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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Bryan Chong's first hand recount of the Low Speed Chase tragedy
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Topic Review (Newest First)
08-17-2012 07:19 PM
rgscpat
Re: Bryan Chong's first hand recount of the Low Speed Chase tragedy

I do not think the US Coast Guard is quite as likely to dismiss the idea of a physical or virtual stand-off mark out of hand as "too burdensome". And if I were the USCG, "more education and awareness" would seem not a good enough answer. Also, I suspect that the organizing authorities might not have so much latitude in the future to water down the requirements for flotation equipment to where a professional skipper could be okay with a belt pack inflatable. And, it might not be surprising if wearing tethers became required under certain conditions.
-- As I understand it, the waves can refract part way around the Farallones, and do a certain amount of swirling and bouncing around the shallow areas, so that there is often not much of a lee shore. In other words, some of it is bad, and the rest is worse.
-- One thing that has not been addressed in the reports I've seen is whether the authorities might want to impose a no-go zone for racers on the basis of the Farallones being a marine sanctuary and critical marine habitat.
08-17-2012 05:03 PM
dabnis
Re: Bryan Chong's first hand recount of the Low Speed Chase tragedy

From Latitude 38: Latitude 38 - The West's Premier Sailing & Marine Magazine.

"It may seem early to be worrying about next year's ocean races, but one reader asked the question, so we sought out an answer. Paul Thomas wrote, "Just curious if there will be a 2013 Full Crew Farallones Race and if so, what restrictions, if any, will apply to the course layout?

We sent Paul's question to Andy Newell, President of the Ocean Yacht Racing Association, the charter organization that runs San Francisco's ocean races as part of the YRA. "At this point we plan to have a Full Crew Farallones Race in 2013," said Newell. "I don't foresee any course restrictions, but we may opt for a port only rounding like the other races there. I do expect there will be new training requirements, like US Sailing Safety at Sea seminars and skippers meetings as suggested in the report from US Sailing on the Low Speed Chase incident."

No mention of the CG's position on the above?

Paul T
08-09-2012 05:26 PM
sea_hunter
Quote:
Originally Posted by dabnis:907394
Here is a video of a Santa Cruz 50 going up the east side of the island. If I am seeing it correctly at about 4:15 they are going by the approximate spot where LSC was hit and shortly thereafter went on the rocks. At about 5:27 they round the north end of the island and are starting the downhill run home. In all the videos we have taken in the open ocean the videos don't show how rough it really was so, in my estimation this was a pretty rough day, although not unusual for that time of year.

Farallones Race | Sail Feed

Paul T
Actually it wasn't that rough and this is normal this time of year in the area. The skiff of chop on the surface of the swell is from a change in wind direct; a sign the weather is changing. What you don't see unless you look very carefully at the horizon shot, is the range of the swell. That's what got them as close to shore the swell becomes like a big fist and the only way out is horsepower, which unfortunately, a sailboat lacks.
08-09-2012 12:52 PM
dabnis
Re: Bryan Chong's first hand recount of the Low Speed Chase tragedy

Here is a video of a Santa Cruz 50 going up the east side of the island. If I am seeing it correctly at about 4:15 they are going by the approximate spot where LSC was hit and shortly thereafter went on the rocks. At about 5:27 they round the north end of the island and are starting the downhill run home. In all the videos we have taken in the open ocean the videos don't show how rough it really was so, in my estimation this was a pretty rough day, although not unusual for that time of year.

Farallones Race | Sail Feed

Paul T
08-09-2012 09:52 AM
sea_hunter
Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor:907077
"Is anyone familiar with the spot? Would it have been possible for someone to come up behind and get ashore on the lee of that island and walk over to see if they could do anything from the shore?"

smurph, you've missed a few posts and not read the appendix of the report, have you?

Those who know the area say it is dangerous, period. The appendix of the report makes it look like a great place to get hurt, from any angle.

Even an armchair quarterback knows a hundred-yard pass into a headwind ain't gonna happen.
Again this is a place to keep away from. Anybody having experience with Pacific swells knows a small chunk of rock becomes a butt puckering experience. I did not check the swell report for that day (a NOAA service normally used by surfers) but the weather report supports large, long swells. I've seen swells here 20-30' by 1/4 to 1/2 mile long mostly with a slow rise, building quickly as the waters shallow. After a good blow, swells up to 50' by a mile long are not uncommon depending on tide and depth. When they get close to shore they sometimes draw water away from shore something like the way a tidal wave works. There is no way you can fight this tidal effect in a boat unless the power to weight ratio is high. The CG practices touch and goes in ribs but is an extremely dangerous maneuver. Landing on the Farallons is risky at the best of times and even heaving to would leave you a mile or more off shore of the islands and close to commercial traffic lanes, a very risky and almost useless position to stand watch.
08-08-2012 07:31 PM
dabnis
Re: Bryan Chong's first hand recount of the Low Speed Chase tragedy

Quote:
Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
That is a harrowing (and extensive) report. The awful communications failures are something that can be addressed in the future. BUT, how can anyone be wearing a freaking belt pack preserver in an offshore race with 25 knot winds and 20' seas??? How is it that only one person had a tether attached to his harness? How is it that no one was checking depth? No one looking seaward (in the previous video as well)??? In the responses of sailors, it seems there was sloppiness virtually everywhere as if the whole culture of this race is rather nonchalant. Bet it won't be next year.
Will there be one next year? Anyone know, and if so, what will be the requirements?

Paul T
08-08-2012 06:12 PM
smurphny
Re: Bryan Chong's first hand recount of the Low Speed Chase tragedy

That is a harrowing (and extensive) report. The awful communications failures are something that can be addressed in the future. BUT, how can anyone be wearing a freaking belt pack preserver in an offshore race with 25 knot winds and 20' seas??? How is it that only one person had a tether attached to his harness? How is it that no one was checking depth? No one looking seaward (in the previous video as well)??? In the responses of sailors, it seems there was sloppiness virtually everywhere as if the whole culture of this race is rather nonchalant. Bet it won't be next year.
08-08-2012 05:20 PM
dabnis
Re: Bryan Chong's first hand recount of the Low Speed Chase tragedy

Although this thread is about sailboat racing here are a couple of links about the Farallones.
The first one has an interesting video, a little bit long, but informative:

Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association protecting our ocean wilderness through public stewardship


Paul T
08-08-2012 04:55 PM
smurphny
Re: Bryan Chong's first hand recount of the Low Speed Chase tragedy

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
"Is anyone familiar with the spot? Would it have been possible for someone to come up behind and get ashore on the lee of that island and walk over to see if they could do anything from the shore?"

smurph, you've missed a few posts and not read the appendix of the report, have you?

Those who know the area say it is dangerous, period. The appendix of the report makes it look like a great place to get hurt, from any angle.

Even an armchair quarterback knows a hundred-yard pass into a headwind ain't gonna happen.
Yeah, you're right. I have not been following this thread for a while and just leafed through quickly today. Will have to read the report. The newest overhead pix make it look very nasty. Getting anywhere NEAR that white water is nuts. I would not choose to venture very close, certainly no where even remotely near that break. One of the pix does seem to show a spot around the back side where a boat could conceivably hold in the lee and send someone ashore but I'll bet no one even had a dink since they were racing.

I've been wondering what has become of the Ensenada accident. I thought the CG was going to issue a finding.
08-08-2012 04:32 PM
dabnis
Re: Bryan Chong's first hand recount of the Low Speed Chase tragedy

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
"Is anyone familiar with the spot? Would it have been possible for someone to come up behind and get ashore on the lee of that island and walk over to see if they could do anything from the shore?"

smurph, you've missed a few posts and not read the appendix of the report, have you?

Those who know the area say it is dangerous, period. The appendix of the report makes it look like a great place to get hurt, from any angle.

Even an armchair quarterback knows a hundred-yard pass into a headwind ain't gonna happen.
To the best of my knowledge the ONLY way to get ashore without dying is in a basket lift located at the research building south of where LSC went aground. From pictures, as I have not been on the island, it looks very steep and rocky.
Maybe, in dead flat calm conditions in the fall, one could get ashore but other than talking to someone, I doubt that anything could be done . When commercial fishing in that area we always stood well away, scary place.

Paul T

Paul T
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