One dead, four missing in Farallones sailboat race - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 74 Old 04-16-2012
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Re: One dead, four missing in Farallones sailboat race

Having sailed that race a few times, and rounded the Island several times, I can testify that the currents around the Rock are pretty vicious and unpredictable. If one gets too close, particularly on the northwest side of the Rock, it is easy to see one getting swept into the shallows where the sea will pound a boat to pieces in minutes. Pushing the 6 fathom line for a few seconds advantage makes no sense. I am saddened by the loss. I cannot imagine how the families must feel. Jeez--it was only a damned yacht race.
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post #22 of 74 Old 04-16-2012
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Re: One dead, four missing in Farallones sailboat race

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Originally Posted by rockDAWG View Post
I keep reminding myself:

1. Tethering tethering, tethering.
2. PLB standing by in the arm band

Considering these in the future during the rough sea especially at night
1. Wear a rock climbing helmet and harness
2. Wet suit
3. Disable the auto-inflate PDF
I'm not sure clipping in would have saved anyone, if the boat was rolled twice and pushed up onto the rocks...
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post #23 of 74 Old 04-16-2012
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Re: One dead, four missing in Farallones sailboat race

>I'm not sure clipping in would have saved anyone, if the boat was rolled twice and >pushed up onto the rocks...

It seems that the grounding happened as the boat tried to pick up the MOB. I can see some risks being taken or poor choices being made in the heat of the action there. Recovering tethered crew would be much quicker with less drifting toward the rocks.
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post #24 of 74 Old 04-16-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: One dead, four missing in Farallones sailboat race

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I'm not sure clipping in would have saved anyone, if the boat was rolled twice and pushed up onto the rocks...
Again, this is just guessing since there was no details released. During the first wave, if the crews (5) were tethered, it is unlikely to get washed overboard. It is unlikely the five slipped off from the harness.

The boat got rolled many times after her was abandoned. According to the news, the sail survives on the rock.



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post #25 of 74 Old 04-16-2012
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Re: One dead, four missing in Farallones sailboat race

Here is a video of the area. Not sure if is the actual race day or not but the rocks look like what I remember from a long way out:

Farallones1 - YouTube

It appears that they rounded the island from the north to the south putting the rocks on their lee side. If the second wave put them on the rocks they must have been pretty close.

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post #26 of 74 Old 04-16-2012
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Re: One dead, four missing in Farallones sailboat race

My sympathies to the family and friends...my deepest sympathies.

As a former resident of the Bay, and having lived for years in the Marin Headlands on the coast looking out toward the Farallones, I can attest to the incredible ferocity of the breaking waves in that area. It may be utterly clear that this vessel was rolled and grounded by a breaking wave close to shore, and that choice and responsibility rests with the captain, but this does not change the depth of sadness for him and for all involved. None of us are perfect at all times, and yet our bad choices often slip by without mortal consequences.

I don't know a sailor who doesn't have near miss stories, just as everyone who drives a car has near miss stories. Even those of us who are adamant about avoiding risk and putting odds in our favors, we have brushes with calamity.

I must say that for all the years I lived on the Marin coast and watched those waves pound the shore, I always imagined how truly hopeless and horrifying it would be to have a sailboat near enough to be caught in the wave and dashed on the rocks. It is an utterly powerless situation.

Those three who survived by being thrown up onto the rocks have a rare story to tell. The violence of that action is unimaginable, and they must have torn their bodies up in the act. They are supremely lucky.

My sympathies again, and none of us need reminding to avoid a lee shore in the surf zone. Remember, any boat of any design will be rolled 360 by a breaking wave equal to 1/3 her length on her beam. She was 38 feet, and so it only took a 13 foot wave.

Wish I could drop off flowers and attend a service for the whole Bay sailing community...

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post #27 of 74 Old 04-16-2012
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Re: One dead, four missing in Farallones sailboat race

To some of us:

Can't you refrain from pronouncing judgement about what they did "wrong" and how (in your opinion) it "never should have happened" until a couple of days have gone by and the dead have at least been recovered? Their families may very well read these comments.

"When there's an accident at sea, there are many wise men on shore". Let's show a little restraint, huh, until we know all of what actually happened?
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post #28 of 74 Old 04-16-2012
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Re: One dead, four missing in Farallones sailboat race

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Yeah, I just heard about them calling off the search. That seriously sucks. That poor skipper is going to be dealing with some very heavy stuff.

I'll be interested in the final report on this one. Being on the rocks in two wave strikes seems to indicate that they were cutting it close. But that seems to be the standard to a certain degree in this race according to others who do it:

That picture gives "Too close to a lee shore" a new meaning. What the H are they thinking?

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post #29 of 74 Old 04-16-2012
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Re: One dead, four missing in Farallones sailboat race

It will be interesting to hear from the surviving crew about whether there was a problem with their steering or other equipment that prevented them from avoiding the lee shore. Lord knows we all place complete faith in our boats and equipment at certain times, and pray to Poseidon that nothing breaks at the wrong moment. All it takes is one "snap" at the wrong time for close calls to become bad news.

It is deep in the psychology of all sailors to assess the risks of the activity, and to analyze mishaps by others to avoid them. It is in fact a very healthy thing most of the time, but I agree with the sentiment that only compassion seems appropriate now. Those poor families...

My two young sons are growing up sailing like was said of one of those men, and it is easy to suppose...
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post #30 of 74 Old 04-16-2012
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Re: One dead, four missing in Farallones sailboat race

How about having the race organizers establish some GPS waypoints located a "safe " distance from the lee shore? In addition to a big sea there is generally a pretty stiff north to south current to compound the danger. The above picture shows the boats a whole lot closer than I would want to be, especially the lead boat. Notice the big breaking sea just behind it. With AIS I think the racer's course could be easily monitored?

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