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Rescue, then a race win

JULY 20 — It certainly wasn’t a textbook victory, but it sure was a satisfying one.

The crew of Cracker, a 33-foot Tartan Ten sailboat, rescued a man drifting in Lake Erie, then continued racing toward what would amount to a 40-second victory, according to a report in The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The man said he was aboard a 60-foot boat, but decided to go for a swim and was separated from the boat, leaving him adrift in a life jacket for 40 minutes.

Cracker came along and the skipper had his crew douse the sails and pull the man aboard. By that time, seas had built to six feet, according to the newspaper. The man was not hurt and after the Coast Guard was contacted, the man, a non-sailor, told the crew he didn’t want to hold the crew up from finishing the race.

He helped the crew as best he could, according to the report, and Cracker eventually won the overall trophy on corrected time.

“What a story,” Peter Eloff, chairman of the race, told the Plain Dealer. “Usually, man-overboard stories don’t work out so well in the end.”

— Rich Armstrong