Every fall, more schooners come together for The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race than for any other. It’s a fun event filled with the saltiest of characters aboard boats that are perfect for the rambunctious winds of October, all wrapped up with a coating of the area’s fascinating and rich history from the days of sail. But this year, the celebration of tradition turned to tragedy when 68 year-old Racine, WI native Paul Stephen Case was knocked off the deck of the 44’ “Cuchulain”. It wasn’t even during the race, according to Virginian Pilot reporter Lauren King. She reports that Case was knocked into the water while he and the crew were dousing sails after finishing the race, and that he was apparently conscious when he went in. Another crew member jumped in to try to help, but despite the extra hand, the experienced Wisconsin sailor had drowned by the time he was brought back aboard, and couldn’t be revived by either the crew or the USCG personnel who arrived later. The Pilot reported that Case was not wearing a life jacket.
It’s been a tough, tough year for racers; let’s all hope this is the last tragic death of the 2012 season. Our condolences to Case’s friends and family. If you’re curious about the title, you can learn about it here.