Congratulations to overall winner of the 2014 Islands Race, Brack Duker and the crew of the Santa Cruz 70 Holua!
The 5th annual Islands Race was held in early March, starting on Friday the 7th off Newport Beach, leaving both Santa Catalina Island and San Clemente Island to port, and finishing on Saturday the 8th in San Diego. Competitors experienced lively conditions with good breeze around the islands, but with somewhat diminishing winds on the final stretch to the finish. The two multi-hull division competitors reported boats speeds as high as 34 knots, with Orion (MOD70) taking line honors, but Mighty Merloe (Orma 60) correcting to win the division.
As we celebrate this year’s successful event...please take a moment to reflect on and remember the 2013 Islands Race, where rough conditions and
failure of the rudder on Uncontrollable Urge resulted in the loss of the vessel on San Clemente Island and the fatality of crewmember Craig Williams. Craig loved sailing, loved to race, he was one of us and he will be missed.
This incident, along with recent ocean racing accidents where loss of life occurred during the Newport to Ensenada Race and the Farallones Race in San Francisco serve to illustrate the personal risk inherent to our sport. The valuable lessons learned from these incidents have raised the bar on safety and situational awareness associated with the sport of ocean racing, along with recommendations and more stringent safety regulations promulgated by US SAILING. While some of these conditions were included in this year’s sailing instructions, we have identified areas in which we can improve. A post-race debriefing will be conducted to review the effectiveness and intended result of the various instructions and requirements, in advance of the 2015 event.