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1 dead, 5 rescued in Calif. sailboat race accident

LOS ANGELES — A sailor died and five others had to be rescued after sending a mayday call during a race but then declining help from the Coast Guard and other boaters as their boat drifted in rough seas toward a rocky island shore off Southern California, authorities said Saturday.

The crew of Uncontrollable Urge radioed the mayday call Friday night after the 32-foot sailboat lost its steering capability and the craft began drifting toward San Clemente Island, where it then broke apart, Coast Guard Petty Officer Connie Gawrelli said.

The crew also activated a feature on the boat to provide authorities their GPS coordinates and other crucial information, but declined assistance and requested a tow boat, she said.

However, stormy ocean conditions kept the tow boat from getting to them.

One of the organizers of the two-day Islands Race said the crew encountered more bad luck when attempts to deploy a life raft and anchor the boat failed. The crew abandoned ship when the boat broke apart.

"They were not in immediate danger and thought they would be able to manage completing the race and get assistance on their own," said Chuck Hope, commodore of the San Diego Yacht Club. "Then things got worse."

1 dead, 5 rescued in Calif. sailboat race accident 03/09/13 [Last modified: Sunday, March 10, 2013 12:30am]

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