US Sailing convenes panel on Newport/Bermuda Race death

At the request of the Newport/Bermuda Race organizing committee, U.S. Sailing convened a panel in early July to investigate the death of Newport Bermuda racer Colin Golder of New Providence, New Jersey. Golder, who was skippering the boat Morgan of Marietta, a 42-foot sloop, died on June 19 when he fell overboard 325 miles from Bermuda in strong winds. Following an extensive search, the crew of Morgan of Marietta was able to recover Golder’s body. 

According to a post on the Newport/Bermuda Race web site: “The panel looks to fact-find on contributing factors including, weather conditions, crew experience, safety regulations and more, to produce a chronology of the causative events and quantitative lessons learned to help make the sport of offshore racing safer. US Sailing estimates the report will be completed in the fall.”

The panelists include:

Greg Miarecki (Chair) is a member of Chicago Yacht Club and the Storm Trysail Club. He has raced hundreds of distance races in Lake Michigan, including 35 Chicago Yacht Club Races to Mackinac. Miarecki  served as Chair of the Race in 2008 and 2009, the former being the 100th Race to Mackinac which had 450 boats entered. 

Ed Cesare is a financial professional who is also a competitive offshore sailor. He owned and campaigned a Class 40 (doublehanded) and regularly navigates for several high-end programs. In the course of sailing more than 100,000 miles offshore, Cesare has raced all five of the world’s great 600 milers, including 18 Bermuda Races, as well as three transatlantic races. 

Andrew Clouston is US Sailing’s Senior Vice President of Programs and Services and is responsible for offshore, youth and adult programs, competition, education, race administration, and information technology. Clouston is a skilled keelboat sailor whose experience includes extensive coastal racing as well as one design, match racing and cruising.

P. Leslie Crane is the Past Commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (2002-3). He has been a skipper in seven Newport Bermuda Races and has more than 40,000 miles cruising experience including three Atlantic crossings.

Matt Gallagher is chair of the Offshore & Technology Division of US Sailing. Previously, he served as Chair of the US Sailing Offshore Committee and served on the Safety at Sea Committee. Gallagher has skippered in 10 Chicago Yacht Club Races to Mackinac and has raced throughout the Great Lakes as well as in the Southeastern US and in Europe. 

Captain Jonathan Kabak is the Chief Executive Officer of Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island and is the Master of the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry. Kabak is an internationally recognized expert on maritime training and education under sail.