One sailor dead in race co-sponsored by Newport Harbor Yacht Club

San Diego man was part of a six-man crew aboard the Uncontrollable Urge, which was competing in the Islands Race.

March 09, 2013|By Bradley Zint

A San Diego man died over the weekend during a sailing race co-sponsored by the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, officials said.

Craig Thomas Williams, 36, was one of six crew members aboard the Uncontrollable Urge, a 32-foot vessel participating in the fourth annual Islands Race that began Friday in Long Beach and ended Saturday in San Diego, race officials said.

Five others were also injured in an accident where the surfline broke apart the drifting sailboat late Friday night near San Clemente Island, Coast Guard officials said. A Coast Guard helicopter recovered all six crew members before transporting them to an area hospital.


"The members of NHYC would like to express their sympathy to the friends and family of the boat, Uncontrollable Urge," the Newport Harbor Yacht Club wrote in a statement on its Facebook page.

Coast Guard officials said the Uncontrollable Urge, which was in small-craft advisory weather containing 8-foot swells and 20- to 25-knot winds, 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 Coast Guard originally provided incorrect information regarding its small-craft advisory warning during the weekend’s Islands Race. The on-scene advisory weather had 20- to 25-knot winds, not 10-knot winds.

The crew issued a mayday call around 9:26 p.m. Friday after the rudder failed and the vessel began drifting toward San Clemente Island, Coast Guard officials said.

The Islands Race route is 139 nautical miles and rounds both San Clemente and Catalina islands. The San Diego Yacht Club co-sponsors the race with the NHYC.

The Uncontrollable Urge, owned and skippered by James Gilmore, was from the Silver Gate Yacht Club in San Diego, according to the San Diego Yacht Club's website.

The racing-related death involving local participants is the second in recent memory. In April 2012, during the annual Newport-to-Ensenada race, four racers from one vessel died. The official investigation report ruled that the Aegean — a 37-foot, Redondo Beach-based vessel — likely ran aground before sinking off the coast of North Coronado Island.

The four fatalities were the first in the race's 65-year history.


Racer's perspective

Len Bose, who writes the Daily Pilot's "Harbor Report" column, participated in the Islands Race aboard the Adrenalin, a 50-foot vessel based in Newport Harbor. It was manned by about seven crew members, he said.

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