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Board » General Discussion » Storm claims two in Chi-Mac race tragedy

During the Chicago-to-Mackinac sailboat race horrific conditions early Monday led to the capsizing of WingNuts and the death of its skipper and a crew member near the Fox Islands off Charlevoix.

"The worst of the storm hit just after midnight which made bolts of lightning our only light source,"

Weather reports predicted winds of no more than 30 knots, as the storm built the sailboat's tack line exploded.

"We were knocked down immediately and stayed horizontal from winds of 54 knots for about 15 minutes. Shortly after being knocked down, with no steerage, lightning flashed and another boat, just to weather, without sails was planing right towards us.

Within minutes, more than a dozen boats were in the area trying to rescue the missing crewmembers of WingNuts, and soon after a Coast Guard helicopter.

The two deaths were the first drownings in the Chicago-to-Mackinac race history.
None so blind
8mrWho - how very sad...must have been appalling conditions. :-(

The race's tracker system also went down which meant the organisers didn't really know where the boats were. They posted on Facebook and were asking for folks to text in their sightings of other boats. :-(

---------
spelling corrected:

--- Last Edited by RainbowChaser at 2011-07-22 13:48:18 ---
Hi SOLers. Due partly to my ineptitude, SOL didn't track along with the Mac this year. I was aboard Drumbeat in Section 7. We were about 5 mi SW of the tragedy location. Our instruments measured well over 50kts and the wind came up very quickly - like being hit by a wall. Many other distress calls rang out on the radio, but the calls from Sociable, who rescued 6 crew from WingNuts was the major focus, as other boats in the area stopped to look for the two lost sailors. Needless to say, it was a somber spirit at Mackinac Island after the race, as many knew the sailors or at least the boat from past Macs. R.I.P Mark Morley and Suzanne Bickel.

--- Last Edited by zowee at 2011-07-22 00:42:16 ---
{{{{{{{zowee}}}}}} <~~~~ BIG HUG

Very very glad to hear that you stayed safe.. it must have been a very difficult situation for all of you. The stuff of nightmares.

Here's an article and a link to a slide show of the storm: http://www.sj-r.com/sports/x121488038/Springfield-sailor-survives-deadly-Chicago-to-Mackinaw-race

Glad you're ok zowee.

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