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      Amateur sailors set their sights on Houghton

      Twelve boats filled with amateur sailors competed in the 50th International Race from Thunder Bay, Ontario to Houghton.Alec Smith was one of the amateur sailors who competed in the 96-mile race."You have a rough idea of where you are on the water as to how much you have to beat the boats by, however, you don't truly know unless you're way ahead of everybody else. You don't truly know how you've done. You have a rough idea, but that's part of the excitement," said Smith.And speaking of excitement, recent storms brought high winds and over 10-foot waves leaving many of the sailors' gear and sails drenched. But luckily the sun was out, and the sailorsâ?? clothes and sails were hung up to dry.

      "A couple boats dropped out because of the forecast. Actually it was too windy, and people broke stuff and had to go back to Thunder Bay, but this was a really good year for this race," said Dana Bethancourt, race coordinator.Many of the sailors say the high winds brought them to Houghton in record time."We arrived in Houghton at about two in the morning after leaving Thunder Bay 11 o'clock yesterday, and it was very windy, so that gives us a lot of speed,â?? Smith said. â??But that also means big waves out on Lake Superior, and we certainly got wet. There were a couple of big waves that we launched off of and one or two that came over the boat.â??Ten boats will continue in the race and travel 120 nautical miles to Bayfield, Wisconsin.