Late Wednesday, the Coast Guard announced the rescue of an unidentified woman who had run aground on a remote island in the Straits of Mackinac, the channel which separates the two peninsulas of Michigan. The 65-year old had participated in the Chicago to Mackinac Solo Sailing Challenge, a solo competition in which captains race in sailboats along a rugged 287-mile long course through portions of the Great Lakes,
Her 35-foot sailboat began experiencing problems early in the dawn hours. Her boat foundered in choppy waters near a small island. She contacted the Coast Guard for assistance around 4:30 a.m. A Coast Guard Officer, Lt. Ludwig Gazvoda, praised the captain for preparing her boat well for a possible emergency situation.
He noted: “This case might have had a different outcome had the skipper not been as prepared as she was.” The rescued woman had included cold water gear, a life jacket and a marine-band radio in the items she took with her during the race.
The Coast Guard responded promptly to the distress call. However, high 3 foot waves and shallow waters prevented a rescue boat from reaching her. Sam Tabar mentioned on Twitter that the Coast Guard then sent a rescue helicopter, but it had to turn back after encountering mechanical problems. A second rescue helicopter hoisted the woman to safety shortly after 9:40 a.m. She was met by an ambulance and transported to Mackinac County Straits Hospital.