Coast Guard: 2 missing in Chicago-Mackinac race

By the Associated Press | July 18, 2011 | 7:59 AM EDT

CHARLEVOIX, Mich. (AP) — Boats and a helicopter searched northern Lake Michigan on Monday for two people who went missing when their sailboat capsized during the annual Chicago-to-Mackinac race, the Coast Guard said.

The crew of a competing boat, Sociable, notified the Coast Guard early Monday that the 35-foot sailboat WingNuts capsized near the Fox islands, west of Charlevoix, during the Chicago Yacht Club's annual Race to Mackinac, Petty Officer George Degener said.

The Sociable crew said eight people aboard WingNuts went into the water, and that they recovered six of the them, according to the Coast Guard. All six of the people recovered were wearing life preservers, and they were taken to the Coast Guard station in Charlevoix for evaluation, the agency said.

Authorities did not release the names of the missing crew members. WingNuts is based in Saginaw, and seven of the eight crewmembers registered for the race are from Michigan — including three from Midland, two from Saginaw, one from Ann Arbor and one from Grandville, according to the race's website. One of the crewmembers listed is from Chicago.

The Coast Guard located the overturned boat and began searching nearby.

A 41-foot boat from Coast Guard Station Charlevoix, a helicopter from Air Station Traverse City and the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw were involved in the search. The Coast Guard said 4- to 6-foot waves were reported, and air and water temperatures were in the low 70s.

According to the race website, 355 boats and roughly 3,500 crew members took part in this year's race, which starts at Chicago's Navy Pier and finishes off of Mackinac Island, near where lakes Michigan and Huron meet. The first race was held in 1898, and organizers began holding it every year starting in 1921. This year's race is the 103rd running.