CHICAGO (WWJ/AP) – 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 the two crew members — 51-year-old skipper Mark Morley and 41-year-old Suzanne Bickel, both of Saginaw — 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.

TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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