Crews ready yachts for Mackinac Island race

More than 350 yachts will set sail Saturday in Chicago-to-Mackinac Island race

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CHICAGO - The crews of more than 350 yachts are preparing to set sail in this year's Chicago-to-Mackinac Island race, a Lake Michigan tradition that's more than a century old.

Teams will sail around the clock on the 333 statute-mile course beginning Saturday.

Last year's race was marred by the deaths of two crew members when their Kiwi 35-foot sport boat capsized during a storm.

An investigation by U.S. Sailing, the sport's governing body, found the boat was not suited for the race. It said the vessel's sails were too large for its weight under the conditions of a long overnight competition in an area known to have frequent violent thunderstorms.

Beginning in 1898, it is the oldest annual freshwater distance race in the world. It takes about 24 hours to complete.

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