Caribbean Sailors rescue Chicago to Mackinac racers
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines pro racer Philip Barnard and St. Maarten’s Zyggy Beatty were part of a crew that sailed to the rescue of distressed mariners when severe thunderstorms caused problems during the Chicago to Mackinac race, North America’s longest freshwater race (330nm).
The two Caribbean stalwarts were sailing with the Chicago team, City Girl Racing (aboard a new class of C&C 30), in heavy weather when the incident occurred.
According to Barnard, 15% of the over 300 boat fleet were forced to retire and one boat sank when her rudder post ripped out of the hull in a violent broach while running under spinnaker at high speed. Barnard said they saw the boat broach and then heard the Mayday call.
“We dropped sails and rescued the crew from their life raft. With 16 on the deck of a 30-footer we were forced to retire to take the crew ashore as a boat-to-boat transfer was not possible with the coast guard who were only willing to use their bigger steel hulled boats in the severe weather,” Barnard recalls.
The incident was covered by the WGN Chicago TV station and by a host of newspapers. The Chicago Yacht Club will honor the crew of City Girl Racing for their actions at a Banquet in November. The crew have also been nominated for the Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Award.