Sad story from SF Lightship Race - Page 2 - SailNet Community

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  #11  
Old 03-18-2008
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I agree Dabnis,
I used to live on Alameda while in Diving School and that water is nothing to mess with....I nearly drowned there myself once....'cept by the grace of God alone.
Willy
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  #12  
Old 03-18-2008
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Very sad, my condolences to the friends and families.
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  #13  
Old 03-18-2008
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Ditto, BF, thanks, I didn't realize the SF bar is that far offshore, then I googled a chart. What you posted makes this sound like a very tough area in a strong NW wind and a strong ebb tide, which is what Daisy and her crew, may they rest in peace, experienced.

I sailed SF Bay once, as crew in a race series. I thought the Bay was treacherous, but it looks like the area just off the ship channel, where the "horseshoe"-shaped shoal is, is even worse.
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  #14  
Old 03-18-2008
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The SF bar is often underestimated; even on the NOAA wind/wave reports. I don't know exactly what the conditions were because we did not go out; but in regards to the predicted wind/wave 11-14ft seas every 11s IIRC would have made it treacherous on the SF bar. The shipping channel provides little relief from the swell; it is not what you would call "deep water" and the swell coming across the bar is still steep and can be "confused" due to the horse-shoe shape of the bar itself. There -may- be an area inside the horse-shoe where the swell becomes focused/amplified due to the shape of the bar.

What I don't quite understand is why the race was not sent to one of the pre-determined alternate courses. It seems like the conditions were bordering on unsafe and err on the side of caution would be to stay in the bay or postpone. It also seems like the season is a bit early to hold a race out the gate double-handed; the PNW storm season is not quite over yet. I'm not saying that IYC is fully responsible; each skipper must make the decision to go out or not based on their own assessment of the conditions, vessel, and crew.
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  #15  
Old 03-18-2008
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Unfortunately, many harbors have serious issues with bars causing nasty conditions to pop up without much warning. My thoughts go out to the families of the sailors lost in this case.
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  #16  
Old 03-18-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeelHaulin View Post
The SF bar is often underestimated; even on the NOAA wind/wave reports. I don't know exactly what the conditions were because we did not go out; but in regards to the predicted wind/wave 11-14ft seas every 11s IIRC would have made it treacherous on the SF bar. The shipping channel provides little relief from the swell; it is not what you would call "deep water" and the swell coming across the bar is still steep and can be "confused" due to the horse-shoe shape of the bar itself. There -may- be an area inside the horse-shoe where the swell becomes focused/amplified due to the shape of the bar.

What I don't quite understand is why the race was not sent to one of the pre-determined alternate courses. It seems like the conditions were bordering on unsafe and err on the side of caution would be to stay in the bay or postpone. It also seems like the season is a bit early to hold a race out the gate double-handed; the PNW storm season is not quite over yet. I'm not saying that IYC is fully responsible; each skipper must make the decision to go out or not based on their own assessment of the conditions, vessel, and crew.
Sometimes I wonder about that buoy out there and the forecasts. I use every source of information possible to go surfing, and it seems like the days I just go and look tend to be the best days. As I said in the college thread, you just never know. The day that Jim Gray went out, and never returned, was supposed to be even calmer. Experience, a little bit of fear, a little bit of luck, and a whole lot of respect for the Ocean.
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  #17  
Old 03-18-2008
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Bestfriend,

Your link describes the gate perfectly, especially about the supposed south channel. I saw , from shore, a large sailbout rollede in the breakers there. Another place to avoid is between the south tower of the bridge and Fort Point. There was a video on U Tube of a sailboat being rolled there, but I can't find it now. Perhaps someone knows about it?

Paul T
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  #18  
Old 03-18-2008
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When we planned the delivery of my boat to San Diego early last Spring, we focused on two places along the west coast. The first was was getting out of the SF Bay, and the other was Pt. Conception. We planned to get under the Golden Gate bridge on the slack tide before it ebbed, and watched weather conditions for the best day. Even under those conditions, as soon as we passed under the GG bridge seaward, we found the water full of stong up wellings until we got outside of the Potato Patch (a commonly used name for the SF bar). The Potato Patch is a horse shoe shapped bar (or reef), that completely surrounds the entrance to the SF bay. There is a natural southern pass through the reef, but it should not be used accept on the most waveless days, and I would think on a high tide. Commercial ships only use the main center channel along with recreational boats, and care must be taken when sharing this channel...especially on foggy days. Personally I wouldn't have tried the channel in the conditions of that race, but I guess I'm not that hard core.
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  #19  
Old 03-18-2008
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Dab - we talked about that boat a while back, I don't have the link. The boat is dismasted and sitting in SF Marina west harbor. The last I heard, the guy was doing lectures on his experience, or how not to be an idiot. When we talked about it b4, someone even chimed in saying that they do it all the time, whats the big deal. Go figure. I won't bore you with the experiences I have had out there on jet skis, boats, sailboats, and surfboards. Lets just say they have been amazing, eye opening, hair raising, and always exhilarating.

Jiff - the Patch is the North Eastern part of the bar. Its silt and sand, not much reef except right by the headlands. There are three shipping channels, the main one being in the center that heads out to the dump site 50 miles out. There is one NW and one SW. Sometimes the channel makes no difference in size of swell. One thing you learn about being in the waters here, anything can come from anywhere at anytime. I took SimonV to the edge of the Patch when we went out about a month ago. It was a very calm day, 3-5 foot swells, but the patch was still roiling with the currents and tide running every which way. I think Simon was pretty amused.

Edit - Actually Dab, there has been way more than one, so we may be thinking of different boats.
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Last edited by bestfriend; 03-18-2008 at 10:46 PM.
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  #20  
Old 03-18-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bestfriend View Post
Dab - we talked about that boat a while back, I don't have the link. The boat is dismasted and sitting in SF Marina west harbor. The last I heard, the guy was doing lectures on his experience, or how not to be an idiot. When we talked about it b4, someone even chimed in saying that they do it all the time, whats the big deal. Go figure. I won't bore you with the experiences I have had out there on jet skis, boats, sailboats, and surfboards. Lets just say they have been amazing, eye opening, hair raising, and always exhilarating.
Is this the one you're thinking of?
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