Two sailors died when their 35-foot sailboat capsized in a storm, while six crew members were pulled from Lake Michigan by another boat competing in the annual Race to Mackinac, the Coast Guard said on Monday. Themidnight storm generated four- to six-foot waves andWingNuts, a boat registered out of Saginaw, Michigan, capsized and issued a distress signal. The crew from the boat “Sociable” radioed authorities and pulled six people from the temperate lake waters, Coast Guard Petty Officer Lauren Jorgensen said. Two Coast Guard vessels and a helicopter found WingNuts overturned 13 miles northwest of Charlevoix, Michigan, and the bodies of the two sailors were discovered close by. The victims were WingNuts captain Mark Morley, 51, and Suzanne Bickel, 41, both of Saginaw, race organizers said. Morley had 44 years of sailing experience, including six Mackinac races. Several other boats had abandoned the race to help in the search, race organizers said. Several boats retired and others were “limping home” following the violent storm that produced torrential rains, high winds, and sheet lightning.
Lake Michigan generates some of the steepest waves of any body of water anywhere, because of its geography and depth, according to sailing experts. (Reuters)
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