Sailor Knocked Overboard in Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race Dies in Virginia

A sailor in the annual Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race died Friday night after a sail on the vessel knocked him overboard. The 43-foot Cuchulain had finished competing about 4 p.m. near Windmill Point at the mouth of the Rappahannock River. It was windy and the water was choppy while the crew was taking down the sails, said John Bull, spokesman for the Virginia Marine Police.

One of the sails struck Paul Stephen Case, 68, and knocked him overboard. Fellow crew members jumped in to try to save Case, who was not wearing a life jacket.

Case was conscious when he landed in the water, Bull said, but he had lost consciousness by the time he was pulled out. CPR was being performed when a Coast Guard boat arrived. It took Case to a waiting Middlesex County ambulance, but he could not be revived. His body was taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Richmond, but he appears to have drowned, Bull said.

Case, of Racine, Wis., was an avid sailor and had participated in races around the world. This was his second time in the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race.

“Our sympathies are with the family,” said Al Roper, president of the race’s executive committee.

The event began Thursday in Annapolis, Md. The vessels raced down the Chesapeake Bay to north of Hampton Roads, according to the race site. Ships then sailed to Portsmouth, where an awards ceremony was held.

Case was one of seven on the crew of the Cuchulain, which is homeported in Pasadena, Md.

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