One crewmember of James Gilmore’s San Diego-based Columbia Carbon 32 Uncontrollable Urge perished early this morning when the brand-new boat dragged anchor into the surf at San Clemente Island during the Newport-to-San Diego Island Race. Around 9:30 p.m., the crew issued a mayday and reported rudder failure, but declined assistance from the Coast Guard and their fellow racers, saying they were waiting for commercial assistance. Unfortunately, conditions — 8- to 10-ft swells and 30 knots of wind — prevented the tow company from launching. The crew attempted to set their anchor but it dragged. As the boat broke apart in the surf, the six crew abandoned ship.
The crew were airlifted off the island by a USCG helo in a nighttime rescue after midnight and taken to a local hospital, where Craig Williams, 36, of San Diego was pronounced dead. The remaining five crew were all reported to have sustained injuries. We’ll have more on this tragedy in Monday’s ‘Lectronic Latitude.