Panel created to investigate Aegean

The country's governing body for sailing announced Monday that it would conduct an independent review of the incident that killed four during the Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race.

US Sailing appointed a team at the request of the Coast Guard in San Diego, the group said in a statement.

The Aegean's demise on April 28 resulted in the first fatalities in the race's 65-year history. The men killed were Kevin Rudolph, 53, of Manhattan Beach; William Reed Johnson, 57, of Torrance; Joseph Lester Stewart, 64, of Bradenton, Fla.; and the boat's skipper, Theo Mavromatis, 49, of Redondo Beach.

Days after the accident involving the 37-foot sloop from Long Beach, race organizers said US Sailing would conduct an investigation, but details of who would serve on the investigatory panel and specifically what would be examined weren't announced until Monday.

The panel will interview sailors who took part in the race this year and in years past, and focus on safety and equipment that sailors used in rough offshore conditions, said US Sailing spokesman Jake Fish.

The investigation will consist of "full-blown research from the sailing safety perspective," he said. "Safety was always at the forefront of what we do."

The group consists of medical advisors and other experts from across the country. On the panel are Bruce Brown of Costa Mesa; John Winder of Annisquam, Mass.; Alan Andrews of Corona del Mar; Ed Adams of Middletown, R.I.; and Alan McMillan of Pensacola, Fla.

US Sailing is working in tandem with the Coast Guard in the investigation, Fish said.

A set of recommendations is expected to be made public at the end of June.

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