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Islands Race: 1 dead, 5 rescued from surf after accident

Published on March 9th, 2013

SAN DIEGO — One person is dead and five others were rescued by a San Diego-based Coast Guard aircrew, Saturday (Mar 9), after their boat drifted into the surf and broke apart near San Clemente Island, Calif., during the Islands Race, co-hosted by San Diego Yacht Club and Newport Harbor Yacht Club.

Thirty-nine boats started the 139 nm Islands Race 2013 on March 8 in Los Angeles Harbor, with the course to round Catalina and San Clemente Islands before finishing in San Diego, CA.

The crew on Uncontrollable Urge (Columbia 32 Carbon) issued a mayday call and activated their Digital Selective Calling feature on their VHF marine radio around 9:26 p.m., Friday, after the sailboat’s rudder failed and they began drifting toward San Clemente Island during the Islands Race.


Uncontrollable Urge during happier times

The crew initially stated they were not in need of assistance and declined assistance from both the Coast Guard and other boaters involved in the race. The sailors requested assistance from a commercial salvage company, however they were unable to launch due to weather conditions.

The sailors attempted to anchor the vessel just after 11 p.m., however the anchor would not catch and the vessel drifted closer to the island. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew launched from Coast Guard Sector San Diego and Coast Guard Cutter Edisto was diverted to the scene.

The boat entered the surf line and was broken apart by the waves, forcing the crew to abandon the vessel.

The helicopter crew hoisted the six sailors and brought them to the Sector where they were met by emergency medical personnel for transport to a local hospital.

The weather on scene was 8-foot swells with 10-knot winds with a small craft advisory in effect.

U.S. Coast Guard also was needed to assist the Flying Tiger Mile High Kub with an injured crewman approximately 10 miles off Mission Bay near San Diego during the race. The boat also had a failed rudder and required towing.
From the race website:
Our deepest sympathies and prayers go out to the crew and family of the Uncontrollable Urge.

On Friday March 9, 2013 at approximately 9:26 pm, while participating on the 4th annual Islands Race, the crew reported rudder failure on their VHF marine radio. They were in the vicinity of San Clemente Island at the time.

Uncontrollable Urge is a Columbia 32 Carbon sail boat hailing from Silver Gate Yacht Club, owned and skippered by James Gilmore. Crew included Mike Mike Skillicorn, Doug Pajak, Craig Williams, Ryan Georgianna and Vince Valdes. The crew attempted to launch a life raft and attempted to set an anchor before abandoning the vessel to swim to shore. The vessel was reportedly destroyed by the surf at the shoreline of San Clemente Island.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew hoisted the six sailors and brought them to the San Diego Coast Guard Sector where they were met by emergency medical personnel for transport to a local hospital. Unfortunately, one of the crewmembers was deceased. The San Diego County Medical Examiner identified the man who was killed as 36-year-old Craig Thomas Williams, of San Diego.

Chuck Hope
Commodore, San Diego Yacht Club

Paul A. Marshall
Commodore, Newport Harbor Yacht Club


Update from March 11, 2013

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