All sympathy and condolences to the crew, family, friends, and people involved with the Islands Race from Newport/LA harbor to San Diego via Catalina and San Clemente. No doubt there will be a great deal or mourning and soul-searching in the wake of yet another California sailboat racing tragedy with loss of boat and another sailor dying, and no doubt final judgment will have to wait until the full story is out and all factors have been reviewed by competent authorities.
However, this tragedy, following so hard on the heels of other running-into-islands tragedies in the past year, cannot reflect at all well on the sailing and sailboat racing communities and the public perception of their peril. It may also be that the US Coast Guard and regatta organizers will feel increasing pressure to "do something" to make offshore races safer, or to keep racers at a greater distance from islands that are used as marks of a course. I very much pray and hope that sailors and race organizers will be able to learn lessons and show leadership that will show the public that we are doing what we can to prevent more deaths at sea.
Is there something different that the skipper and crew of the Columbia Carbon 32 "Uncontrollable Urge" could have done to have saved the boat and prevented the loss of a crew member? It seems that they did many things right, including putting an anchor over the side, and about the only thing they could have done differently would have been to call for help sooner when they initially seemed to have thought they had their emergency under control.
"...Uncontrollable Urge issued a mayday call about 9:30 p.m. Friday as the boat's rudder failed and the craft began drifting toward the rocky shore of the island. Initially the sailors declined assistance from the Coast Guard and other boaters."
One dead, five rescued in San Clemente Island sailboat accident - latimes.com One dead, five rescued in San Clemente Island sailboat accident - latimes.com
1 Killed as Sailboat Smashed on Rocks in Race | NBC 7 San Diego