The weather forecast was ominous, calling for 25-knot winds and advising small boats to be careful. Yet, the overnight, 139 nautical mile sailboat race went on. The stormy seas caused at least two ships to drop out of the race when their equipment failed. Another sailboat was not so lucky: A sailboat accident claimed one life and injured five others.
Around 9:30 PM last Friday night, the rudder of the Uncontrollable Urge sailboat stopped working. The crewmembers called for a tow, but the towboat could not get to them due to weather conditions. The crew did not ask for any other assistance until it was too late. The sailboat began moving toward the surf and the crew attempted to anchor the boat and deploy a life raft. They were unable to do either. Once the ship hit the surf, they were forced to abandon it.
The water was frigid and rough, drowning one crewmember and injuring five others. A Coast Guard helicopter rescued the crew. The five injured members have been treated for cuts and hypothermia and released from the hospital.
There are many questions from this accident: Was it a wise decision to continue the race? Did the sailboat malfunction? Did responders act quickly enough? Is this a wrongful death case? For now, however, the focus is where it should be: On the man who lost his life doing what he loved.
This is not the first California racing boat accident to take the life of a crewmember. In April of last year, for example, three people died when their yacht crashed into another boat during a sailboat race from California to Mexico.