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Ill-fated Newport yacht race sailors had no alcohol in systems

August 1, 2012 |  8:12 am

The bodies of the four sailors aboard the yacht Aegean who were killed during the annual Newport to Ensenada race tested negative for alcohol, but one had marijuana in his system, according to toxicology reports.

The report from the San Diego County medical examiner's office found traces of marijuana in Joseph Lester Stewart's system.

Skipper Theo Mavromatis' body, which was found 11 days after the crash, had decomposed to the point that the medical examiner wasn't able to perform a blood test. The extent of the skipper's injuries suggested he died in the 37-foot vessel's crash, the Daily Pilot reported.

William Reed Johnson, 57, of Torrance and Mavromatis, 49, of Long Beach died of blunt-force injuries.

Kevin Eric Rudolph, 53, of Manhattan Beach died of blunt-force head and neck injuries.

Stewart, 64, of Bradenton, Fla., drowned, with blunt-force injuries contributing to his death.

Previous reports said Mavromatis was from Redondo Beach, but the medical examiner investigation, which concluded in June, said he most recently lived with his wife at a home in Long Beach.

None of the men aboard the Aegean were wearing flotation devices, and each had prior experience in the race, the report found.

An official report from U.S. Sailing, the sport's governing body, determined that the Aegean ran aground on the rocky North Coronado Island, south of San Diego Bay. The conclusion was based largely on information relayed from a GPS device aboard the boat that showed its trajectory into the island.

Immediately after the crash, many speculated that a large commercial ship had struck the Aegean because of the extensive damage. One person reported that the boat looked like it was destroyed in a blender.

The U.S. Coast Guard expects to finalize a separate report on the incident by the end of October, according to Petty Officer Henry Dunphy.


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Photo: The 37-foot Aegean as it set out on this year's Newport to Ensenada race. Credit: Susan Hoffman.