Conditions were not dangerous. The boat was a J-35. No 18' waves more like 10' max (and swells), but easterly is right, the refelction waves off the breakwater are nasty.
Autopsy's came back as drowning deaths. 4 were on board, 1 went forward to lower the jib
and fell off (apparently not tethered). They called in a mayday and went to recover him. When they turned around, they lost
control of the boat, capsized and washed up against the breakwater when the boat broke up.
My guess is they were very near the breakwater opening when the first one fell off. The water
near the opening is generally very trecherous in these conditions, so it's easy to see how they lost
control of the boat and subsequently drown. It would be very difficult to survive the wave action even with life jackets. Water
temp was below 60.
Very sad. The crew had doen the Mac, were not unexperienced, and the waters really weren't that bad. Just a bad combination of circumstances.
They were in the water for 45 minutes before being pulled by rescue
boats. I don't think you could have responded any faster.