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Daughter of lost yacht skipper says father had lifetime of sailing experience

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As family members and friends waited for word Monday on what caused the weekend crash of a Redondo Beach-based racing yacht, they described the victims as experienced sailors committed to safety.

Theo Mavromatis and Kevin Rudolph were among the four-man crew aboard the Aegean, a 37-foot sailboat that crashed in waters off the Mexican-U.S. border early Saturday morning during a yacht race from Newport Beach to Ensenada.

Mavromatis, a 49-year-old Redondo Beach resident, was the vessel’s owner and skipper. He is still missing. The body of Kevin Rudolph, a 53-year-old Manhattan Beach resident, was discovered by Coast Guard crews near the Coronado Islands. Also declared dead is Joseph Stewart, 64, and William Reed Johnson Jr., 57, of Torrance.

The race course crossed shipping lanes and authorities believe the Aegean may have collided with a larger vessel, likely a freighter, during the darkness of night. The Aegean was docked in King Harbor, although in the race it was representing Little Ships Fleet Yacht Club in Long Beach.

Mavromatis’ daughter, Anna, said her father sailed the vessel often and had extensive experience racing in varying conditions. Originally from Alexandropolous, a Greek port town on the coast of the Aegean Sea, Mavromatis had been near the water and sailed for most of his life. He immigrated

to the U.S. when he was 18 to study at Purdue University in Indiana, eventually settling in Redondo Beach.

“He’s been sailing since he was a teenager,” said Anna Mavromati. “He knew what he was doing.”

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for Mavromatis on Sunday evening. The Coast Guard told family members that he had a 1 percent chance of survival.

Mavromatis, an aerospace engineer for Raytheon, had sailed in the Newport-Ensenada race before, winning in 2009 and 2011. He often took the Aegean on sailing trips to Catalina with his family and friends.

“He loved that boat,” Mavromati said. “A lot of my friends loved my dad. He was really outgoing, really friendly and really funny.”

Also aboard the Aegean was Mavromatis’ brother-in-law, Stewart. Stewart, from Bradenton, Fla., visited Southern California each year to participate alongside Mavromatis in the race.

“They were a team,” Mavromati said. “They loved doing this together.”

Mavromatis, who had a boat captain’s license issued by the U.S. Coast Guard, owned the Aegean for about five years.

“He was really careful,” Mavromati said. “He knew what he was doing. He sailed in all types of conditions. He sailed in rough weather, he sailed when parts of the boat where not functioning while keeping the boat on course. It made all of this more surprising.”

Mavromatis met his wife, Loren, in college at Purdue. They have three children: Anna, 24, Christi, 21, and Xan, 11.

Mavromatis and Rudolph worked together at Raytheon in El Segundo. Johnson Jr. was a former Raytheon employee.

“Raytheon is saddened by the tragic events that occurred this weekend,” the company said in a statement issued through a spokesman. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those involved. All additional inquiries should be directed to the authorities investigating the situation.”

Also coming to terms with the crash were family members and friends of Rudolph, who gathered Monday morning at his Manhattan Beach.

Ryan Rudolph, 24, said his father began competitive sailing a few years ago, and had done a couple of races.

“He really loved it,” Rudolph said. “It was something that he had a lot of fun with. I’m just glad he got to do it.”

Rudolph worked as an innovation advocate at Raytheon in El Segundo, where he met the other men aboard the boat.

“Sailing just came out of nowhere,” the son said. “He had a couple of friends into sailing and he originally just went onto their day trips and decided he was really into it.”

Rudolph sailed several times a year.

“This was his third time doing this race,” the son said. Rudolph and his wife, Leslie, also have a 22-year-old daughter, Samantha.

“He saw me get out of college. He saw my sister get most of the way,” the son said. “He was doing things he wanted to do with his life. He wasn’t waiting for retirement.”

Rudolph also played harmonica in a band, including gigs at Suzy’s Bar and Grill in Hermosa Beach.

“He was a very capable man,” his son said. “I didn’t feel like I had anything to worry about.”

Kevin Rudolph and his wife would have celebrated their 27th anniversary on May 26.

“I didn’t like him doing the races,” the wife told The Associated Press. “I never liked it. I mean, they were out in the middle of the ocean. I always used to worry.”

Rudolph also sponsored robotics competitions and loved to cook, she said.

The Aegean was among 213 sailboats in the 125-mile race, which began at noon Friday. Most boats finished Saturday.

What happened is unclear. The crash occurred south of the Mexican border near the Coronado Islands, about 8 miles off the Baja California coast.

The Aegean’s course crossed shipping lanes used by commercial and military ships headed to and from the ports of San Diego and Ensenada.

Coast Guard officers, the Mexican Navy and civilian volunteers searched more than 600 square miles of ocean Saturday and into Sunday.

The search began shortly after a boater discovered debris near the Coronado Islands. Searchers knew it was the Aegean because the yacht’s transom, emblazoned with its name, was still afloat.

Three of the four were found in the search area on Saturday.

“It’s never easy to make the decision to suspend a search and rescue case,” Coast Guard Capt. Sean Mahoney said in a statement. “The Coast Guard extends its sympathies to the families and friends of the Aegean crew. They will be in our thoughts and prayers.”

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Woman says husband is 3rd sailor who died in Calif. yacht race, was sailing veteran

The wife of a yachtsman killed with two others during a 124-mile race between California and Mexico said Monday that her husband was a veteran sailor and the destruction of their boat is a mystery.

Leslie Rudolph of Manhattan Beach confirmed that Kevin Rudolph, 53, was the third sailor who died in the weekend race between Newport Beach and Ensenada.

The others were William Reed Johnson Jr., 57, of Torrance, Calif., and Joseph Lester Stewart, 64, of Bradenton, Fla. A fourth sailor was missing.

Wreckage of the yacht Aegean was found Saturday near the Mexican border and there is speculation that a freighter or other large boat hit it in the middle of the night. No distress signals were sent.

His wife said Rudolph was competing in the race for the third time with the Aegean’s skipper, Theo Mavromatis of Redondo Beach.

“I didn’t like him doing the races,” she added. “I never liked it. I mean, they were out in the middle of the ocean. I always used to worry.”

However, Rudolph had no qualms about the event and trusted his friend, she added. “He was a very experienced captain. Nobody understands how this could happen,” she said.

The Rudolphs would have celebrated their 27th anniversary on May 26 and he leaves two grown children, his wife said. Rudolph and other crewmembers worked for the Raytheon company in El Segundo, she said.

In addition to yachting, Rudolph sponsored robotics competitions, and loved to cook, fish and play the harmonica in a band, his wife said.

“He just loved life,” she said.

Authorities on Monday were still trying to determine what caused the yacht’s destruction.

Sailboat shards, mostly no more than six inches long, floating in the ocean were the first sign something was wrong. Eric Lamb spotted them while on safety patrol for the race.

It was California’s second deadly yacht race accident in a month. A boat that smashed into rocks and capsized during a race off Northern California two weeks ago prompted the Coast Guard to temporarily stop races in ocean waters outside San Francisco Bay.

Farther south though, the Newport Ocean Sailing Association’s race between Newport Beach, Calif., and Ensenada, Mexico, went forward on Friday. On Saturday morning, Lamb spotted the wreckage of the Aegean. Lamb said the 37-foot racing yacht looked like it “had gone through a blender.”

“It was real obvious it had been hit just because the debris was so small,” he said Sunday. Officials suspended the search for a fourth sailor later that day.

The Coast Guard said conditions were fine for sailing, with good visibility and moderate ocean swells of 6-to-8 feet. Officials have not determined the cause of the accident, and would not speculate on what ship, if any, might have collided with the sailboat.

The race goes through shipping lanes and it’s possible for a large ship to hit a sailboat and not even know it, especially at night, said Rich Roberts, a spokesman for the race organizer. Two race participants who were in the area at the time the Aegean vanished said they saw or heard a freighter.

A GPS race tracking system indicated the Aegean disappeared about 1:30 a.m. PDT (4:30 a.m. EDT) Saturday, Roberts said. Race organizers weren’t closely monitoring the race at that hour but a disappearing signal is no cause for alarm because receivers occasionally suffer glitches, he said.

“Somebody may have thought the thing was broken,” Roberts said.

Lamb, who has been patrolling the race for eight years as captain for a private company, saw the debris nine hours later, called the Coast Guard, and searched for identifying information. He and a partner found a life raft with a registration number and a panel with the ship’s name.

Race officials said they had few explanations for what may have happened to the Aegean.

Hundreds of race participants held a moment of silence at the Newport Ocean Sailing Association’s award ceremony, many of them stunned and puzzled. The episode immediately sparked a debate over the safety of ocean races.

“Quite honestly, I’m amazed it hasn’t happened before,” said Lamb. “You get 200 boats out there, they lose their way, and they’re just bobbing around.”

Gary Jobson, president of the U.S. Sailing Association, said his group will appoint an independent panel to investigate.

“I’m horrified. I’ve done a lot of sailboat racing and I’ve hit logs in the water, and I’ve seen a man go overboard, but this takes the whole thing to a new level,” Jobson said. “We need to take a step back and take a deep breath with what we’re doing. Something is going wrong here.”

Chuck Iverson, commodore of the sailing association, said the collision was a “fluke,” noting how common night races are along Mexico’s Baja California coast.

The deaths are the first fatalities in the race’s 65 years. The race attracted 675 boats at its peak in 1983 before falling on hard times several years ago amid fears of Mexico’s drug-fueled violence.

Participation has picked up recently, reaching 213 boats this year. The winner, Robert Lane of Long Beach Yacht Club, finished Saturday in 23 hours, 26 minutes, 40 seconds.

The race attracts sailors of all skills, including some who are new to long distances. The Aegean competed in one of the lower categories, which allows participants to use their motors when winds drop to a certain level.

Gilpin said Mavromatis, an engineer, was an experienced sailor who had won the Newport to Ensenada race in the past.

The deaths come two weeks after five sailors died in the waters off Northern California when their 38-foot yacht was hit by powerful waves, smashed into rocks and capsized during a race.

The accident near the Farallon Islands, about 27 miles west of San Francisco, prompted the Coast Guard’s temporary suspension of races outside San Francisco Bay. The Guard said the suspension will allow it and the offshore racing community to study the accident and race procedures to determine whether changes are needed to improve safety.

U.S. Sailing, the governing body of yacht racing, is leading the safety review, which is expected to be completed within the next month.


Contributing AP reporters are Christopher Weber and Daisy Nguyen in Los Angeles, Bernie Wilson in San Diego, and Jason Dearen in San Francisco.

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Manatee County Boat Manufacturer Earns National Recognition for Exports

BRADENTON – Two years ago, Hann Powerboats had zero international sales. This year, global exports will account for 60 percent of the company’s revenues, an achievement that earned the small Manatee County manufacturer recognition as the only Florida firm featured in the U.S. Commercial Service’s 2011 Annual Report, according to Sharon Hillstrom, president of the Manatee Economic Development Corp. (MEDC).

“It all started when the Manatee EDC introduced us to Rebecca Torres, the Commercial Service representative for our region,” said Kevin McLaughlin, vice president at Hann Powerboats. “We have learned how to vet potential buyers through U.S. embassies around the world and have taken advantage of the connections that Commercial Service representatives have in those countries where we want to do business. There is no question that our international business has saved our production staff. Without the international boat sales, we would not need the production staff we have and we wouldn’t be planning to hire more. ”

Hann Powerboats, located on 18th Street East in South Manatee County, is a small company with six employees producing high quality vessels. Hann Powerboats’ trademarked hull design reflects the engineering detail and attention required to produce a stable, fast, and efficient boat. All of the vessel’s parts are fabricated using the most modern equipment, resulting in the best fit possible and allowing for quicker assembly of the vessels. They can serve as patrol and fire/rescue boats and can also be configured to support multiple missions. Hann Powerboats’ customers include the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Navy and numerous private customers.  The trademarked, efficient and fast hull design has allowed Hann to break new ground in speed and efficiency with large, hi-load vessels.

In its 2011 annual report, the U.S. Commercial Service – the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration – highlighted Hann’s $400,000 sale of powerboats to a Nigerian company. McLauglin wanted to make sure the company was legitimate and could pay for its purchase, and because the order included equipment that could be used for military applications, Hann Powerboats also had to vet the company further. Torres, located in the U.S. Commercial Service’s Clearwater office, was able to work with her colleagues and representatives at the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria to resolve in two weeks a problem that McLaughlin had struggled with for two months.

“I am so pleased and proud that Hann Powerboats was chosen from this region to be showcased in the U.S. Commercial Service’s Annual Report,” said Torres, commercial officer at the Tampa Bay Export Assistance Center. “We are happy to have assisted them in their sale to Nigeria, and look forward to providing additional assistance in securing sales to other countries as well. This partnership will undoubtedly assist in the growth of this fine example of U.S. manufacturing and technology.”

“Now that I’ve learned to work through the U.S. Commercial Service and our embassies, I expect our international sales to continue to grow,” McLauglin said. “We actually expect to double staff with just the international business alone over the next 12 months.”

New positions will be in skilled production jobs, he said. Job candidates should apply in person at Hann Powerboats, 6555 18th Street East in south Manatee County.

“Hann Powerboats demonstrates how businesses in Manatee County can connect with international markets to grow revenues, and as they grow, they create new jobs for local residents,” Hillstrom said. Manatee County businesses seeking more information on exporting their products or services may inquire via email to or by phone to 748-4842, ext. 126.

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Solo Kayak Fisherman Takes on big Game Boats in International Fishing Competition

This week an Australian solo kayak fisherman will create history as the first kayak to compete against a fleet of international game fishing boats in the 16th Samoa International Game Fishing Association tournament to be held in Samoa.

Sydney, Australia (PRWEB) April 30, 2012

In what will be a true David and Goliath story, this week an Australian man known only as “The offFISHal Angler” will enter the record books as the first solo kayak fisherman to compete in the Samoa International Game Fishing Association International (SIGFA) Tournament.

The 16th Tournament of the SIGFA commences on the 30th of April and will be officially opened by Samoa’s Prime Minister. The tournament concludes on the 4th of May with a formal closing ceremony to be held in Apia, Samoa on the 5th of May.

In his Hobie Adventure Island kayak by the same name, The ofFISHal Angler will compete against a flotilla of thirty three big game fishing boats, fifteen of which have be shipped to Samoa from overseas in order to compete in the world renowned competition. Samoa is well known for its spectacular game fishing waters and competitors will be battling it out for their share of marlin, sailfish, masi-masi and tuna. This year the competition will see a record cash prize pool is particularly significant as the year 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of independence for the Independent State of Samoa.

The ofFISHal Angler will skipper his 18 foot Hobie Adventure Island kayak, equipped with a sail, GPS, marine radios and fish finder, through some of the most challenging waters in the world navigating large swells, constant tropical heat and in the event of a significant hook-up, fierce battles with some of the biggest and fastest fish in the ocean.

“To catch a significant fish, in an international game fishing competition as a solo kayak fisherman has been a life-long goal. I’m confident that this vessel will assist me in handling the conditions out there in the Pacific Ocean, but I’m also aware that there are always risks attached to these adventures. My goal is to remain safety conscious, competitive and to use the stealth of the kayak to achieve a great result against the big game boats. I’m extremely excited as I know this will be a massive solo adventure,” The ofFISHal Angler said.

The ofFISHal Angler’s Hobie vessel is fitted with a range of high definition waterproof movie and still cameras to capture all the action. “There are lots of stories about the one that got away, so if I am successful and hook a huge fish, I’ll have solid proof by way of footage. The footage will also be used to make a documentary about the whole experience,” The ofFISHal Angler said.

The ofFISHal Angler’s adventure will be supported by the online fishing charter search and booking website, and a nightly Blog will be maintained during the competition which can also be followed at

Enquiries: admin(at)fishingcharterbase(dot)com

Fishing Charter Base
Email Information

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Disaster strikes again for a sailing race

Organizers of the famed Newport Beach-to-Ensenada sailing regatta were stunned by the mysterious loss of four crew members aboard a 37-foot boat that disappeared in mid-race, marking the first fatalities in the event’s 65-year history.

While the U.S. Coast Guard was still investigating the accident, regatta organizers said they believed the boat was hit and demolished by a much larger ship — perhaps a freighter or tanker — passing in the dark early Saturday.

The boat disappeared from the online tracking system around 1:30 a.m. Saturday. Two sailors on other boats recalled seeing a large ship in the area.

“We’re all in shock,” said Chuck Iverson, commodore of the Newport Ocean Sailing Assn., sponsor of the 125-mile race, which is one of the sport’s most popular. “We’re still trying to piece it together and find out more from the investigation.”

Three bodies were recovered Saturday from a scattered debris field near the Coronado Islands, about 15 miles south of San Diego. None was wearing a life jacket.

After scouring a 600-square-mile area Sunday with ships and aircraft, the Coast Guard on Sunday night suspended its search indefinitely for the fourth crew member. “We’ve exhausted all possibilities,” said a spokesman.

The Coast Guard has yet to determine a cause for the apparent destruction of the boat, called the Aegean. But racing officials believe it was struck by a “much larger vessel”.

The Coast Guard’s lead investigator for San Diego, Bill Fitzgerald, said investigators were “tracking down any vessel that may have been in their area.”

The deaths were the first in the history of the race, which this year had 213 entries and has a history of attracting such world-class skippers as Dennis Conner, Bill Ficker and Dave Ullman, as well as celebrities like Walter Cronkite, Buddy Ebsen and Humphrey Bogart.

The destruction of the Aegean comes two weeks after a 38-foot sailboat was swamped by two rogue waves during a race around the Farallon Islands off San Francisco. Five of the eight crew members were killed.

Despite these two disasters, statistics kept by the Coast Guard indicate that even though the waters off the West Coast are heavily used by recreational boaters, merchant ships and U.S. Navy vessels, accidents are exceedingly rare.

In 2010, the latest year for which statistics were available, six accidents involving recreational boaters were reported to the Coast Guard three miles or more into the Pacific Ocean — with only one fatality.

On Sunday, anguished family members of the four Aegean crew members waited for an explanation.

“I don’t understand why it happened,” said Leslie Rudolph, whose husband, Kevin, 53, was a crew member. “There were 210 boats. Why their boat?”

Rudolph was a co-worker with the sailboat owner and skipper Theo Mavromatis. He was not an avid sailor but had taken up the sport in recent years and enjoyed the challenge and camaraderie.

Rudolph had done the Newport-to-Ensenada race three times, his wife said.

“There is nobody like him,” Leslie Rudolph said from their Manhattan Beach home. “He’s special, he brought joy to everyone.”

The San Diego County medical examiner identified two of the victims as Joseph Lester Stewart, 64, of Bradenton, Fla., and William Reed Johnson, 57, of Torrance.

Mavromatis’ family declined to speak to a reporter inquiring whether he was aboard his boat.

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Rising tide buoys boat dealers

Houston police Officer Mike Trautwein has a wife and two kids, and their life is always “go-go-go” – except when they can get away on his 26-foot fishing boat.

Setting out from Freeport, they cruise into the Gulf of Mexico until they no longer see land.

“It’s just you, your boat and Mother Nature out there,” Trautwein said. “It clears the mind.”

A passion for boating runs deep in America. About a third of all U.S. adults go boating each year, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

But like many industries, boating was hit hard by the recession, and Houston was hit even harder after last summer’s drought dropped lake water levels to record lows.

Today, though, boating is on the rebound, nationally and locally.

“If the economy is good and water levels are good, that’s when we flourish,” said Darryl Moore, owner of Darryl Moore’s Marine, a high-end boat dealer in Spring.

“Last year, when water levels were down like they were at Lake Conroe, I’d never seen it in my 21 years in business,” he said. But business is improving, he said. “I feel like it’s going to be a decent year.”

At the 67-year-old Gibbs boat store in Montrose, store manager Marie Brocato agreed that sales are starting to pick up.

Ellen Hopkins, spokeswoman for the marine manufacturers group, said new boat sales improved by 5 percent in 2011, the first uptick since the recession. First-time buyers are fueling the recovery, she said.

The recently expanded West Marine, a boating-supply store in Kemah, speaks to the growing strength locally. The 25,000-square-foot store is the only Texas flagship for the 310-store national chain.

Along with fishing gear, the store at 1401 Marina Bay Drive has a sailboat rigging shop, engine parts service counter, and a 6,000-square-foot apparel department. It carries such items as shirts designed to repel bugs and others to resist stains from fish blood and guts.

The store’s electronics department illustrates how the boating world has made advances in high-tech devices such as touch-screen navigation systems and multiple function units that provide chart plotting, radar and fish-finding technology.

Better times help

As the economy improves, people are willing to invest in such equipment, said Erik Rimblas, West Marine’s regional vice president.

“Houston has been a really good market for us for a long time,” he said.

Stores such as Academy Sports + Outdoors and Bass Pro Shops also offer a wide selection of fishing and other boating-related gear.

Local boat dealers offer an array of vessels, from dinghies to fancy pleasure boats. They sell pontoons, sailboats, small and big fishing boats, water-sport boats, cabin cruisers and personal watercraft, for example.

Moore’s business still hasn’t fully recovered from the recession, he said. Before the economic downturn, he carried 40-foot runabouts, but he said he now stocks nothing larger than 27 feet.

His high-end water-sport boats made by Malibu and Axis range in price from $45,000 to $95,000 and can be used to pull riders of wakeboards and surfboards. A former professional water skier from Australia, Moore noted that water skiing is on the wane compared with wake and surfboarding with boats.

Other local boat dealers carry a wide offering of both fishing and pleasure boats.

Rinker’s Boat World in northwest Houston has deep family roots in the industry. The dealership was founded in 1978 by Kit and Jerry Rinker, whose father began making boats in Indiana in 1945.

Rinker’s still carries Rinker-made boats, although the manufacturer is now under new ownership.

Jerry Rinker works with his son, Chris Rinker, and their store is focused on runabouts, ski boats, bay boats and pontoon boats. About 60 percent of their boats are for freshwater outlets, particularly lakes, and the rest are for saltwater, Chris Rinker said.

His family helped pioneer the selling of high-performance pontoon boats, he said.

Boat dealers such as Rinker’s and Darryl Moore’s are more focused on higher-end boats. Small mom-and-pops are more likely to carry inexpensive john boats for hunting and fishing, he said.

Hoping it was a fluke

Chris Rinker said he hopes last summer’s severely hot, dry weather was a fluke.

“It’s been pretty tough for a lot of dealers, but we’ve been real fortunate,” said Rinker, who recently expanded the store.

Among the boats gaining in popularity nationally are pontoons and smaller aluminum fishing boats, Hopkins said.

Higher fuel prices are not a big issue in the boating world, she said.

“When you got out on the water, you turn off your engine,” she explained.

Fishing boat captain Tim Bradbeer, who said he fished before he learned to walk, was at West Marine Kemah recently picking up equipment for his boat.

A store the size of the expanded West Marine with so many offerings is long overdue in the area, Bradbeer said.

The store has doubled in size.

California-based West Marine has stores near The Woodlands, near Spring Branch and in Seabrook and Galveston in addition to its Kemah flagship. For the employees there, store manager Nolan Vander-Haagen said, boating is more than a job.

All 35 store associates own boats or live on them, he said.

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Israel arrests crew of Gaza fishing boat

BEIRUT (Reuters) – A Norwegian general charged with overseeing a shaky U.N.-brokered truce in Syria arrived in Damascus on Sunday, boosting a monitor mission that activists say has helped ease the violence in the city of Homs, hotbed of a 13-month uprising. In the capital, militants fired rocket-propelled grenades at the …

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US sailing group: Collision suspected in yacht tragedy that killed 3, left 1 missing

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – A yacht racing off the coasts of California and Mexico apparently collided with a much larger vessel, killing three crew members and leaving one missing, a sailing organization said early Sunday.

The Newport Ocean Sailing Association was hosting the 125-mile Newport, California to Ensenada, Mexico yacht race when the collision occurred late Friday or early Saturday several miles off the coast near the border.

“An investigation was continuing, but it appeared the damage was not inflicted by an explosion but by a collision with a ship much larger than the 37-foot vessel,” association spokesman Rich Roberts said in a news release early Sunday.

Three crew members of a sailboat were found dead and a search was under way early Sunday for a fourth, in the state’s second ocean racing tragedy this month.

Coast Guard boats and two aircraft as well as Mexican navy and civilian vessels were searching for the missing crew member.

Other yachts near the Coronado Islands in Mexico reported seeing debris Saturday morning. Searchers in the afternoon found the bodies and debris from the Aegean, whose home port is Redondo Beach, Coast Guard Petty Officer Henry Dunphy said

Two of the dead were recovered by a civilian boat, while the third was found by a Coast Guard helicopter.

The Coast Guard said earlier that it hadn’t determined what happened to the sailboat.

Dunphy said conditions were fine for sailing, with good visibility and moderate ocean swells of 6-to-8 feet.

A total of 210 boats were registered in the 65th annual yacht race, according to the Newport Ocean Sailing Association’s website. It wasn’t immediately clear how many finished.

The association’s commodore, reached by phone in Ensenada, told The Associated Press that he didn’t know the members of the Aegean or how many people were aboard.

“This has never happened in the entire 65 years of the race that I’m aware of,” Chuck Iverson said. “We’re all shocked by this whole event.”

The names of the dead were not released pending notification of next of kin.

The Coronado Islands are four small, largely uninhabited islands about 15 miles south of San Diego.

The deaths come two weeks after five sailors died in the waters off Northern California when their 38-foot yacht was hit by powerful waves, smashed into rocks and capsized during a race.

Three sailors survived the wreck and the body of another was quickly recovered. Four remained missing until one body was recovered last Thursday.

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