San Diego man who died in sailboat accident being remembered as avid sailor, family man

Sailboat broke apart after losing rudder control

SAN DIEGO - Family members of a San Diego man who died in a sailboat race accident near San Clemente Island spoke to 10News on Sunday about how they are remembering him.

On Sunday, Williams' brother-in-law Joe Banas spoke with 10News about the kind of man 36-year-old Craig Williams was.

"The best friend that I think, anyone could ask for," Banas said. "He would do anything for you."

Photos the family sent to 10News show how much Williams loved to sail. He even had his own sailboat, "Uproarious."

Banas said Williams was a fantastic skipper. 

"Craig is well known in this area amongst skippers and boat owners," said Banas. "He's one of the youngest, yet he always seems to throw a challenge out there to the older, more experienced skippers."

That explains why Jim Gilmore, the skipper of "Uncontrollable Urge," requested Williams to be a member of the crew for the Islands Race. 

There were six on board Friday night when the sailboat lost rudder control. Images from U.S. Coast Guard video showed the boat after it had broken up near San Clemente Island. Five sailors were rescued and were treated for cuts, bruises and hypothermia. They have since been released from the hospital.  Williams did not make it. 

Banas not only knew Williams as a family member and friend, but also as a fellow sailor. 

"Very patient teacher, very understanding, very humble individual," Banas said. "After every race, he made sure he shook everybody on the boat's hand to let them know how much he appreciated them sailing with him on his boat."

Banas said members of the sailing community are now uniting around Williams' wife Kjersti and their 2-year-old daughter Claire. He told 10News they will also be there when Kjersti gives birth to the couple's second daughter.

Williams' death has left his wife in a tough financial situation. Friends have set up a fund to help her. If you'd like to help, click here.

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