Family, friends remember local sailor - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Family, friends remember local sailor

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© Photos courtesy of Craig Williams' family. © Photos courtesy of Craig Williams' family.

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Craig Williams is being remembered Sunday as a loving husband and father who had a passion for sailing.

The 36-year-old was killed Friday night, and leaves behind a pregnant wife, and 2-year-old daughter.

The deadly crash happened late Friday night near San Clemente Island during a sailboat race from Long Beach to San Diego.

The 32-foot sailboat lost steering capability, then broke apart in the crashing waves. There were five survivors, who have been released from various local hospitals.

News 8's Shannon Handy spoke to Craig Williams' friends and family members Sunday.

While sailing was his passion, it came second to his family.

"The one thing you can say about Craig is he was a devoted husband, father and friend," said a family member.

Williams was also an experienced sailor, eager to share his passion with others, including his brother-in-law.

"He taught me everything I know," he said.

Sunday, loved ones gathered at the home Williams shared with his pregnant wife, Kjersti (keer-stee) and their two-year-old daughter, Claire.

People who knew Williams best say they too are trying to comprehend what happened Friday night, when he and five other sailors aboard "Uncontrollable Urge" got into trouble near the San Clemente Islands during the 4th Annual Islands Race.

Forty-one sailboats took part in the ragada. They left Long Beach Harbor Friday afternoon with plans to end in San Diego the following day.

"If you had to be in that situation, those are the guys you would pick," said good friend and fellow sailor Randy Ames.

Ames says Williams has his own boat called Uproarious but was asked to go along with the Uncontrollable Urge crew, as they tested out a brand new vessel.

Ames was also invited but had a work commitment, so he followed the race online.

After noticing the boat had stopped, and realizing it wasn't a computer error, he alerted the Coast Guard.

Video shows the rescue in progress. In it, you can see the men being hoisted one by one into an awaiting basket.

But Williams was already dead, despite a crew member's efforts to resuscitate him.

Ames spoke to the surviving sailors from their hospital beds.

According to them, even after their rudder failed, they took all the necessary precautions and had everything under control, until the very end.

"It was a very violent situation, the waves were washing over, and they were holding on for dear life and one by one they were ejected off the boat," he said.

As more details continue to emerge, a memorial page has been set up to honor Williams and the help the growing family he leaves behind.

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