Tragedy at sea
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – 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 crew on the 32-foot sailboat
“Uncontrollable Urge” that experienced rudder failure near San Clemente
Island late Friday, authorities said.
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 instead
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 the sailboat, 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 other five sailors were hospitalized with cuts, bruises and
hypothermia, but had since been released, Commodore Chuck Hope of the San Diego
Yacht Club told U-T San Diego.
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.
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
Williams is survived by his wife Kjersti, who is expecting another
child, and 2-year-old daughter Claire.
The Craig Williams Family Memorial Fund was set up at youcaring.com, and
a link was available on the Silver Gate Yacht Club's website at sgyc.org.