The Coast Guard announced Sunday that it had suspended its search for the crew member of a racing yacht who fell overboard during Santa Barbara-to-King Harbor yacht race.
Ron Crowmi, a crewman aboard Charles Lawrance's Catalina-27, Scherzo, fell overboard about 12 miles east of Anacapa Island during a sail change on Friday night.
Attempts to bring the boat about and rescue Crowmi failed when the sails became fouled in the rigging and the boat's auxiliary engine would not start. The boat drifted away and the crew lost sight of Crowmi. A Mayday signal brought other vessels to the area, but they were unable to find Crowmi in the darkness.
A Coast Guard spokesman said it was unlikely that the victim could have survived more than two hours in the 60-degree water. Crowmi was not wearing a life jacket but had on a safety harness that was not attached to the boat. The accident occurred in relatively smooth seas and about 12 knots of wind.
It was the second yacht race-related fatality in Southern California in the last year. Lyle Galloway, a noted marine artist, was knocked overboard by a swinging boom and drowned during the starting procedure of a Newport Harbor Yacht Club Ahmanson Series race last year.
Dick Pennington' Peterson-66 sloop Cheetah was the first yacht to finish the Santa Barbara-to-King Harbor race, which drew 150 entries in 10 classes.