Coast Guard investigates capsizing of Cynthia Woods

HOUSTON – The Coast Guard is investigating the sinking of the sailing vessel Cynthia Woods, which resulted in the loss of one life.

The Coast Guard began an investigation of the Cynthia Woods June 8. The investigation will be comprehensive and will look at all possible contributing factors including mechanical and material conditions of the Cynthia Woods, as well as human factors including training.

The objective of the investigation is to determine how the accident happened and the steps necessary to prevent situations like this from occurring in the future.

However, if the initial investigation reveals that federal or state statues have been violated, a criminal investigation may also be conducted at that time.

This is an ongoing investigation and the Coast Guard will not be able to comment or speculate about details until the investigation is concluded.

The lead agency for the investigation is the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Unit in Galveston, Texas.

The following Coast Guard and state assets will contribute to the investigation:

  • State of Texas Game Warden’s Office
  • Coast Guard Headquarters
  • Salvage Engineering Response Team
  • Coast Guard Traveling Inspection Office
  • Eighth Coast Guard District Legal Department
  • Eighth Coast Guard District Investigations
  • Coast Guard Public Affairs Detachment Houston
  • Coast Guard Documentations
  • Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston

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  1. Cesar Duran says:

    The sinking of the Cynthia Woods has made a profound difference in my life. I do own a small (18 foot) power boat and I am aware of the danger of falling overboard unexpected.
    I have a question in regards to the Cynthia Woods sailboat sinking.
    A. I thought sailboats had a safety line in the water at all times in case someone falls overboard. If so, the mariners of the Cynthia Woods could have grabbed it and not drifted away from the capsized boat.
    B. Stay with the boat as long as you can, even if it capsizes. It’s much easier to find a boat, even a partially submerged one than a lone swimmer in the water.
    C. 39 foot sailboats on racing Regatta’s should have a radio man incharge of communications and be constantly in communication with race directors.
    D. With so many sailing boats leaving Galveston for this racing ‘Regatta’ why was there not a ‘Safety Power Boat’ following in case of an emergency?

  2. Louis Ray says:


    1. Nope sailboats do not leave a line in the water. It is to easy to forget to secure it before starting the engine when it would get wrapped around the propeller shaft.
    2. If there were a line, no one would have grabbed it since sailboats sink (if the keel is still attached, and I doubt anyone knew the keel had been lost while they were going overboard.
    3. Stay with the boat is perfect advice for powerboats, again sailboats usually sink when damaged.
    4. Sailboats do not maintain continuous radio contact because electric power is severely limited. There is normally a radio watch schedule such as 10 minues every odd hour.
    5. In sailing races, the boats usually separate fairly rapidly since they are racing under a handicap system and the basic boat speeds may be very different. A Safety power boat would be unlikely to be anywhere near where it is needed.

    Just my opinion – Lou