A sailboat racing from San Pedro to San Diego drifted into the waves at an offshore island and broke apart, leaving one person dead, U.S. Coast Guard officials said today.
The crew of the 30-foot sailboat “Uncontrollable Urge” issued a mayday call after the ship’s rudder failed and it drifted toward San Clemente Island shortly before 9:30 p.m. Friday, during the Islands Race, according to Petty
Officer 3rd Class Connie Gawrelli.
The boat wreck was about 70 miles south of Los Angeles, at an island occupied only by a small U.S. Navy base.
About 40 racing boats were racing about 150 miles from Los Angeles Harbor to San Diego Bay and were to round Catalina and San Clemente islands, according to the race’s website.
The crew of Uncontrollable Urge initially told Coast Guard officials by radio it was abandoning the race with the bad rudder and trying to anchor at San Clemente Island. The crew asked for assistance from a commercial salvage company.
But Gawrelli said the crew declined immediate help from the Coast Guard or other boaters in the race, Gawrelli said.
The salvage company was unable to launch due to weather conditions — 8-foot swells and 12 mile per hour winds with a small craft advisory, Gawrelli said.
The sailors tried to anchor the vessel shortly after 11 p.m., but the anchor would not catch and the sailboat drifted closer to San Clemente Island, Gawrelli said.
The Coast Guard then launched a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and the Coast Guard Cutter Edisto, she said.
The boat washed into the surf and waves broke it apart, which forced the crew to abandon the sailboat, Gawrelli said.
Six sailors were hoisted from the water and taken to the Coast Guard station in San Diego, Gawrelli said. One of the rescued racers was apparently dead on arrival in San Diego, and Medical Examiner’s Office personnel were
The name of the person killed was not immediately released.
The other five were hospitalized in undisclosed conditions. The Uncontrollable Urge was a Columbia Carbon 32 that was entered in the race by James Gilmore of the Silver Gate Yacht Club on San Diego’s Shelter Island, according to the race’s website.
The race was sponsored by the Newport Harbor and San Diego yacht clubs.