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      Sailboats in Portage Canal surprise Copper Country residents

      Houghton and Hancock residents got quite a spectacle Wednesday evening along the Portage Canal. About two dozen sailboats raced up and down the canal for a few hours.

      It's a part of an international sailboat race of sailors travelling from Thunder Bay, Ontario, past Isle Royale, and into Hancock. The sailors left Thunder Bay Monday morning and got into Hancock Tuesday evening.

      The races in the canal Wednesday evening were just for fun for competitors to relax and for the public to enjoy.

      â??It's just fun. I mean, it's competitive, but I think for most of us, any time you can get out on the water and get some sails up is just great,â?? said sailor Neil Battrum of Kansas City, Missouri. â??The internationals, or the offshores, the longer races, just give you an opportunity to do a lot of stuff you don't do on shorter races.â??

      Some sailors are leaving the Copper Country Wednesday night back to Canada while others are on their way to Wisconsin for another race.