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This tragic accident happened last night in Redwood City. Tried to attach a link but I don't have enough posts. You can find the story by goggling "Bella Sequoia Yacht Club". I was wondering if any NorCal sailors more plugged into the scene than I am, had any more info about how this happened. One general news article seemed to imply that the shrouds some how got caught on the channel buoy, another story said it was ramming the buoy which snapped the mast. I was actually attending my first beer car race at another club last night. As a newbie guest "rail meat" grinder, it was good hair on fire 20 knot wind fun but being as I'm no longer a kid and have some sense of my own mortality, this incident has given me pause about attending any more beer can races with skippers and on boats that I don't know a lot about.
 

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One of my colleagues happened to be in that race. The news report was not quite right – the skipper/owner was uninjured. The injury and fatality were to crewmembers. The rest of the report is pretty straight forward. This was a “Beer can” race. Apparently, the 42 clipped a day shape marker with a leeward shroud causing the rig to go down. My friend surmised that their vision could have been blocked by their sails, causing them to stray too close to the marker. The markers in Westport Slough and the Redwood City approaches are pretty tall. They had their “standard” 25kt evening breeze blowing which causes a lot of heeling which might have been a contributing factor. I was told that the skipper was a very safe and conscientious sailor. It is a sad and tragic accident.
 

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美国华人, 帆船
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Thanks for the link.

This type of news is always hard to hear this. My heart goes out to the family of Son. :(
 

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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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As rail meat sometimes myself, I understand your concerns, but it might be good to wait until the CG has done a more thorough analysis than rely on what gets reported in the news and social media. Vetting the competency of your skipper is never a bad idea, but it might not be too helpful to speculate on this case, and it could have been an experienced skipper in an extremely unfortunate situation. My condolences to all involved. As to the races, in general, my guess is that there are hundreds of boats rounding the buoys on the bay on any given weekend, year-round. Very, very, very few people die. So driving to the grocery store is still inherently more dangerous. Have fun. Stay safe.
 

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美国华人, 帆船
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but being as I'm no longer a kid and have some sense of my own mortality, this incident has given me pause about attending any more beer can races with skippers and on boats that I don't know a lot about.
As I see it, every sport has its risk. If my time is up, I will go. But I am not going out my way to kill myself to prove that my time is not up yet.

Just use common sense, trust your instinct and go out enjoy something that you have passion of doing it. Really, that is all we can do. :)
 

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What do you guys mean by "beer can regatta"?

Its not a stupid question as we, in Australia, have them... Boats made of beer cans. But your look different. Where does the beer can come into it?

Ours are fun but only held in knee deep water.
 

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My understanding is - you drink beer... it's a less serious race than a weekend regatta would be. Also shorter, just a fun evening's sail around the buoys. I used to do a series in Newport Beach, CA that was actually held within a fairly tight harbor.
 

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"Beer Can" race is slang for lower level racing, less serious racing, or however you want to define more casual and less rock-starish. I think the term originated in racing for a 6-pack instead of a trophy or perhaps drinking beer during the race.
 

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Yes, informal afterwork races ending with beer and BBQ burgers at the club. A lot of pickup crews and a great way to get into racing in a no pressure environment. I know some clubs who don't even keep track of the standings. The vernacular was the turning marks are the discarded beer cans. We use real beer cans (bud) as marks in our quarter scale RC laser races. OYC does a Sunday morning "brunch" series. Same general concept but breakfast afterwards.
 

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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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In most boats I've been on, beer is generally not involved until we are back at the dock or are drifting and the race is near its end. In my mind, beer can races are mostly short courses that run each week over a couple of months. The regattas are one-time affairs that seem to be longer in distance, but could also include the same marks. For larger boats that typically sail SF Bay, the "beer can marks" could be channel markers and they're seriously sturdy in case a tanker bumps them. A plastic boat is no match for them, though everyone has a tendency to get pretty close. Here's a link to a spinnaker wrapped around the tower buoy for Anita Rock. I don't know the back story for why he was there because this is not a rounding mark; it delineates a no-go zone for racing boats near the shoreline: Spinnaker problems: Going from bad to worse >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News. S**t happens, but it's usually only fiberglass and egos damaged...
 

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One of my colleagues happened to be in that race. The news report was not quite right – the skipper/owner was uninjured. The injury and fatality were to crewmembers. The rest of the report is pretty straight forward. This was a “Beer can” race. Apparently, the 42 clipped a day shape marker with a leeward shroud causing the rig to go down. My friend surmised that their vision could have been blocked by their sails, causing them to stray too close to the marker. The markers in Westport Slough and the Redwood City approaches are pretty tall. They had their “standard” 25kt evening breeze blowing which causes a lot of heeling which might have been a contributing factor. I was told that the skipper was a very safe and conscientious sailor. It is a sad and tragic accident.
As a member of the club, and knowing the skipper, George B hit it pretty well spot-on AFAIK. The exact details are not yet available, and I can't give much more detail (my boat is awaiting a new traveller, so I was shorebound). It wasn't overly windy - fairly typical for us; small ebb tide, and as usual they had beat up the channel. As soon as it happened, nearby boats dropped sails and came over to lend assistance.

Bella is a beautiful boat, well cared for, and the skipper is indeed a conscientious sailor - not at all an aggressive racer, and a really nice guy. It was a tragic accident for all involved - the family, the skipper and the club - with the first time we have had a serious injury (let alone fatality) in 75 years. To be honest we're all in shock.
 

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Old as Dirt!
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The "Beer Can" reference arises from the tradition in informal club races where the "trophy" for a win is a free can of beer for the winning boat/crew at the club bar after the race. Such informal races are normally low pressure events where Corinthian rules of sailing govern and everyone celebrates the winner.

Frankly, in situations where marks are fixed objects, and particularly where they present a hazard in the event of a collision, one crew needs be assigned the duty of spotter and positioned with a clear view, preferably near the bows, to call range and bearings to marks and crossing boats to the helmsman. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be too common a practice in informal races any longer.

FWIW...
 
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