There's actually quite a bit of info up now. See below for some links. The front page of Sailing Anarchy has an ongoing story and link to their forum thread.
The summary: Uncontrollable Urge, a new all-carbon Columbia
a couple miles west of San Clemente Island in the Islands Race
last night at about 9:30. They notified the USCG, but reported they weren't in immediate danger
, and there are some reports they turned down immediate offers of help. The wind
and waves eventually swept them into the island.
Winds had been in the 30's during the day but had calmed into the 20's by that time, but other racers reported a really big, ugly, mixed sea state with the NW winds driving big waves into a SW swell.
They eventually tried to deploy a life raft, which didn't work
for whatever reason, and then tried to anchor
. The water
is really deep back there almost right up to the rocks (100+ feet just out from shore) so not surprisingly the anchor
never bit. The boat
eventually washed up on the rocks and was destroyed. The 6 people on board made it to shore, but one fellow, Craig Williams, was dead by the time they helicoptered everyone out of there. No cause of death has been reported, but the water
and air temps would have been in the 50's and they would have probably had to cross some ugly rocks to make it onto the beach.
Jim the owner is a good guy and very knowledgeable. He and the core
of his crew did Pacific Cup in his previous Uncontrollable Urge (a Columbia
30), and he'd worked with Columbia to construct this boat specifically for offshore
Just a tragedy all around. My condolences to everyone involved.