A memorial fund has been established for a 36-year-old San Diego man killed as a sailboat drifted into the waves near an offshore island during a race and broke apart.
Craig Thomas Williams was among the crew on the 32-foot sailboat Uncontrollable Urge that experienced rudder failure near San Clemente Island late Friday, authorities said.
Williams is survived by his wife Kjersti, who is expecting another child, and 2-year-old daughter Claire.
Commodore Carey Storm of the Silver Gate Yacht Club issued a statement on Saturday that said in part:
“As I am sure you can understand, this is a very difficult time for the Williams family, the skipper of Uncontrollable Urge and the other surviving crew members. Silver Gate Yacht Club and the entire Southern California racing community is a close family, and the loss of one of our members impacts us all greatly.”
Uncontrollable Urge was one of about 40 boats competing in the fourth annual Islands Race, racing 150 miles from Los Angeles to San Diego Bay rounding Catalina and San Clemente islands, according to the race's website.
The race was sponsored by the Newport Harbor and San Diego yacht clubs.
The crew radioed a mayday call, but declined immediate help and asked for assistance from a commercial salvage company.
The salvage vessel was unable to launch due to weather conditions – 8- foot swells and 12 mile-per-hour winds with a small craft advisory, according to Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Connie Gawrelli.
The boat washed into the surf and waves broke it apart, which forced the crew to abandon it, Gawrelli said. Race organizers said the crew attempted to launch a life raft and set an anchor before abandoning the vessel to swim to shore.
The Coast Guard was deployed and hoisted the six sailors from the water, Gawrelli said. Williams was apparently dead on arrival to the Coast Guard Station in San Diego, and Medical Examiner's Office personnel were dispatched.
The Uncontrollable Urge was a Columbia Carbon 32 entered in the race by its owner James Gilmore of the Silver Gate Yacht Club on Shelter Island, according to the race's website.
– City News Service