Anacortes, WA – A Seattle Sailor has died in a boating accident during the inaugural 2021 Race Week PNW in Anacortes, Washington.
According to a release from the organization, 58-year old Greg Mueller, a crew member of the J/120 With Grace, died on Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021 after he reportedly stepped into a line that looped around his foot just as the spinnaker sail filled. A spinnaker is a sail designed specifically for sailing off the wind. The spinnaker fills with wind and balloons out in front of the boat when it is deployed, called flying.
Muller, an experienced sailor, who was wearing a life vest, was seen leaning over and trying to untangle lines around his feet prior to being jerked off the boat and dangled upside down by his foot about 8 to 10 feet above the water before plunging into the water where he was dragged alongside the boat as crew members attempted to slow the boat down and bring him back on board. Mueller was wearing a personal floatation device, but it was of little use because of the way he was positioned in the water.
The release says Mueller had spent around 3 minutes in the water by the time he was pulled out and crew members took turns performing CPR on him while another crew member called the race committee to get help. Boats in the area as well as two boats from the race committee arrived to assist, but they reportedly had no medical personnel on board. A speedboat arrived and transported Mueller to Guemes Island, where medics took over life saving efforts but they were unsuccessful and Mueller was pronounced deceased.
According to the Seattle Times, Mueller had been a longtime member of the “With Grace” boating crew since the boat was bought in 2014. He was a longtime member of the Washington Yacht Club and an avid racer in the region.
The Skagit County Coroner’s Office will release the official cause and manner of death.