A racing sailboat. which was destroyed during a weekend race off the coast of Mexico, may have been broke up by an island rather than a freighter, as reports initially suggested. The 37ft Aegean, which was competing with more than 200 vessels in the annual Newport-to-Ensenada race, was lost off the Mexican coastline early Saturday morning. All four crewmembers died.
Organisers of the event originally said that the boat was most likely struck by a freighter because it was so thoroughly demolished. Search-and-rescue teams said it looked like it had "passed through a blender."
But yesterday, competitors in the race said the GPS tracking system shows the Aegean running aground on a far end of North Coronado Island at 1:36 a.m. The islands are about 15 miles south of San Diego Bay.
The US Coast Guard said that it was aware of the tracking map, but could not attest to its accuracy. "The Coast Guard is aware of it, and we take that information into account," Lt. Sean Groark told the Los Angeles Times. "We investigate all possibilities and endeavor to not jump to conclusions."
Ensenada racer Scot Tempesta posted a link to the tracking map on his website Sailing Anarchy yesterday. Tempesta told the paper that he sailed past the islands Friday night and the swell was about 4 feet, enough to potentially break a boat up on the rocks. "It is a nasty piece of little ocean there," he told the paper. "It's deceptive just how rough it can be there."
Rich Roberts, spokesman for the Newport Ocean Sailing Association, which organizes the annual race, said the new information was “really revealing" after he received it yesterday. "This nails it," he said. But then he added: “Boats have hit rocks before and were never totally demolished like this."