"I don't know that any other safety requirements could have made any changes," said Chuck Iverson, commodore of the Newport Ocean Sailing Assn. (NOSA), sponsor of the 125-mile race. "We weren't on the boat, so we don't know what sort of watch system they have."
Sailors typically have a watch plan outlining when crew members are responsible for spotting obstacles and other vessels. They rotate to ensure alertness. While some boats the size of the Aegean have radar, it is unclear if it had such instruments.
What to look for on a watch and how to react are complex propositions, said Brad Avery, a past Ensenada racer and director of Orange Coast College's School of Sailing and Seamanship.