Sad story from SF Lightship Race - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 62 Old 03-18-2008
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Originally Posted by bestfriend View Post
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.
Best, I'm in error. I thought the whole reef was called the Potato Patch...sorry. I was wondering if there was a channel to the NW, when we saw a freighter move off in that direction the moring we left.
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post #22 of 62 Old 03-19-2008
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I was out there on Sunday in a Halyas 47, nice swell in the channel but not 15-18' as per the sea report. Maybe 8-10' if that, still exciting we lost the Genoa over the side after mechanical failyer and catching water. Steep waves and strong wind, with the ebb tide it was invigorating. Coming in with a skipper who is a well founded sailor, who showed what experience in the area really means. A number of other sailboats where coming in at the same time. With me at the wheel ,Greg had me head towards the Mile rock passing within less than 30 yards North
Once past the rock travel further south into the little bay. Tack north to the edge of the current tack and head south east to the southern pylon. I thought this was a no go area as per that boat that got caught inside but it is deceiving looking at the photos. Staying very close to the pylon the ebb tide was pushing us backwards, it’s a funny feeling sailing backwards, but with each swell we would move forward a little more coming out the other side, the rest of the fleet still battling to get through the gate.

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post #23 of 62 Old 03-19-2008
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Originally Posted by SimonV View Post
I was out there on Sunday in a Halyas 47, nice swell in the channel but not 15-18' as per the sea report. Maybe 8-10' if that, still exciting we lost the Genoa over the side after mechanical failyer and catching water. Steep waves and strong wind, with the ebb tide it was invigorating. Coming in with a skipper who is a well founded sailor, who showed what experience in the area really means. A number of other sailboats where coming in at the same time. With me at the wheel ,Greg had me head towards the Mile rock passing within less than 30 yards North
Once past the rock travel further south into the little bay. Tack north to the edge of the current tack and head south east to the southern pylon. I thought this was a no go area as per that boat that got caught inside but it is deceiving looking at the photos. Staying very close to the pylon the ebb tide was pushing us backwards, it’s a funny feeling sailing backwards, but with each swell we would move forward a little more coming out the other side, the rest of the fleet still battling to get through the gate.
Depending on the ebb, the tide can be ebbing in the center and still "flooding" at the edges. The reverse is also true. Just a factor of the currents, geography and the Bay floor. Did you go south of the tower? If there is going to be waves breaking anywhere right at the bridge, it will be there. Greg knows what he is doing.

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Last edited by bestfriend; 03-19-2008 at 03:34 AM.
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post #24 of 62 Old 03-19-2008
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There is always a reverse current in the area of Baker Beach. So if you are coming in against a strong ebb it makes sense to go into the bay and then gybe and run along the beach and coast to the Gate. The issue on breakers between the south tower and the shore is still there; and the current is strong in that area. If there is any kind of heavy swell coming into the mouth of the bay you should keep the south tower to your starboard when coming in.

It's possible Simon that the wave height appeared less because you were on a bigger boat; or if the swell was subsiding on Sunday it is possible that it was heavier than was predicted on Sat.

When we went out 2 weeks ago the swell was predicted 7-9 feet at ~12 seconds; but with a 3.5 kt ebb the swell was stacking up on the bar. We hit 10-12' swell between the bar and Pt Bonita, and could see steeper waves that had whitecaps on the Bar so we turned back and finished the day sailing the central bay. I've sailed steep waves like those before and it is more scary than fun.
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post #25 of 62 Old 03-19-2008
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Originally Posted by JiffyLube View Post
I was wondering if there was a channel to the NW, when we saw a freighter move off in that direction the moring we left.
There is; it's called Bonita Channel. It's between Potatopatch Shoal and Pt Bonita. You are ill advised to sail it if the swell is high because the area can have residual breakers from the bar and/or waves that could sweep you onto the lee shore.
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post #26 of 62 Old 03-19-2008
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Sixteen foot seas?! Half the length of the boat and they went out in that for a pleasure trip? Hell of a price to pay for a day of "fun".
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post #27 of 62 Old 03-19-2008
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Hartly,

That is the video I saw, thanks for finding it.

Paul T
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post #28 of 62 Old 03-19-2008
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Hartly,

That is the video I saw, thanks for finding it.

Paul T
No problem. It's scary stuff!

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post #29 of 62 Old 03-20-2008
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I add my sincere sympathies to the families and friends of these two lost soles. I hope that we can all learn from this event so as to be able to survive if we ever get caught out like they were. Given the relatively small amount and the nature of the debris that was found it seems pretty certain that Daisy got rolled and sank. The various comments here about the likely sea conditions in that area on that day confirm rolling/swamping as the mostly likely scenario. What I still can't quite work out is why Dr Gale or Tony Harrow couldn't raise a May Day alert. Dr Gale had just installed a new VHF radio and GPS system with a wireless remote control mic that could be activated from the cockpit. I can image that things happened very fast, but after an initial knockdown I would have thought they could have activated the radio or shot off some flares. I can only imagine that the hatch was open and water flooded the boat so quickly that they just didn't have time to react. Maybe the water shorted out the electrical system so the radio was defunct. We'll have the Coast Guard's report before too long, but I would like to here the thoughts of others in this forum as to what they think happened. Sail on, safely!
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post #30 of 62 Old 03-20-2008 Thread Starter
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I don't think the Coast Guard will have too much more to work with than anyone else, unless someone finds and dives or raises the Daisy to see how she sunk and where the water ingress was from (structural failure, hatch or companionway or cockpit locker open or failed, other--since they apparently found a fridge or icebox door in the debris, downflooding evidently happened). Whatever happened must've happened very fast or they'd have gotten a Mayday off, as bobmcd mentions above. And I gather they were last in fleet in worsening weather, so no one behind them to see it and maybe respond.

Speculation, and I'm not local, so I don't pretend to know much, though in a former life I was for a time a Coast Guard investigating officer.

Condolences again. Listening to those who knew them, these were two good and well-liked men.
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