Coast Guard asks US Sailing for race accident review

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The Coast Guard in San Diego is requesting that US Sailing conduct an independent review of the sailing accident that resulted in the death of four sailors in April during the Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race.

That accident came on the heels of a tragedy during the Full Crew Farallones Race in which five sailors died just two weeks prior when their sailboat was rolled in breaking waves off the Farallon Islands.

The two accidents brought media attention to the potential dangers of competitive sailing, US Sailing president Gary Jobson told Soundings Trade Only.

“I’ve been very much involved in the sad tragedies involved in California,” Jobson said. “We’ve appointed hearing panels, and we are working with the Coast Guard. We need to understand what happened and how does it match up with rules and regulations and safety standards.”

The deaths in the Newport to Ensenada race were the first in its 65-year history. Aegean, a 37-foot Hunter 376, and her crew of four were victims of an accident that destroyed their boat a few miles offshore near Mexico’s Coronado Islands about 1:30 a.m. April 28.

US Sailing has appointed an independent review panel that will work with the Coast Guard. The panel will be responsible for researching the factors involved in the accident by reviewing safety policies and procedures and the use of safety equipment. The panel will determine what lessons can be learned and offer recommendations for future consideration.

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