California Yacht Club Mourns Member Killed in Sail Boat Race
(SAN DIEGO) -- A California yacht club on Sunday mourned the death of one of its members who was killed in a sail boat race over the weekend.
Craig Thomas Williams, a 36-year-old married father, was killed and five crew members were injured when their sailboat, christened Uncontrollabe Urge, lost steering and broke apart in the surf.
"[Williams] was a very integral member at our yacht club and it's a tragic loss," said Carey Storm, the commodore of the Silver Gate Yacht Club.
"To have one of our top racers to go out and for a weekend of a competitive race and have it end in tragedy, the loss of life, the loss of… injuries, the trauma to the entire crew, the loss of the vessel…It's just really difficult," Storm told ABC News' San Diego affiliate.
The Uncontrollable Urge was one of 40 vessels in the annual Islands Race, fighting to make their way along a 139-nautical mile course from Long Beach to San Diego.
A mayday call was issued by crew on board the 30-foot sail boat around 9:26 p.m. Friday after the boat's rudder failed, according to a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard.
"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 release said.
An attempt to anchor the boat around 11 p.m. failed, the Coast Guard said, and the boat drifted closer to San Clemente Island.
When the boat entered the crashing surf, the sailors were forced to abandon the vessel.
A helicopter crew rescued the six sailors and took them to a Coast Guard station where they were met by paramedics, however, officials said Williams was dead on arrival.
Chuck Hope, commodore of the San Diego Yacht Club, one of the sponsors of the race, said it could have been much worse.
"This was an excellently prepared boat," he said. "The fact that we didn't lose six was a testament to the fact that they did have safety equipment on board. They followed the procedures. It could've been a much worse scenario."
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