USCG Air Station Traverse City, Good Samaritans Rescue Boaters

The Chicago Race to Mackinac turned dangerous for several sailors.

Early Monday morning the Coast Guard had to airlift a man with heart attack symptoms from a yacht in Lake Michigan to the hospital.

Sunday afternoon they were called when a boat started sinking in 200-feet of water in Lake Michigan.

9&10’s Caroline Powers has more details on how the crew aboard the sinking boat was rescued.

“We depend on the other sailors that are out there to help out their fellow yachts.”

As hundreds of sailing yachts made the trip from Chicago to Mackinac Island over the weekend, one found themselves in distress and called for help.

“It looked like they were in trouble so we took down our sails and headed over there,” says Mark Bremer, captain of City Girl. “When we got there, there was another boat there too, Heartbreaker, and it was obvious that WhoDo was sinking. It was getting lower in the water.”

WhoDo, a sail boat out of Northport, started taking on water when their rudder broke.

That’s when the crew from City Girl sailed over to their rescue.

“We saw that they all got into their life raft that they had. So we approached them and threw a line to them so we could pull their life raft over to our boat and then help them all climb up out of the life raft,” Bremer says.

Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City was called out, but before they got there the crew had made it safely to shore.

“It could absolutely end up into a complex mission for us with a helicopter,” says Lt. Caleb Peacock. “So having other boats there, or the coast guard assets, or their local law enforcement to help us with the people and getting them to safety is absolutely pediment. We depend on the other sailors that are out there to help out their fellow yachts.”

Even though City Girl had to drop out of the race to help WhoDo, they say they know someone would have done the same for them.

“It’s just part of sailing. People help each other if you get in trouble,” Bremer says.

Rescue boat footage courtesy of Jeremy Elder.