed and when it comes right down to it there really isn't a good reason to not wear one. Coming from SF I definitely found myself wearing my PFD and tether a bit more than the local guys.

                        The main difference I've noticed every year during the Mac races is how quickly their weather changes. In SF it's not uncommon to see winds in the high 20's-low 30's but it doesn't take many days sailing here to know exactly where and when to expect those conditions and what direction it'll blow from. Out there you can be sailing deep downwind in 10 knots of breeze and within 15-30 minutes it can shift to an upwind beat in 15-20 knots. The guys who sail regularly out there are really good at reading the weather. Every year I'm impressed how they can see a major shift coming ahead of time and when to be proactive about changing sails.

                        But perhaps the strangest thing I've seen out there is this odd liquid which falls from the sky in the summer. I think they call it "rayne" (rane?, raihn? rain?). However you spell it, it's like the sky just opens up and drops water on you. So weird, I mean I've seen that happen in the winters in California but in the summer? Who knew this was even possible????


                        • #13
                          They had tornado warnings in Chicago earlier today!

                          "Honey Badger don't give a shit"


                          • #14
                            The Windy City, can, in fact, be windy!