Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Re: One dead, four missing in Farallones sailboat race
I am deeply saddened about this loss within our sailing community. We, as sailors choose to pursue an advocation that involves inherent risk. We each do what we can to minimize that risk to a level which is acceptable to ourselves as individuals.
As newcomers to sailing it is easy to under-estimate the risk and as old sea dogs it is easy to become a little complacient. It is events like this which remind us of our mortality and humanity. It is at moments like this that the closeness of the fraternity/sorority of sailing becomes all so very obvious, as we each deal with the pathos of the loss of our brothers and sister seafarers. All too often there is a rush to judgement when something tragic occurs. I agree with the sentiments of those above who suggest that we give pause to mourn the loss before we call the court of public opinion into session to condemn the survivors.
At this point there is a lot of missing information about what happened. And even above there appears to be a fair amount of misinformation, at least as compared to the more detailed reports that I had seen. There seems to be an assumption that Low-Speed-Chase had ventured too close to the rocks when the initial incident occurred. At this point, I have not seen anything which confirms that to be true. The more detailed report that I had seen, described fairly large (15 or so feet), breaking waves which were inconsistent in direction and size. The descriptions that I have seen suggests that 4 or 5 of the crew were thrown overboard when the boat was rolled onto beam ends by a larger than usual wave. They were all wearing life jackets, nothing was said one way or the other about harnesses or teathers.
The remaining crew turned back to try to recover the MOB's and in doing so were rolled by another wave, which drove them into a rock. What seems clear is that the three crewman on board risked their own lives to try to recover the crew who were washed over and in doing so apparently were driven into the rocks. There probably will be a lot more to this than the scimpy details released so. So at this point, it would seem to me that the evidence is way too scant for the self-appointed jury of the court of public opinion to deliver a meaningful verdict.
As in almost any disaster there may be insights and lessons to be learned. The best memorial to our fallen compatriots may be to attempt to make a good faith effort to learn from thier loss to help prevent similar future losses without trying to cast unsupported blame.
May the those who were lost, rest in peace, and may their families and friends find comfort.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay
Last edited by Jeff_H; 04-16-2012 at 05:24 PM.