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Yacht skipper dies during race

SYDNEY, Australia -- Post-race celebrations for the BMW Sydney Winter Series were muted after a competitor died from an apparent heart attack during the event.

American skipper Gary McPike, 61, died on Sunday after accidentally falling from his yacht Joyride into the Sydney harbour, according to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA).

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Two crew members from another yacht dived into the harbour and hauled McPike, an experienced yachtsman, out of the water but were unable to revive him.

He was then transferred to a Water Police boat and taken to shore where an ambulance was waiting but he was pronounced dead a short time later.

As a mark of respect, the CYCA cancelled the after-race presentation of trophies for the event and hundreds of competitors observed a minute's silence on the deck.

McPike was an authority on yachting rules and had been a national judge and umpire in the United States before moving to Sydney with his wife.

He recently umpired at the Congressional Cup, one of the biggest yachting events in the United States, and had applied for status as an international judge and umpire.

A CYCA spokesman said: "We have been advised by the Water Police that his wife had stressed that Gary had died whilst being involved in the sport he loved."


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