HOLLAND, MI – Doug DeVos’ Windquest boat is among more than 50 boats that have been knocked out of the annual Chicago Yacht Club to Mackinac sailboat race after high winds kicked up overnight on Lake Michigan.
About 300 boats set off on the course this weekend from Chicago’s Navy Pier area to Mackinac Island. The course is 333 miles long. It’s one of the world’s longest-running freshwater distance races for sailors.
High winds kicked up overnight, leading one boat to capsize and require the U.S. Coast Guard’s help to rescue four crew members.
Other boats began leaving the course and heading for the nearest port as high wind gusts and heavy wave action were reported. As of 3:30 p.m. Sunday, 52 boats had pulled out of the race, according to the online result tracker.
A social media post on the race page offers a description from a Windquest crew member about what happened aboard that boat, belonging to the Amway president.
At the time of the incident, the windspeed was 42 knots, or roughly 48 mph.
“From Windquest: Mac update. We had quite the night. We had the A2 spinnaker up at 10:30. Our group was off watch. All of a sudden the boats was pretty violent we could hear the on watch hollering to try and get the chute down, they called for all hands, just as we heard the call, she went over. We were down for at least 45 seconds before she came up. Tank then went to out on the prod and spiked the tack and in the take down process we shredded the A2. Windspeed 42 knots.
At 3:00, wind shifted and we needed to reef. Reefing boat is not easy, but we mapped it out. We tried for 30 minutes to no avail. The main would not go on lock. We send David Tank to the top of the rig, where he told us the headboard car was demolished. To took the main down, worked for hours but no luck. We retired from the race. We having a great boat for boat race for 1st to finish. Now sailing back downwind to Holland, hitting 17 knots with jib only. Windquest out.”