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  #41  
Old 04-25-2012
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Re: Bryan Chong's first hand recount of the Low Speed Chase tragedy

Quote:
Originally Posted by KeelHaulin View Post
It is more dangerous. It is a form of racing. People push the limits of their equipment and endurance. Everyone who is a competitive sailor knows that there is increased risk of injury involved. But the question is; what is avoidable? Does it make sense to require jackets/harnesses/tethers/jacklines; yet not have a layline boundary (or depth contour boundary) at the SE Farallone north shore? This accident -might- be understandable if the boat were further offshore and suffered some sort of failure like the rudder post shearing; but to be struck by a 'large set' breaking wave makes this tragedy senseless.

If accidents like this continue to happen be prepared for people outside of the sailing community to start looking for ways to restrict the freedom of sailors to race their boats (like the USCG not issuing event permits). I don't think anyone wants that so the best thing to do is to make some changes within the racing sailing organizations to ensure that senseless tragedies like this are avoided as much as possible in the future.
Agree, have never raced sailboats, but raced off-road motorcycles for 30 years. Two similar concepts, the "throttle" is adjustable and racing is voluntary. After many, many trips over the handlebars I finally learned to take a little more responsibility for my own actions. To each his own. As I mentioned earlier, GPS waypoints are simple and could provide safety without compromising the "racing".

Paul T
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  #42  
Old 04-25-2012
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Re: Bryan Chong's first hand recount of the Low Speed Chase tragedy

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Originally Posted by KeelHaulin View Post
Smack-

I'm not trolling for an argument. Just wanted to add a little more perspective. I don't disagree that in racing accidents can happen resulting in injury or even death; but in the case of comparing this to a NASCAR event or other racing sport, can you recall a recent event where 5 people in race cars were killed because someone cut a corner too tight or took too big of a risk?
No worries Keel, I absolutely agree. This is definitely a major difference where crew are involved. So the analogies only hold up so far.
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  #43  
Old 04-25-2012
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Re: Bryan Chong's first hand recount of the Low Speed Chase tragedy

I would like to echo Jeff H remarks and thank Bryon for having the courage to post, His heartfelt feelings and honesty were apparent. I am not sure if I would have the ability to be so circumsopect about such an event and have the ability to gather my emotions to write such an accurate descriptive account. My heart goers out to the sailors who perished doing what the loved and their families who they left behind...alone without them ever again.

There are times when despite my fourty years of sailing, ocean passages, amateur racing I know this is the place and time to just shut up.

To those of you so called experts, Monday morning quarterbacks, naysayers and sailing icons in your own minds who want to comment and pass judgement on this incident have some decency to the dead...start another post. Let this posting remain for those who want to comment to Bryan and offer condolences and god speed.

Newport...thank you for posting.

To the crew of the Low Spped Chase...god bless you all for chasing your dream. Those of you who did not return may you have fair winds and following seas. For those who survived, always keep your commraides in your heart and mind. You did nothing wrong and deserve to be here.

Dave
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  #44  
Old 04-25-2012
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Re: Bryan Chong's first hand recount of the Low Speed Chase tragedy

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Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
To those of you so called experts, Monday morning quarterbacks, naysayers and sailing icons in your own minds who want to comment and pass judgement on this incident have some decency to the dead...start another post. Let this posting remain for those who want to comment to Bryan and offer condolences and god speed.
Chef, chill out. Read this part of Bryan's letter again:

Quote:
Safety lessons shouldn’t have to be learned the hard way.

Hopefully this incident will spur a wider discussion on sailboat safety.
Personally, I refuse to get on the "they should have known better" or "I would never have X" throne, but I certainly think talking about this stuff - in this very thread - is exactly what Bryan intended.
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  #45  
Old 04-25-2012
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Re: Bryan Chong's first hand recount of the Low Speed Chase tragedy

"Sailboat racing is a slow speed game - it doesn't have to be any more inherently dangerous than any form of going to sea is."
No, Jon, I have to disagree. If you are racing, as opposed to just putzing around the beercans having some fun, it is inherently more dangerous.
Examples? A 3-day race was predicted with 5mph winds and gorgeous wx to start, but overnight because 4-8 seas and 40 knots. Half the fleet chose not to start, the rest of us went out in wx we never would have pleasure sailed in. Oh, and two of the three newscopters covering the start, stayed grounded instead. Copter#3 had such a rough ride, they didn't get any video coverage at all.
That's racing. You go out when it will be hard work and the safety factors are way thinner.
Or, the casual everyday race on a Saturday afternoon. Can we cross ahead of that tug? If we can clear it by fifty yards, go, let the rest of the fleet fall behind it. Casual sailing? Hell no, you give him a quarter mile of clear intents.
Crossing another boat? Racing? "Sufficient room" means you can drop a playing card between the boats and it will fall through. You'd never call that adequate safety unless you were racing and among other racers who expected the same.

Are your fuel tanks full? Not if you're racing. Fuel is heavy, it slows you down, you figure out how much you'll need, figure a thin safety margin, and don't carry a pint more.

Got an extra set of clean dry clothes aboard? In case someone gets wet and goes hypothermic? Maybe not, if you're racing, because those extras slow you down.

And if you say, well, you don't HAVE TO cut those safety margins to be racing? Yeah, you do. Heavy is slow and slow is just putzing around. Which may be plenty of fun--but it ain't racing.

Me? No, I'm not a racer. I have raced, I find the volume usually is too loud, the TypeA's with big bucks for the serious titanium hardware and new sails every week are a joy to behold. Even better from a distance. I'll putz around the beercans once in a while if a friend needs crew, but racing is indeed a deadly serious game.

You think any of those boats would have been so close to a rocky lee shore if they hadn't been taking the shortest course? If they hadn't been racing? That's how the game is played, and unlike video games, the ones in the real world sometimes bite back.

Getting out of bed in the morning can be dangerous too. Ever had to check your boots to make sure there were no scorpions in them, before you could walk over ot the loo? But racers know the risks, or should know the risks, and that's a choice to be made with freedom. If you want to play something safe, try golf. Wear a helmet, and don't play through lightning. Even with that and the occasional gopher hole or snake in the grass, that's inherently much safer than racing. Of any kind.
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Last edited by hellosailor; 04-25-2012 at 06:09 PM.
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  #46  
Old 04-25-2012
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Re: Bryan Chong's first hand recount of the Low Speed Chase tragedy

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor;863290
You think any of those boats would have been so close to a rocky lee shore if they hadn't been taking the shortest course? If they hadn't been [I
racing[/I]? That's how the game is played, and unlike video games, the ones in the real world sometimes bite back.
Nothing related to LSC.

I constantly remind my son who is a rocket scientist when he is out with his friends. Pleasure is short lived, Injury and death are permanent. Take control, speak up or step out if you must.
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  #47  
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Re: Bryan Chong's first hand recount of the Low Speed Chase tragedy

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockDAWG View Post
X100. I hope the sailing committees around the around world will act upon this tragedy to improve the safety requirement and awareness of their racers.

1. Tethering and properly fitted life vest and harness
2. Crouch strap
3. PBL, automatic strobes
4. Automatic sea dye marker

With all due respect, this tragedy would not have happened.
Sorry, but I strongly disagree...

How is some "committee" best able to determine how and when an individual sailor should be tethered, for example, in any and every situation? In last summer's Chigago-Mackinac tragedy, we witnessed a pretty strong argument in favor of potentially NOT being tethered in an event of similar suddeness and violence... Why can't these decisions be left to the sailors themselves?

I think to assume unequivocally that this incident "should never have happened" is, frankly, a bit naive... It's the very nature of this race, it can involve some pretty serious risk, sailing through some dangerous real estate in typically strong conditions... Certainly, they would have been better off giving the island a wider berth, but I'm still more inclined to file this one under the heading of "Sometimes, Sh*t Happens"... and rather than necessarily being an example of poor seamanship or judgement, perhaps better described as a heavy dose of bad luck, and simply being in the wrong place, at the wrong time...

I liken such a rounding of a lee shore to running an inlet in marginal conditions... You can stand off for as long as you want, observing the pattern of the swell, to best pick your moment... But, at some point, you've got to make the decision to go, and give it a shot...

And sometimes, such a move will backfire on even the most experienced of sailors... Events and conditions simply coincide to conspire against them, despite their best efforts and judgement, "LUCK" was not in their favor at that moment, and a wave train not previously observed or anticipated happened to arrive precisely as they were crossing the bar...

After sitting off St Lucie Inlet one day 25 years ago, observing the rather benign long-period swell pattern for over 30 minutes, I happened to chose such a moment to begin my transit... I wound up being in precisely the wrong place, at the wrong time, and a much larger set than previously experienced arrived, literally "out of nowhere"...

"Sh*t Happened", bigtime ... And to this day, that's the reason I'm skeptical about putting pretty picture windows in the transoms of Taiwanese boats... (grin)

Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug... Any sailor who cannot accept that reality of going to sea, or thinks some freakin' safety committee can ensure the avoidance of the unexpected, is better advised to remain comfortably seated in front of a nice, warm hearth...
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Last edited by JonEisberg; 04-25-2012 at 06:30 PM.
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  #48  
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Re: Bryan Chong's first hand recount of the Low Speed Chase tragedy

With great respect for the crew of LSC, and for the grace of Bryon, it may be appropriate to remember the words of Patton who wanted to die by the last bullet of the last battle of the last war. May God bless them all.
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  #49  
Old 04-25-2012
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Re: Bryan Chong's first hand recount of the Low Speed Chase tragedy

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
"Sailboat racing is a slow speed game - it doesn't have to be any more inherently dangerous than any form of going to sea is."
No, Jon, I have to disagree. If you are racing, as opposed to just putzing around the beercans having some fun, it is inherently more dangerous.
Examples? A 3-day race was predicted with 5mph winds and gorgeous wx to start, but overnight because 4-8 seas and 40 knots. Half the fleet chose not to start, the rest of us went out in wx we never would have pleasure sailed in. Oh, and two of the three newscopters covering the start, stayed grounded instead. Copter#3 had such a rough ride, they didn't get any video coverage at all.
That's racing. You go out when it will be hard work and the safety factors are way thinner.
Or, the casual everyday race on a Saturday afternoon. Can we cross ahead of that tug? If we can clear it by fifty yards, go, let the rest of the fleet fall behind it. Casual sailing? Hell no, you give him a quarter mile of clear intents.
Crossing another boat? Racing? "Sufficient room" means you can drop a playing card between the boats and it will fall through. You'd never call that adequate safety unless you were racing and among other racers who expected the same.

Are your fuel tanks full? Not if you're racing. Fuel is heavy, it slows you down, you figure out how much you'll need, figure a thin safety margin, and don't carry a pint more.

Got an extra set of clean dry clothes aboard? In case someone gets wet and goes hypothermic? Maybe not, if you're racing, because those extras slow you down.

And if you say, well, you don't HAVE TO cut those safety margins to be racing? Yeah, you do. Heavy is slow and slow is just putzing around. Which may be plenty of fun--but it ain't racing.

Me? No, I'm not a racer. I have raced, I find the volume usually is too loud, the TypeA's with big bucks for the serious titanium hardware and new sails every week are a joy to behold. Even better from a distance. I'll putz around the beercans once in a while if a friend needs crew, but racing is indeed a deadly serious game.

You think any of those boats would have been so close to a rocky lee shore if they hadn't been taking the shortest course? If they hadn't been racing? That's how the game is played, and unlike video games, the ones in the real world sometimes bite back.

Getting out of bed in the morning can be dangerous too. Ever had to check your boots to make sure there were no scorpions in them, before you could walk over ot the loo? But racers know the risks, or should know the risks, and that's a choice to be made with freedom. If you want to play something safe, try golf. Wear a helmet, and don't play through lightning. Even with that and the occasional gopher hole or snake in the grass, that's inherently much safer than racing. Of any kind.
I'm a fan of all sorts of mechanized racing and I know exactly what you are saying but there's a difference between competitiveness and plain old irresponsibility and poor seamanship - the ocean don't know yer racin'. Your comment about the tug falls under the "completely irresponsible" category - how the hell does the tug skipper know what you are doing? You're just another incompetent Sunday afternoon jerk to him. There was a vid posted recently of a racer getting run down by a freighter in the Solent that was exactly that situation. AFAIAC they (the sailboat) should have suffered criminal sanctions - it was a miracle no-one was killed.

I've heard the same "but they were racing" in reference to the carnage the round the world racers suffer in the Southern Ocean - they're mighty quick to call the Aussie navy when their "racing margins" don't quite make it and their keel falls off or their rig comes down - Isabelle Autissier did it TWICE - expecting them to risk THEIR lives & equipment to save her a$$ when those "playing card" margins weren't quite good enough.

Simply unacceptable.
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  #50  
Old 04-25-2012
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Re: Bryan Chong's first hand recount of the Low Speed Chase tragedy

Just by the by, what exactly is "The Potato Patch"? I've seen references to it before but they always assumed the reader knew what it was.
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