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Old 18-07-2011, 13:31   #1
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Unhappy Two Sailors Lose Their Lives in Chicago to Mackinac Island Race

I was just sailing these waters a few days ago. The winds were calm and the waters were too. Actually, it wasn't a very good time for sailing. We did a lot of motoring.

But last night as the sailboats of the Chicago to Mackinac Island race moved through the straits between Beaver/Fox Islands and Charlevoix, very nearly the end of their race, the heavens let loose on the racers. Unfortunately for the crew of the Wingnuts two of their 8 crew did not survive.

Here's the story from the Associated Press.

While I've been sailing up here for the last two weeks I've heard from sailor after sailor that the weather up here in Lake Michigan can be terrifying and that it can build up surprisingly fast. This is exactly what happened yesterday and was why the boat I'm on pulled into safe harbor around 14:00 to wait out the storms.

My condolences to the families who lost loved ones and to the members of the crew who lost their friends.
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Old 18-07-2011, 14:23   #2
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Re: Two Sailors Lose Their Lives in Chicago to Mackinac Island Race

GOD BLESS THEM
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Old 18-07-2011, 14:46   #3
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Re: Two Sailors Lose Their Lives in Chicago to Mackinac Island Race

SAD..WERE THE TWO THAT DIDNT MAKE IT CLIPPED TO A SAFETY LINE AND NOT ABLE TO GET LOOSE OR WHAT?DVC
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Old 18-07-2011, 15:14   #4
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Re: Two Sailors Lose Their Lives in Chicago to Mackinac Island Race

It sounds like they could not release their tethers. A 16 year old nephew of the skipper had tried to free them. It is not knows if they were unconscious. The boat, Wingnuts, was a Kiwi 35.
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Old 18-07-2011, 15:55   #5
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Re: Two Sailors Lose Their Lives in Chicago to Mackinac Island Race

If using a short tether, and unable to unclip, possibly could not get out from under those wings.
Sailnet has a lot of detail.
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Old 18-07-2011, 16:10   #6
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Re: Two Sailors Lose Their Lives in Chicago to Mackinac Island Race

At the outset, I too am saddened by the loss of life and can take some comfort in that they passed doing something they loved.

But one of the things about an event like this is to learn. I am confused and would like to understand something from more seasoned sailors.

Whenever I paddled, I had a dive knife on my PFD. It was NEVER used for anything so it was always razor sharp. The knife's sole use was to cut myself loose if I ever go entangled.

Don't sailors put a knife on thier harnesses? Or did they just not get thier knives out?

Thanks

Bill
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Old 18-07-2011, 18:47   #7
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Re: Two Sailors Lose Their Lives in Chicago to Mackinac Island Race

Here's info on the boat (very scary looking!):

KIWI 35 sailboat on sailboatdata.com.. More than 6000 sailboats, sailing yachts, dinghies and sailing craft listed.

And, interestingly, a YOU TUBE video from the race prep in 2009 - where he admits that the boat has 8" of water in it after a race!

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Old 18-07-2011, 18:58   #8
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Re: Two Sailors Lose Their Lives in Chicago to Mackinac Island Race

Wing Nut is berthed in the yacht club next to ours. I have raced many Wednesday night beer can races against them for the past 3 years and knew both well. Both enjoyed sailing as a passion and both were experienced sailors both the Great Lakes and Ocean. It is a tragic time when you know someone personally that had many more years left in life. As our club officer stated in an email to tell everyone of this tragic event ďI think itís important to remember at times like this that itís not the years in our life that count Ė itís the life in our years.Ē
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Old 18-07-2011, 19:12   #9
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Re: Two Sailors Lose Their Lives in Chicago to Mackinac Island Race

This makes it appear that racing boats are now "extreme" and not very seaworthy: not the kind of boat that makes a good cruiser. A half century ago when I raced, it wasn't quite so.

The handicappers/rule makers should revise their formulas so they produce more seaworthy boats. That is, if they value life over speed.
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Old 18-07-2011, 19:48   #10
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Re: Two Sailors Lose Their Lives in Chicago to Mackinac Island Race

Was it the drop keel version or fixed keel?
Its a very light boat.
The story suggests it stayed inverted.

Hull Type: Drop Keel
Rig Type: Fractional Sloop
LOA: 35.08' / 10.69m
LWL: 28.50' / 8.69m
Beam: 8.33' / 2.54m Listed SA: 477 ft2 / 44.31 m2
Draft (max.) 7.00' / 2.13m
Draft (min.) 1.50' / 0.46m
Disp. 2850 lbs./ 1293 kgs

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Old 19-07-2011, 10:18   #11
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Re: Two Sailors Lose Their Lives in Chicago to Mackinac Island Race

Photos of the inverted hull show it to be a fixed keel with bulb. As for carrying knives, I don't think I've ever seen a sailor with one on his harness or PFD. I've seen whistles, strobes and horns but never a knife.

Just rotten luck. I think they did everything right and Murphy came for a visit.
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Old 19-07-2011, 11:27   #12
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Re: Two Sailors Lose Their Lives in Chicago to Mackinac Island Race

Quote:
Originally Posted by SabreKai View Post
Photos of the inverted hull show it to be a fixed keel with bulb. As for carrying knives, I don't think I've ever seen a sailor with one on his harness or PFD. I've seen whistles, strobes and horns but never a knife.

Just rotten luck. I think they did everything right and Murphy came for a visit.
... still, in a more "resilient" boat (I resist saying less extreme, i.e., more traditional), they probably would have been knocked down, at worst.
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Old 19-07-2011, 11:37   #13
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Re: Two Sailors Lose Their Lives in Chicago to Mackinac Island Race

Quote:
Originally Posted by SabreKai View Post
Photos of the inverted hull show it to be a fixed keel with bulb..
I don't know the type of boat.
Do the wings keep the boat inverted?

Yes, it does sound like Murphy. It is a lake so no use trying to make everyone have ocean going racers.
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Old 19-07-2011, 11:46   #14
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Re: Two Sailors Lose Their Lives in Chicago to Mackinac Island Race

Quote:
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I don't know the type of boat.
Do the wings keep the boat inverted?

Yes, it does sound like Murphy. It is a lake so no use trying to make everyone have ocean going racers.
Mark, Chicago to Mackinac is a serious, 300nm, race. That is an around the buoys boat if ever I saw one.
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Old 20-07-2011, 00:11   #15
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Re: Two Sailors Lose Their Lives in Chicago to Mackinac Island Race

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I don't know the type of boat.
Do the wings keep the boat inverted?
I do believe they do. Its a wider platform that has to be overcome by the swinging of the keel. Once the boat goes over, I don't think she CAN right herself. Perhaps tests will be run. Imagine flipping a dink. You get hold of the keel and start rocking, sticking your bum out as far as you can to shift the CG out from over the centerline At some point you and the boats combined center of gravity will shift outside the base of the triangle formed by the two hull deck joints and the end of the keel. At that moment she will start to right herself. I don't think rocking this particular boat would ever get her over.

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