US Sailing Will Review Islands Race Accident

Byline: Log News Service

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (LOG NEWS SERVICE) — US Sailing will conduct an independent review of the sailing accident that occurred during the Islands Race March 8 off the coast of Southern California that resulted in the death of a sailor.

US Sailing announced March 20 that a panel of sailing experts will study the event and circumstances encountered by the crew of Uncontrollable Urge during the 2013 Islands Race. The panel will be responsible for researching the factors involved by reviewing safety policies and procedures, and the use of safety equipment. The panel will determine what lessons can be learned from the accident and present recommendations for future consideration.

The members of the Independent Review Panel are Bill Stump (Venice), John Jourdane (Long Beach), Dave Ullman (Santa Ana)and Betty Sue Sherman (San Diego). Medical expertise will be provided by Dr. Steve Shea (Long Beach), chief of emergency medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital. Chuck Hawley (Santa Cruz), chairman of the US Sailing Safety at Sea Committee, will act as an adviser to the panel.

Crewmembers aboard Uncontrollable Urge encountered dangerous conditions when their vessel’s rudder failed while sailing along the shore of San Clemente Island. Rough seas drove the 32-foot sailboat into the surf line, causing major damage, and the crew of six were forced to abandon the vessel. When the Coast Guard arrived at the scene, five sailors were rescued, but one died.

The fourth annual Islands Race began March 8 in Newport Beach and ended March 9 in San Diego. The route was 139 nautical miles and rounded San Clemente and Santa Catalina islands. Uncontrollable Urge was one of 40 boats competing in the race.

San Diego Yacht Club and Newport Harbor Yacht Club, the 2013 Islands Race organizing authority, jointly requested US Sailing — the national governing body for sailing — to conduct the review. US Sailing has conducted several independent reviews of sailing accidents, including the one that occurred during the 2012 Crewed Farallones Race from San Francisco and the accident at Los Coronados islands that occurred during the 2012 Newport-to-Ensenada Race.

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