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Fishermen May Have Found Body of Missing Skipper Killed in Yacht Race

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Photo by Igor Shootov via Shutterstock
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Fishermen near the Coronado Islands found a body floating in the water Sunday, and it may be that of a missing Redondo Beach skipper whose boat crashed during an annual regatta on April 28.

The body has been turned over to the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office, reports the North County Times.

Theo Mavromatis, 49, was one of four men aboard the 37-foot vessel The Aegean, when it dropped off the tracking system for the Newport-to-Ensenada race.

The bodies of all three of Mavromatis' crewmates, William R. Johnson Jr., 57, of Torrance, Kevin Rudolph, 53, of Manhattan Beach, and Joseph L. Stewart, 64, of Bradenton, Fla. have since turned up.

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"Autopsies determined that Johnson and Rudolph died of blunt-force trauma and that Stewart drowned, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office," notes the North County Times.

The deadly boating accident took place about eight miles off the Baja California coast, but just what happened to The Aegean remains under investigation. "One theory is that it was hit by a larger vessel; another is that it went off course and smashed on the rocks," reports L.A. Now.

Race organizers said the fatalities were the first in 65-year history of the race. Mavromatis had entered the race seven times and won in 2009 and 2011. Newport Patch posted a photo of the crew as they set sail in the race.

The Easy Reader News has published a story looking at the life of Mavromatis. "Theo Mavromatis always felt most at home on the sea," it begins. The paper spoke with Mavromatis' eldest child, his 24-year-old daughter Anna:

“Of course if I had it my way, he’d be home by now,” she said. “But he did love the sea, and he loved sailing. It’s something me and my Mom have been talking about; he was doing what he loved, and there is a comfort in that. Also, a few years ago my parents had a discussion about how they would want to treat each other’s burials when the time came for that, and my Dad always said he wanted to be cremated and scattered at sea. So he loved the sea - that is where he would want to be. There is some small comfort, or some small level of peace, that you can get out of that thought.”
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Anna adds that The Aegean was her father's pride and joy, and that the race was very familiar to her father and the crew, whom she describes as skilled and dedicated sailors. She concludes:

“They were very careful, very safe, and very experienced…they never had any real problems before. So to have the impossible happen, that is why it was so unbelievable - it just didn’t seem like something that could have happened to them, let alone should have. But it did.”