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Four boat racers rescued from Strait of Juan de Fuca amid strong wind warning

Click to play video: 'Four sailors plucked from Juan de Fuca  Strait after boats overturn' Four sailors plucked from Juan de Fuca Strait after boats overturn
Four people were rescued from the water Monday after getting into trouble kayaking and sailing from Port Townsend, Washington to Victoria, B.C. The vessels were involved in the 'Race 2 Alaska' -- a gruelling 1200-kilometre odyssey up the Inside Passage from Washington to Alaska. – Jun 13, 2022

Four people were rescued from the Strait of Juan de Fuca amid windy conditions, the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed Monday.

The recreationalists — competitors in the annual Race to Alaska — were en route from Port Townsend, Wash. to Victoria when their vessels capsized, according to race organizers.

Race to Alaska safety vessels and the U.S. Coast Guard pulled them out of the water before 1 p.m., organizers said in an afternoon press release.

The stranded racers belonged to teams from Georgia, California, Florida and Washington, Race to Alaska, they added.

The boaters were treated by paramedics on land, the U.S. Coast Guard tweeted on Monday.

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A total of seven boats had dropped out of the race around mid-day due to rough conditions. Six boats had reached their final destination of Victoria before 11:30 a.m. race organizers said in the release.

Thirty-nine boats remained in the water as of 2 p.m.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, a small craft advisory was in effect in the area on Monday.

Environment Canada had issued strong wind warnings for the eastern entrance to the strait and the central strait on Monday, predicting winds between 20 and 33 knots.

The strong winds were expected to persist Tuesday.

Read more: Large part of southern B.C. under flood warnings, watches as storm bears down

The Canadian Coast Guard dispatched crews to help recover equipment and support any other boaters who run into trouble.

Global News has reached out to the Canadian Coast Guard for comment on this story.

According to Race for Alaska, safety measures are in place to keep competitors safe and every team is vetted. Organizers were aware of the wind warnings prior to the race.

“Race organizers have long worked closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and Joint Rescue Forces Canada in the creation of each safety management plan and both agencies are invited annually to address racers at skipper’s meetings in Port Townsend and Victoria, B.C.,” it wrote in the release.

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