US Sailing to conduct independent review of Newport to Ensenada Race

Aegean at the start of the race
Susan Hoffman
The United States Coast Guard of San Diego has requested that US Sailing, the National Governing Body for the sport, conduct an independent review of the sailing accident that occurred during the 2012 Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race resulting in the deaths of four sailors. 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 at about 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 28. These were the first deaths in the 65-year history of the race.

US Sailing has appointed an Independent Review Panel for this tragic incident who will work in parallel with the US Coast Guard. The panel will be responsible for researching the factors involved in the accident by reviewing safety policies and procedures, and the usage of safety equipment. The panel will determine what lessons can be learned from the accident and present recommendations for future consideration.

Aegean Yacht's GPS track - Newport to Ensenada 2012

The panel and the US Coast Guard understand the urgency of this review and anticipate completing initial findings and recommendations to be released to the public in June.

'We at US Sailing are deeply saddened by the recent tragedy that occurred in the Newport to Ensenada Race,' said Gary Jobson, President of US Sailing. 'At the request of the US Coast Guard in San Diego, US Sailing has assembled a panel of offshore sailing, safety and medical experts to lead a review that will help identify what caused this tragic accident. We are working with the US Coast Guard in San Diego to outline this review strategy, so that we can successfully make factual determinations from the review and present a set of useful recommendations on best safety practices.'

The members of the Independent Review Panel are Chairperson, Bruce Brown (Costa Mesa, Calif.), John Winder (Annisquam, Mass.), Alan Andrews (Corona del Mar, Calif.), Ed Adams (Middletown, R.I.), and Alan McMillan (Pensacola, Fla.). The Offshore Special Regulations Consultant on the panel is Evans Starzinger (Milford, Conn). The Safety at Sea Committee Chair and Review Panel Liaison is Chuck Hawley (Santa Cruz, Calif.). Medical Advisors are Dr. Michael Jacobs (Vineyard Haven, Mass.) and Dr. Kent Benedict (Aptos, Calif.). Jim Wildey (Annapolis, Md.) will advise on investigation procedures and formats.

On May 1, US Sailing made a similar announcement regarding an independent review being conducted of the sailing accident that occurred during the 2012 Crewed Farallones Race from San Francisco, Calif. that resulted in the deaths of five sailors.

For relevant inquiries regarding the Newport to Ensenada Race review from the media or to provide pertinent information and helpful commentary on the incident or race, please contact US Sailing at ensenadareview@ussailing.org.

US Sailing website