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Wide-open discussion of the loss of Low Speed Chase


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#101 sail_like_a_girl

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:03 PM

Apart from the name-calling BS in this thread I have actually learned something about safety so thanks to the posters who are trying to put ideas out there.

I'm not a huge fan of sailing off-shore (ridiculously prone to seasickness...) But this story makes me think about my own experience, when after just getting into the sport, I started preparing my boat for going off-shore.

A couple of years ago, an SF Bay webcam caught some footage of a Moore 24 sailor being dragged while on a tether approaching the GG Bridge in the conclusion of a double handed distance race. Not sure if that footage is still around but I remember being shocked by the display of force from the boat speed through the water and the drag of the sailor's body (note: the sailor survived the incident). At the time, I owned a keelboat that occasionally went out the Gate to compete in races to the Lightship (about half-way to the Faralones). After watching that video, I immediately went to West Marine (at the time, it was my go-to store for Marine supplies - like I said, I was new to the sport...) and upgraded all of my tethers to have quick release snap shackles.

The suggestions here about personal EPIRBs and Locator Beacons is a very valid discussion. If I were to ever do that kind of sailing again, I would make sure my crew was fully locatable as individuals.

I also think sailing with a very sharp knife that is safely able to be open with one hand is a critical tool to have with you at all times. There are plenty of knives at chandlery's but there are few that are truly easy to open. if someone knows of one, can you please post a link to it here?

May the lost sailors RIP. I am one sailor from San Francisco who will carry the knowledge of this tragic event on with me and will remember Alexis, Alan, Elmer, Jordon, and Marc if I ever go off shore.

#102 doggone

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:04 PM

Most race entries require skippers to sign a waiver of liability that includes a statement that it is the responsibility of each boat's skipper to make the decision to start or continue a race. Despite the litigious society we live in, I think it would be a shame to change the course of this race as it would be for any event that has been held since 1907 and that presents a challenge that the vast majority of competitors have hurdled over many years.

#103 coyotepup

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:16 PM

I think it is possible to respectfully discuss an accident/incident like this, safety equipment and means of avoiding future adverse events. It is done all the time in other similar puruits like recreational aviation, skiing, moutaineering, motorcycle/car racing, etc.. Are they being insensitive when they blame pilot error and detail specifics for nearly every crash?

After a thorough investigation? No. 24 hours after hearing of the incident, living 1,000+ miles away and never having seen the condition or the location in question let alone raced them? You bet your ass it's insensitive.

(P.S. not accusing you, but there are some.)

#104 coyotepup

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:25 PM

I also think sailing with a very sharp knife that is safely able to be open with one hand is a critical tool to have with you at all times. There are plenty of knives at chandlery's but there are few that are truly easy to open. if someone knows of one, can you please post a link to it here?

Funny you should ask. I just got a brand-new knife after spending a semi-frustrating day looking for one both in stores and online. I had three simple and non-negotiable criteria:

- Had to be one-handed easy-open.

- Had to have a clip or a bail or something so I could tie a lanyard or a shackle or a carabiner or something to it and attach it to my harness.

- Had to have a partly serrated edge for cutting through any kind of line.

The one thing I learned is that it's ridiculous how few knives have all of these features. Certainly not at West Marine or any of the other boating stores around here. Eventually I found this one, have a look. I can't testify to its usefulness on the job yet since I only got it last week, but it does open very easily, that much I know. Has a safety just like a gun safety so it locks open and shut. Lots of other knives if that one doesn't float your boat.

#105 amperrin

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:32 PM

[/quote]

Thanks and sincere condolences on the loss of Harvey in DHF 1999.
I think we need to add more education on wave refraction and how the waves add from different directions. I hear too much about bad luck or sneakers or roque waves. In the area of these islands- its guaranteed that waves will combine in unusual ways- its not a question of if but when and if you happened to be there. The further you stand off, the better it is. You know that.

waves
[/quote]

Great link - a picture says a 1000 words.

A book I read recently called the Wave will make you a little more wary as well. It is written by the same author as Devils Teeth (about the FI)

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean Susan Casey

#106 amolitor

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:34 PM

It's nice to say that we'll remember the victims, and in a way we will. For those of us who didn't know any of them, we'll remember them as 'one of those farallones things.. remember that? Was it an express? No, I think a Sydney, right?' and it'll blur together with all the other ones, because there are lots of other ones, and there will be more. Those of you who with a more personal connection to the victims, you'll remember them forever, but most of us won't.

Whenever something like this happens, people always say 'this race hasn't seen a fatality since <date>' or never, or whatever. This is a transparent effort to make ourselves feel safer and better. People get killed in the Gulf every single year. People get killed racing sailboats in the Gulf every couple of years, and it's a rare year that goes by that someone doesn't have a lucky escape. There's a lot of races, so we can pretend that it's safer than it is by looking, each time, only at the one race in hand.

It'd bloody dangerous out there, people.

#107 us7070

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:35 PM

Here is the device I was talking about.

http://nautiluslifeline.com/

It is a DSC enabled VHF in a small protective shell.

It is designed for scuba divers to take underwater, so it should be pretty waterproof.

A DSC device sounds an audible alarm on any DSC enabled VHF receiver within range, and displays the MOB's lat/lon on the receivers display.

the MOB can also use it as a normal VHF for voice communication.

Posted Image

#108 amperrin

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:36 PM

Think some folks are looking for this link?
http://www.briartek.com/products-services/orca-transmitters/orcadsc
A little better than just a DSC VHF as it also signals on 121.5 . . .


My PLB has 406 and 121.5 so that is covered on the PLB.
The DSC VHF covers boats without AIS recievers or 121.5 recievers

Keep the suggestions coming though everyone as there are so many products out there and seeing as I have been 'out of touch' for the last 20 months I am sure there are some good ones I would love to know about.

#109 casc27

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:37 PM

I really hat ethose "rouge" waves. I prefer mine with just eyeliner and lipstick.

1334692978[/url]' post='3676627']
Tethers are made with a quick release. Bottom line is that the boat is still there, but bodies are not. Wear your tether.


If you want to be tied on then tie on..if that makes YOU feel safe...number one when out in the ocean SHIT HAPPENS..so you are tied on and a rouge wave knocks your boat on it ear...you fall in and can't release your line...you think quick release? Hop in a pool with a weight on the other end of your line..and see how fast you can release that quick release..And when are you going to be to safe? Just like the OSHA cowboy? If you want to be safe...don't go near any body of water..not even that bathtub...



#110 TQA

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:46 PM


I also think sailing with a very sharp knife that is safely able to be open with one hand is a critical tool to have with you at all times. There are plenty of knives at chandlery's but there are few that are truly easy to open. if someone knows of one, can you please post a link to it here?

Funny you should ask. I just got a brand-new knife after spending a semi-frustrating day looking for one both in stores and online. I had three simple and non-negotiable criteria:

- Had to be one-handed easy-open.

- Had to have a clip or a bail or something so I could tie a lanyard or a shackle or a carabiner or something to it and attach it to my harness.

- Had to have a partly serrated edge for cutting through any kind of line.

The one thing I learned is that it's ridiculous how few knives have all of these features. Certainly not at West Marine or any of the other boating stores around here. Eventually I found this one, have a look. I can't testify to its usefulness on the job yet since I only got it last week, but it does open very easily, that much I know. Has a safety just like a gun safety so it locks open and shut. Lots of other knives if that one doesn't float your boat.


You might like to have a look at the sort of knife that parachutists/paraglider pilots routinely carry to cutaway their main wing before deploying their reserve. Does not need to be opened.


http://www.paragear....oup=510&level=1

Attached Files



#111 amperrin

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:46 PM

I also think sailing with a very sharp knife that is safely able to be open with one hand is a critical tool to have with you at all times. There are plenty of knives at chandlery's but there are few that are truly easy to open. if someone knows of one, can you please post a link to it here?


I have a SOG Seal Pup attached to my harness it has the added advantage of scaring the guys :-)In all seriousness I don't have to open it so one less action. But any diving knife would do the trick you can get ones with a rounded off end if you are worried about causing accidental harm to yourself. We always have a divers knife strapped to the binnacle or the helm on the boat as well.

#112 Ahi Tuna

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:50 PM

I think as we engage in this discussion about LSC and safety that it might be helpful for those not already exposed to it to review our Minimum Equipment List for all ocean races under OYRA. OYRA MEL (the web link says 2006 but the MEL went through an extensive review in 2010 for our 2011 season).

Stuff like harnesses, crotch straps, tethers (with quick release) and knives are all covered here.

I am certainly not asking for you to scrutinize the MEL line by line and take this discussion down that path but I think knowing what is already in place saves time.

This document is primarily the ISAF Category 2 Offshore Special Regulations with US Sailing prescriptions and a few local prescriptions.

If you are a local ocean racer you should already be familiar with it. The skippers had better be since they are required to sign off that their boat meets all requirements before each and every race and the crew should be since it is there to help protect them.

#113 us7070

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:51 PM

has anyone tried to cut through a tether?

i have a feeling it would not be so easy while being dragged behind a boat, or held under water...

i think you might have to saw it a bit, so i wonder if one of those kite/parachute line cutters would work.

might be a good subject for a test, if anyone has a few old ones they no longer need.

try cutting one with different devices..., skip the towing part..., and put it on youtube.

#114 casc27

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 04:00 PM

has anyone tried to cut through a tether?

i have a feeling it would not be so easy while being dragged behind a boat, or held under water...

i think you might have to saw it a bit, so i wonder if one of those kite/parachute line cutters would work.

might be a good subject for a test, if anyone has a few old ones they no longer need.

try cutting one with different devices..., skip the towing part..., and put it on youtube.



That would be an interesting test. I'd suggest trying it both under load and slack or with minimal load). Lines and webbing materials will react differently to cutting efforts due to the load on the line or webbing.

#115 Ahi Tuna

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 04:04 PM

has anyone tried to cut through a tether?

i have a feeling it would not be so easy while being dragged behind a boat, or held under water...

i think you might have to saw it a bit, so i wonder if one of those kite/parachute line cutters would work.

might be a good subject for a test, if anyone has a few old ones they no longer need.

try cutting one with different devices..., skip the towing part..., and put it on youtube.


You don't even need to trash an old tether. The webbing used to make them is readily available (at least around here) at local outdoor retailers like REI. It is pretty much the same as climbers use and MUCH cheaper by the foot than in a tether.

#116 pogen

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 04:25 PM

I think as we engage in this discussion about LSC and safety that it might be helpful for those not already exposed to it to review our Minimum Equipment List for all ocean races under OYRA. OYRA MEL (the web link says 2006 but the MEL went through an extensive review in 2010 for our 2011 season).

Stuff like harnesses, crotch straps, tethers (with quick release) and knives are all covered here.

I am certainly not asking for you to scrutinize the MEL line by line and take this discussion down that path but I think knowing what is already in place saves time.

This document is primarily the ISAF Category 2 Offshore Special Regulations with US Sailing prescriptions and a few local prescriptions.

If you are a local ocean racer you should already be familiar with it. The skippers had better be since they are required to sign off that their boat meets all requirements before each and every race and the crew should be since it is there to help protect them.


Thanks Ahi. I am sick of seeing "tethers were not required" in all these news reports. There has not been a single mention of the race rules, only what "Coast Guard requires". Of course Cat II goes way beyond USCG minimums.

Does anyone know if SFPD has ever investigated an accident at sea before? I think the issues involved here will be out of their area of expertise.

#117 us7070

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 04:26 PM

i just looked at my wichard - i guess i'm not sure - is it nylon, or polyester webbing?

#118 Uncle_Butts

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 04:33 PM

In this day and age it seems a virtual mark, set some distance offshore, would eliminate virtually all of the risk associated with racing around this notoriously treacherous area. I am surprised that with the previous incidents in years past, and seemingly wide spread knowledge of how rough this area can be, that the RC has not implemented this type of course change. In the end every skipper is responsible for his/her own boat and the course they chose to sail, but risk management is a shared responsibility among RC, Skippers, Crew, and individual sailors. And the effect of good decisions trickles down to each level. Good RC decisions help skippers make sound decisions for their boat. Sound decisions by the skipper help the crew make good decisions on the boat, and for themselves as individual sailors while they are racing.

#119 dog of war

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 04:39 PM

1334729167[/url]' post='3677352']

1334728915[/url]' post='3677349']
And I still have your rum it might be getting a bit funky after sitting the trunk for so long but name the regatta we can meet up at and it's yours!!


How about the soon to be renamed Stone Cup ?

A shot or six and some JN bashing sounds like a good idea.


Sounds like a plan! We'll talk when it gets closer.

#120 brem22

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 04:51 PM

Hi all... I'm assuming this is would be the appropriate thread to post questions concerning LSC, but if not please accept my sincere apologies...

Let me also preface this by telling you that I know as much about open ocean racing as most of you probably know about piloting a space shuttle. Which is to say, not a whole lot. That said, I did spend most of my formative years on the water, participated in the junior sailing program at the SFYC until I was about 15, etc. So I'm probably only 94.8% percent clueless. Most germane however, is that Marc Kasanin was a dear friend of mine, going back at least thirty years.

I have been given a fairly clear account of what happened, albeit second hand, from someone that knows one of the survivors well and who has spoken to him directly about what happened (I only knew Marc). If only to reaffirm what a few others have pointed out, there are some key aspects to the media reports that are indeed way inaccurate.

My questions however have not been addressed by the media (the tether question was one, so thanks for discussing it)... Years upon years ago I co-piloted a crash boat for what I believe was the Santana 35 nationals... A boat ran aground near Baker Beach (and I think eventually sunk) but we were there, on scene in under 5 minutes. Granted this is a highly different scenario, and it clearly wouldn't be possible to drive a whaler into what sounds like amounted to the Banzai Pipeline, but given the obvious, well-documented dangers involved with that point in the race (rounding the islands) why were there not support boats closer by? Is that not standard in these kinds of races? And if there were, would it have made any difference? Basically, I haven't been given any clarity on just how long the crew was in the water before help arrived. And how do four people, in foul weather gear and life preservers simply vanish that quickly? I mean, (and not to sound flippant) Mark Foo died inside the most dangerous break in the world and was recovered... and he was only attached to a surfboard.

I'm not looking to assign any blame at all - the crew will forever be warriors and those that responded are the definition of heroes - I'm just searching for a little knowledge. If only because my heart is broken and it helps. I don't know why it does, but it does.

#121 solosailor

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 05:08 PM

We were out there Saturday and turned back after reaching the Main Shipping Channel miles out. Nothing wrong with the boat or crew, just a gut check decision. On our way back in we spotted and called in the dismasted trimaran. Was I surprised when I heard news about the rescue, people missing, etc. NO.

Are you planning on sailing to the Farallons anytime soon ?

What specifically do you expect to gain from an analysis of this situation ?

Have you taken the safety at sea seminar, taught by pros vs soliciting comments on a forum ?

Even though there were not directed at me I'll take a crack:

Yes, I plan on sailing the Singlehanded Farallones on May 12th (we usually get 60+ boats).

Nothing gained except reinforcement to wear my tether.

I have taken SAS by US Sailing. Didn't get a thing out of it except the certificate to enter certain races. Not that they seminar isn't full of information, it's that I had already heard it all through the many seminars/years of racing already.

Was it a tragic event? Yes. Could tethers have saved more or all the lives? Quite possibly as rescuing people tied to the boat is different then nearly everyone ending up in the water sans-tether. Could there still have been loss of life with all tethered in? Yes.

I've done the Singlehanded Farallones 10+ times, crewed and Doublehanded as many as well. I had heard the lore of the multiple people lost in the 80s Doublehanded race and always had a healthy respect and fear when heading out to compete in the Gulf of the Farallones. I always think of Harvey's death (I was out there nearby when he perished - we both sailed out of the Berkeley Yacht Club at the time and I'm still friends with his crew) in '99 and the other close calls out there...... F31 pitchpoled in the same area and two boats going into the surf line to pick up the doublehanded crew, 2 washed off the Olson 40 a few years ago (no tether = a similar theme here), etc.

Now I've got another very tragic event to keep me grounded in the fact that things can go wrong in a hurry and to always be as prepared as possible and diligent.

#122 Raked aft \\

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 05:12 PM

We're straying from the ideal in talking about cutting a tether.

Keep in mind, in 99% of tether in action situations, you are in the water, which is bad!

It is always paramount to stay connected to the boat! the only exception being the boat heading to the bottom.

Again, the ideal would be a two stage tether, 1st stage is the working length of 1 or 2 meters, while on the bow, at the mast, in the cockpit etc. if you end up over the rail and the boat is upright, you stay close and can usually be retrieved on board quickly.

If the shit is hitting the fan and the boat is on its side or upside down pinning you underwater, you need to be able to release that 1st stage tether but remain attached to the boat.

My thought is that on your harness is a pouch with a spool of say 10m of 3mm spectra (2,100 lb brake strth). This line would be attached to your primary quick release "devise" and the other end obviously to your harness with another release "devise". That way you have an additional 10m of line to get yourself to the surface while maintaining connection to the boat.

#123 coyotepup

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 05:13 PM



I also think sailing with a very sharp knife that is safely able to be open with one hand is a critical tool to have with you at all times. There are plenty of knives at chandlery's but there are few that are truly easy to open. if someone knows of one, can you please post a link to it here?

Funny you should ask. I just got a brand-new knife after spending a semi-frustrating day looking for one both in stores and online. I had three simple and non-negotiable criteria:

- Had to be one-handed easy-open.

- Had to have a clip or a bail or something so I could tie a lanyard or a shackle or a carabiner or something to it and attach it to my harness.

- Had to have a partly serrated edge for cutting through any kind of line.

The one thing I learned is that it's ridiculous how few knives have all of these features. Certainly not at West Marine or any of the other boating stores around here. Eventually I found this one, have a look. I can't testify to its usefulness on the job yet since I only got it last week, but it does open very easily, that much I know. Has a safety just like a gun safety so it locks open and shut. Lots of other knives if that one doesn't float your boat.


You might like to have a look at the sort of knife that parachutists/paraglider pilots routinely carry to cutaway their main wing before deploying their reserve. Does not need to be opened.


http://www.paragear....oup=510&level=1

There was something very similar on sale at a few of the places I looked, but I wanted something I could use for more than just cutting a tether in an emergency. Plus, the Mackinac rules now require, quote,

A knife, fixed blade, or, if folding, able to be opened with one hand, to be attached to or carried on each crew member at all times while on deck. The Personal Safety Knife must be readily accessible at all times including while wearing foul weather gear and PFD/harnesses.


Far more likely than having to, God forbid, cut myself free from the boat is that I'll have to pass an inspection. No doubt we could make the case that a knife like that fits the requirements, but I can just as easily see being visited by a cranky inspector who's uninterested in semantics.

#124 VALIS

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 05:14 PM

I know I am about to sound like a bitch but did anyone else notice in this newscast that the guy at West Marine clipped on with the wrong end of the tether.....


And did anyone notice that in the video from the boat that at least one crewmember was not tethered? I'm not saying that use of tethers shouldn't be up to the skipper and crew, and having spoken with several skippers and crew who were in this race many had chosen to not use tethers, but Navas is right: we are perhaps more causal about their use than we might be. We also sail close to the rocks for a shorter passage, or for current relief. Again, I believe this should be the boat's choice, but we can't pretend we don't sometimes take extra risks, and fortunately 99% of the time we get away with it.

This tragedy is a reminder to me that I should always review and practice our safety procedures, maintain my gear, and be careful out there. And that bad things can happen in spite of any preparation (and it will probably be something I had never anticipated). I am not judging Low Speed Chase, and have spent days now grieving for these sailors whom I have probably never met (LSC did race in the '08 Pac Cup, as did VALIS). I am just using this to give myself a needed kick in the ass as we prepare for this summer's sailing.

#125 smackdaddy

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 05:35 PM

...we are perhaps more causal about their use than we might be. We also sail close to the rocks for a shorter passage, or for current relief. Again, I believe this should be the boat's choice, but we can't pretend we don't sometimes take extra risks, and fortunately 99% of the time we get away with it.


I think this is well said. All personality issues aside, if one can't acknowledge the facts that we simply take greater risks to be competitive in racing, and that people, even experts, generally tend to get complacent over time, and that sometimes we get too close to that edge and lose it - then something is wrong. That's not hammering on anyone. That's just the way it is.

The bottom line, as has been said above, is what you take away from these events. How do these change your calculus of risk - and what you do to mediate it?

#126 solosailor

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 05:46 PM

why were there not support boats closer by? Is that not standard in these kinds of races? And if there were, would it have made any difference?

No, support boats are not standard on any offshore races, anywhere that I know of. This is not like following around some Optis or Lasers with a tub shaped Boston Whaler. This a 60nm race course in a patch of water that has epic tidal currents going in/out of the Gate, huge seas generally coming from the NW all the way from Alaska unfettered, large shoals cause even larger breakers North and South of the main shipping channel entrance, notoriously windy, etc. On this particular day I don't know of a ANY powerboat owned in NorCal that could have been out there past Pt. Bonita very long without getting in trouble themselves. The reports of 10-12ft seas were very underestimated. We saw regular set well above 15ft and some very steep.

There were actually two USGC rescue boats already out in the Gulf of the Farallones. On the way out there were parked up above the Potato Patch Shoal waiting for the inevitable call. I say inevitable because I cannot imagine a day like that not at least brining down a mast (as it did), rudder, injury or worse as we are now experiencing. I didn't turn around about 6nm from the Gate because I wanted to. I wanted to continue racing, I wanted to compete Even if they were onsite right at the Farallones they likely only would have only been able to call the helo as did a fellow competitor. I doubt they would have gone that close into the surf line with the large rescue boat.

#127 Ahi Tuna

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 05:51 PM

Hi all... I'm assuming this is would be the appropriate thread to post questions concerning LSC, but if not please accept my sincere apologies...

Let me also preface this by telling you that I know as much about open ocean racing as most of you probably know about piloting a space shuttle. Which is to say, not a whole lot. That said, I did spend most of my formative years on the water, participated in the junior sailing program at the SFYC until I was about 15, etc. So I'm probably only 94.8% percent clueless. Most germane however, is that Marc Kasanin was a dear friend of mine, going back at least thirty years.

I have been given a fairly clear account of what happened, albeit second hand, from someone that knows one of the survivors well and who has spoken to him directly about what happened (I only knew Marc). If only to reaffirm what a few others have pointed out, there are some key aspects to the media reports that are indeed way inaccurate.

My questions however have not been addressed by the media (the tether question was one, so thanks for discussing it)... Years upon years ago I co-piloted a crash boat for what I believe was the Santana 35 nationals... A boat ran aground near Baker Beach (and I think eventually sunk) but we were there, on scene in under 5 minutes. Granted this is a highly different scenario, and it clearly wouldn't be possible to drive a whaler into what sounds like amounted to the Banzai Pipeline, but given the obvious, well-documented dangers involved with that point in the race (rounding the islands) why were there not support boats closer by? Is that not standard in these kinds of races? And if there were, would it have made any difference? Basically, I haven't been given any clarity on just how long the crew was in the water before help arrived. And how do four people, in foul weather gear and life preservers simply vanish that quickly? I mean, (and not to sound flippant) Mark Foo died inside the most dangerous break in the world and was recovered... and he was only attached to a surfboard.

I'm not looking to assign any blame at all - the crew will forever be warriors and those that responded are the definition of heroes - I'm just searching for a little knowledge. If only because my heart is broken and it helps. I don't know why it does, but it does.



ISAF OSR Cat 2 (the rules we sail under) state:

2.01.3 Category 2
US SAILING prescribes that Category 2 races are of extended duration along or not far
removed from shorelines, where a high degree of self-sufficiency is required of the yachts
but with the reasonable probability that outside assistance would be available for aid in the
event of serious emergencies. All OYRA races are category 2 races.


and I think that was the case. Three were rescued because of outside assistance. Cat 1 is primarily for trans-ocean races.

Had LSC been nearly anywhere else on the race course we other sailors could have rendered assistance pretty quickly.

I don't believe that the addition of a nanny boat would have been possible or even helpful. Conditions were challenging for the 27-50' sail boats designed for such conditions. A power boat would have to realistically have been pretty large and seaworthy to even be out there (as some of the local fishing boats are). One account I heard is that from the first contact to the beach was less than 10 minutes. Unless the nanny boat was within a very short distance they would have had the same issue that those of us who passed after the incident did, once things went sideways for them we could not do anything but become casualties ourselves in attempt to help. I don't believe adding another boat to the equation reduces risk but only puts another craft and crew at risk. This is not a small boat race.

#128 brem22

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 06:11 PM

Many thanks for the responses. Yeah, I kind of assumed that even if an assist was immediately at hand getting inside the break wouldn't really be possible. My overall disconnect was not understanding how hairy most of the course was... I thought it was just in that patch close to the turn.

#129 walterbshaffer

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 06:46 PM

We're straying from the ideal in talking about cutting a tether.

Keep in mind, in 99% of tether in action situations, you are in the water, which is bad!

It is always paramount to stay connected to the boat! the only exception being the boat heading to the bottom.

Again, the ideal would be a two stage tether, 1st stage is the working length of 1 or 2 meters, while on the bow, at the mast, in the cockpit etc. if you end up over the rail and the boat is upright, you stay close and can usually be retrieved on board quickly.

If the shit is hitting the fan and the boat is on its side or upside down pinning you underwater, you need to be able to release that 1st stage tether but remain attached to the boat.

My thought is that on your harness is a pouch with a spool of say 10m of 3mm spectra (2,100 lb brake strth). This line would be attached to your primary quick release "devise" and the other end obviously to your harness with another release "devise". That way you have an additional 10m of line to get yourself to the surface while maintaining connection to the boat.


Thats an interesting concept and worth investigating.

My impression is that one of those tethers with a 3' section and a 6' section means always using the 3' section so that you can't really go over the side. (well, maybe it just means a lot less likely)

#130 saltyokie

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 06:49 PM

Really? This thread is wrong and too early. Wait for the recovery phase to be over. Wait for the Coast Guard report.

You should have nothing to say except how humbled we are, how we miss our lost friends and family and how we wish they were here.



It is too early to speculate as to what happened and whether the track of the boat was right or wrong. I suspect the surviving crew members do not have a good idea of what happened, therefore the rest of us are just guessing.
That boat ended up WAY up on the rocks. It appears they go hit by a wave or a set of waves that were huge. I have never rounded the Farallones so am not going to even speculate about the track butIi have raced around Catalina, Santa Barbara Island and San Nicholas down south here in some big stuff. When they say waves are 15 feet, they are talking about the average wave - it looks like these guys most likely got hit by a sneaker wave, much larger than the average.

#131 K38BOB

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:06 PM

Huh?
Posted Image

#132 JNavas

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:07 PM

The regulations cited by moondance44 also apply to OYRA, including:
"US SAILING ... recommends that such devices be employed whenever conditions warrant, and always in rough weather, on cold water, or at night, or under conditions of reduced visibility or when sailing short-handed." [emphasis added]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like amperrin, I use and recommend the Standard Horizon HX851 Handheld VHF radio with DSC and GPS,
which I keep in a chest harness when offshore. It's helped more than once in an emergency.
http://tips.navas.us/search?q=vhf

Posted Image

#133 smackdaddy

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:10 PM

The regulations cited by moondance44 also apply to OYRA, including...


So dude, how did you get to be the Voldemort of the Bay area?

#134 Dave E

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:12 PM

I wonder if there is a researcher on the Farallones who is right now thinking as he looks at the broken yacht on his doorstep, " I knew this was going to happen, someday." What have been their observation of seas in the conditions encountered by the racers Saturday? Are there areas particularly prone to dramatic wave trains, which, statistically, were bound to coincide with the passage of an aggressively sailed yacht? Most sailors with exceptional knowledge of the SF Bay might only have a couple of hours of time spent in close proximity to the Farallones.

I also think that the Race Committee will be seriously considering changing the course to require yachts to round marks offset from the rock pile to increase safety. With or without RC vessels on station to enforce the "roundings", competing yachts could reasonably, in this day and age, be expected to provide navigational evidence (most easily digital records) to prove compliance with such rules. Given a litigious society, and insurance realities, this response has at least a fair probability of happening.

How would SA folks feel if the race were changed as a result of this disaster?


You must be kidding, right?

#135 Multihauler

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:17 PM

It is too early to speculate as to what happened and whether the track of the boat was right or wrong. I suspect the surviving crew members do not have a good idea of what happened, therefore the rest of us are just guessing.
That boat ended up WAY up on the rocks. It appears they go hit by a wave or a set of waves that were huge. I have never rounded the Farallones so am not going to even speculate about the track butIi have raced around Catalina, Santa Barbara Island and San Nicholas down south here in some big stuff. When they say waves are 15 feet, they are talking about the average wave - it looks like these guys most likely got hit by a sneaker wave, much larger than the average.

Remember, 15' waves in deep water quickly become something much greater as they get pushed up from the bottom.

I've been around the those rocks half a dozen times, and have turned back on two other occasions (once just a couple of miles from making the turn). As others have stated, the NW corner of the SE Farllone Island (Round Top Island to me more specific) is one of the most God forsaken, spooky, and awe inspiring places I have ever sailed. As the waves approach, they rise up very quickly, and very unpredictably as a result of the shoaling, and the rebound off the island. Even on a calm, flat day, it is a very dangerous place.

If the boat can be successfully salvaged, it will be interesting to see if it has a working GPS on board, who's track can be extracted. That would certainly put an end to much of the pointless speculation in regards to many of the details.

Regards,

-MH

#136 VALIS

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:24 PM

That boat ended up WAY up on the rocks. It appears they go hit by a wave or a set of waves that were huge. I have never rounded the Farallones so am not going to even speculate about the track butIi have raced around Catalina, Santa Barbara Island and San Nicholas down south here in some big stuff. When they say waves are 15 feet, they are talking about the average wave - it looks like these guys most likely got hit by a sneaker wave, much larger than the average.


I suspect that they were hit by a larger wave created by the convergence of an incoming wave and a wave reflected off the rocks. Take a look at the Farallones with Google Earth: The photo I'm seeing is from a random day (March 25, 2010), and you can see the wave trains reflecting and diffracting around the island. You can't see much reflection at the west end of Maintop Island (where LSC is now on the rocks), but that's because the whole area is covered in whitewater. Notice the shape of the north-facing "bay", which may act as a parabolic reflector of sorts. When these reflections interact the seas can become extremely steep and break violently. I don't know if the swell direction on the day of this race is the same as we see in the photo, but this does show the generally prevailing conditions.

#137 robmur

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:25 PM

Events like this, tragedies like this, do give us an inflection point to review our own preparations and procedures. I (for one) do find that careful after the fact investigations like the Shockwave/Flinders Island report(s), the Mac/Wingnuts report or the Lion report by the UK Marine Accident Investigation Board (http://www.maib.gov..../LionReport.pdf) aid me in my equipment choices and on board practices. These reports (no offense) often shed more light than the discussions here and elsewhere on the web.

In the last few years, personal safety gear aboard our boat has been upgraded with new tethers with Tylaska quick release shackles at the harness end, additional tether points aboard (deck, cockpit and mast), PFD Crotch Straps and Spyderco folding "Rescue Knives" on all PFDs. We added whistles to the outside of our PFDs for summoning crew on deck and sounding alerts/getting attention in noisy conditions. We have added fixed blade knives at the rigid vang and the binnacle as well. What upgrades/changes have others made that they can share?

Learning from the experience of others is valuable, and should be carefully undertaken when those we seek to learn from have paid such a high price, both those lost and the survivors.

We have not added personal rescue beacons yet, but they have now been added to the list for consideration.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were lost and their families.

#138 JNavas

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:26 PM

I also think that the Race Committee will be seriously considering changing the course to require yachts to round marks offset from the rock pile to increase safety. With or without RC vessels on station to enforce the "roundings", competing yachts could reasonably, in this day and age, be expected to provide navigational evidence (most easily digital records) to prove compliance with such rules. Given a litigious society, and insurance realities, this response has at least a fair probability of happening. How would SA folks feel if the race were changed as a result of this disaster?

I think a more practical change would be to make the waters within (say) 100 yards of the islands a Restricted Area, much like restricted areas and security zones in the Bay, with enforcement by protest from other racers, and GPS track as a per se defense. That would level the playing field, removing the incentive to trade off safety for tactical advantage. I intend to formally propose this and other changes to both YRA and SSS.

#139 Bob W

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:26 PM

Speaking of tracks...

Attached is Ahi's track from the race, in Garmin GPX format. This can be opened in Google Earth if nowhere else.

We rounded where it felt safe, and as you can see if you look, that turned out to be about .4 nm. I was guessing .5.

Anyone else care to share? I will gather them, convert to google earth, and make a pretty picture of how we all decided to round.

If you want yours in there anonymously for any reason, send it to me via email at bob at bobwalden dot com and it will have no name in the final product.

fair winds.

bwAttached File  Ahi FCF 2012 Track.GPX.zip   55.77K   165 downloads

#140 K38BOB

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:40 PM

Speaking of tracks...

Attached is Ahi's track from the race, in Garmin GPX format. This can be opened in Google Earth if nowhere else.

We rounded where it felt safe, and as you can see if you look, that turned out to be about .4 nm. I was guessing .5.

Anyone else care to share? I will gather them, convert to google earth, and make a pretty picture of how we all decided to round.

If you want yours in there anonymously for any reason, send it to me via email at bob at bobwalden dot com and it will have no name in the final product.

fair winds.

bwAttached File  Ahi FCF 2012 Track.GPX.zip   55.77K   165 downloads


Thanks. I'll see if the local multihullers can collectively post like they do for their races. link if you email then say its for CF2012 and boat name
GPS tracks were part of the skippers meetings and DHF 2011 then and DHF 2012 when available after the race link

#141 Bob W

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:48 PM

K38Bob...not sure I understand...no multihulls finished the race?

I don't think we need anything fancy. google earth fills the bill.

bw

#142 doggone

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:50 PM

In this day and age it seems a virtual mark, set some distance offshore, would eliminate virtually all of the risk associated with racing around this notoriously treacherous area. I am surprised that with the previous incidents in years past, and seemingly wide spread knowledge of how rough this area can be, that the RC has not implemented this type of course change. In the end every skipper is responsible for his/her own boat and the course they chose to sail, but risk management is a shared responsibility among RC, Skippers, Crew, and individual sailors. And the effect of good decisions trickles down to each level. Good RC decisions help skippers make sound decisions for their boat. Sound decisions by the skipper help the crew make good decisions on the boat, and for themselves as individual sailors while they are racing.


I disagree. RCs are volunteers who are not paid to do their work. They should not be burdened with the "responsibility" of all-encompassing risk management. This race has been held since 1907 with almost no adverse results. Yes, the waters are notoriously rough. So is the Gulf Stream halfway from Newport to Bermuda. I believe that personal responsibility always has and should remain in the skipper's hands.

#143 casc27

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:51 PM

Thanks for the track. I took a couple of quick measurements and your closest point on the North side was 0.25 miles from the breakers showing in whatever image google earth is using today (0.32 miles from the island itself). That looks like about as close as I ever like to get to those rocks. And your closest approach was after you had fallen off to round them. You got within 0.25 miles as you passed Seal Rock, too. I keep noticing the extend breaking seas over the shoal area just to weather of of the area where LSC ended up. Not a good place to be near when something goes wrong. Easy to imagine how things could go from bad to worse as you try to sort things out. Thanks again for sharing your track.

Speaking of tracks...

Attached is Ahi's track from the race, in Garmin GPX format. This can be opened in Google Earth if nowhere else.

We rounded where it felt safe, and as you can see if you look, that turned out to be about .4 nm. I was guessing .5.

Anyone else care to share? I will gather them, convert to google earth, and make a pretty picture of how we all decided to round.

If you want yours in there anonymously for any reason, send it to me via email at bob at bobwalden dot com and it will have no name in the final product.

fair winds.

bwAttached File  Ahi FCF 2012 Track.GPX.zip   55.77K   165 downloads



#144 K38BOB

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:52 PM

K38Bob...not sure I understand...no multihulls finished the race?
I don't think we need anything fancy. google earth fills the bill.
bw


World famous Anduril finished- no track provided. see DHF forum in sig for details

#145 Bob W

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:54 PM

Thanks for the track. I took a couple of quick measurements and your closest point on the North side was 0.25 miles from the breakers showing in whatever image google earth is using today (0.32 miles from the island itself). That looks like about as close as I ever like to get to those rocks. And your closest approach was after you had fallen off to round them. You got within 0.25 miles as you passed Seal Rock, too. I keep noticing the extend breaking seas over the shoal area just to weather of of the area where LSC ended up. Not a good place to be near when something goes wrong. Easy to imagine how things could go from bad to worse as you try to sort things out. Thanks again for sharing your track.


Bear in mind, the wind was somewhat more northerly than you see on google earth's current imagery of the islands. We did not begin to crack off until the DDW line was clear of the rocks--also, by that point, the waves were less amped up from the shoaling. And, we were eyeballing around for swimmers, so maybe we veered in more than wise.

bw

#146 Bob W

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:57 PM

World famous Anduril finished- no track provided. see DHF forum in sig for details



All respect to the doubtless awesome Anduril, but I'm looking for tracks from the full-crew Farallones race this past Saturday, 14 April 2012.

bw

#147 ProaSailor

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:11 PM

I suspect that they were hit by a larger wave created by the convergence of an incoming wave and a wave reflected off the rocks. Take a look at the Farallones with Google Earth: The photo I'm seeing is from a random day (March 25, 2010), and you can see the wave trains reflecting and diffracting around the island. You can't see much reflection at the west end of Maintop Island (where LSC is now on the rocks), but that's because the whole area is covered in whitewater. Notice the shape of the north-facing "bay", which may act as a parabolic reflector of sorts. When these reflections interact the seas can become extremely steep and break violently. I don't know if the swell direction on the day of this race is the same as we see in the photo, but this does show the generally prevailing conditions.


Posted Image

#148 JustDroppingBy

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:11 PM

I think a more practical change would be to make the waters within (say) 100 yards of the islands a Restricted Area, much like restricted areas and security zones in the Bay, with enforcement by protest from other racers, and GPS track as a per se defense. That would level the playing field, removing the incentive to trade off safety for tactical advantage. I intend to formally propose this and other changes to both YRA and SSS.

I'd say you were a f'ing moron but enough others already have.

A 100 yard exclusion zone wouldn't have changed anything out there on Saturday, waves were breaking well outside that distance. I don't believe that LSC was that close to the island when they got in trouble to begin with, and I've had a lot of time to think about how my brain processed what I saw.

#149 K38BOB

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:15 PM


World famous Anduril finished- no track provided. see DHF forum in sig for details

All respect to the doubtless awesome Anduril, but I'm looking for tracks from the full-crew Farallones race this past Saturday, 14 April 2012.
bw

oopss..me confused. Send them to the link above and will get them compiled

#150 NoobyDoo

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:16 PM

What's up with this info? (Houston Chron, not SF.)
http://www.chron.com...3117.php#page-1

#151 us7070

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:32 PM

That boat ended up WAY up on the rocks. It appears they go hit by a wave or a set of waves that were huge. I have never rounded the Farallones so am not going to even speculate about the track butIi have raced around Catalina, Santa Barbara Island and San Nicholas down south here in some big stuff. When they say waves are 15 feet, they are talking about the average wave - it looks like these guys most likely got hit by a sneaker wave, much larger than the average.


I suspect that they were hit by a larger wave created by the convergence of an incoming wave and a wave reflected off the rocks. Take a look at the Farallones with Google Earth: The photo I'm seeing is from a random day (March 25, 2010), and you can see the wave trains reflecting and diffracting around the island. You can't see much reflection at the west end of Maintop Island (where LSC is now on the rocks), but that's because the whole area is covered in whitewater. Notice the shape of the north-facing "bay", which may act as a parabolic reflector of sorts. When these reflections interact the seas can become extremely steep and break violently. I don't know if the swell direction on the day of this race is the same as we see in the photo, but this does show the generally prevailing conditions.



if you go to the beach, you see that everything always ends up "way up"...

i don't think you can assume that the boat got tossed to it's present location by one or two enormous waves.

even if something goes aground at low tide, it's eventually going to end up at about the high tide line, or further, when the waves are big.

in the other thread, someone suggested that those aerial shots of LSC were taken at low tide..., which is what it looks like.

#152 Bob W

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:39 PM

A 100 yard exclusion zone wouldn't have changed anything out there on Saturday, waves were breaking well outside that distance. I don't believe that LSC was that close to the island when they got in trouble to begin with, and I've had a lot of time to think about how my brain processed what I saw.


And in fact there is already a 300 foot prohibited limit around south-east Farallon and all the other Farallon islands, since it is a wildlife sanctuary. Not that you'd want to get that close on the west side in any case.

I'm thinking that the RC should have the discretion to impose a limit, or even call it course 2, and establish 2-3 waypoints NW, W, and SW of the island, around .5 miles off, in situations of harsh weather. But again, we on't know that this would have fixed anything last Saturday.

bw

#153 coyotepup

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:21 PM

If the boat can be successfully salvaged, it will be interesting to see if it has a working GPS on board, who's track can be extracted. That would certainly put an end to much of the pointless speculation in regards to many of the details.

As I recall the only question regarding the possibility of salvaging the boat was whether or not it could be done now or would have to wait til October due to the mating season of the highly endangered Great Farallon Dodo Penguin. (Or whatever.) Call me crazy, but it strikes me as really stupid to possibly put off the investigation because the privacy of a few fucking birds might be interrupted for a few hours. Just thinking out loud.

Re: the graphic in the Chronicle - I thought it was said that LSC was rounding the islands to port? If I'm wrong, ignore me, if that's right, it just shows why a: the media sucks and b: stuff can't be left to amateurs. I'm sure the SFPD is a professional bunch but how much expertise do they have in this regard?

#154 us7070

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:37 PM

Re: the graphic in the Chronicle - I thought it was said that LSC was rounding the islands to port? If I'm wrong, ignore me, if that's right, it just shows why a: the media sucks and b: stuff can't be left to amateurs. I'm sure the SFPD is a professional bunch but how much expertise do they have in this regard?



i don't think the Chronicle intended to make any assertion about which way the boat was rounding...

that diagram is just meant to show where the islands are, and the course in a schematic way.

99% of their readers don't care which way around anybody went.

#155 Jambalaya

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:38 PM

This was mentioned in the other thread, but I'll repeat here.

I'm a kiter and the modern "tether" system currently used for kiting bars is a two stage system. In cases of trouble you trip a quick release, which opens a chicken loop attaching the kite to your harness. It is designed to totally depower the kite and drop it to the water. You are still attached to the kite by a leash, which after sorted out you can haul back in and re-engage your chicken loop and kite away.

If for what ever reason you are still in trouble, the leash has a quick release to basically detach yourself completely from the kite and it go bye bye.

If I were to design a multi purpose off shore tether system it would have those features. They are basic, inexpensive, and reliable.

On an offshore yacht you want the exact opposite, when there is an emergency you want to be closer to the boat not further away. There is no way to de-power a large breaking wave by pulling on a quick release.

#156 Lifeonplane

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:49 PM

I think all the SFPD will be looking at is criminal negligence, in the event that someone wants to attempt to bring some legal action against whom ever for what ever. They sure as hell are not going to provide anything Germaine to this conversation about keeping us safe at sea. That's up to us. Also, as for the Nave guy. I don't think you will catch any yacht club telling any racers that they will be safe if they just do anything, or limit anything. It is, always has been and always will be the skippers sole discretion whether to start a race, withdraw from a race or finish a race unless the RC officially abandons the race.

Rich~

#157 Ahi Tuna

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 11:08 PM


I think a more practical change would be to make the waters within (say) 100 yards of the islands a Restricted Area, much like restricted areas and security zones in the Bay, with enforcement by protest from other racers, and GPS track as a per se defense. That would level the playing field, removing the incentive to trade off safety for tactical advantage. I intend to formally propose this and other changes to both YRA and SSS.

I'd say you were a f'ing moron but enough others already have.

A 100 yard exclusion zone wouldn't have changed anything out there on Saturday, waves were breaking well outside that distance. I don't believe that LSC was that close to the island when they got in trouble to begin with, and I've had a lot of time to think about how my brain processed what I saw.


I'm not disagreeing with JDB's assessment of JN based on my previous exchanges over the last few days, but I'm afraid John has a reasonable idea. Many have already thought of it and suggested it.

OYRA is already discussing the possibility of either virtual GPS rounding marks (suggestion from SFYC PRO) or an exclusion zone. If we do it the zone will be more like 500 yards/quarter mile territory or more. Any other suggestions can be forwarded to Laura at YRA or any of the OYRA board email addresses on the YRA web site. We do actually discuss everything we get.

#158 phillysailor

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 12:12 AM


I wonder if there is a researcher on the Farallones who is right now thinking as he looks at the broken yacht on his doorstep, " I knew this was going to happen, someday." What have been their observation of seas in the conditions encountered by the racers Saturday? Are there areas particularly prone to dramatic wave trains, which, statistically, were bound to coincide with the passage of an aggressively sailed yacht? Most sailors with exceptional knowledge of the SF Bay might only have a couple of hours of time spent in close proximity to the Farallones.

I also think that the Race Committee will be seriously considering changing the course to require yachts to round marks offset from the rock pile to increase safety. With or without RC vessels on station to enforce the "roundings", competing yachts could reasonably, in this day and age, be expected to provide navigational evidence (most easily digital records) to prove compliance with such rules. Given a litigious society, and insurance realities, this response has at least a fair probability of happening.

How would SA folks feel if the race were changed as a result of this disaster?


You must be kidding, right?


No, I don't think I am kidding.

GPS marks offset from the islands would add a measure of safety to the race that wouldn't make it "easy" or change the spirit of the race. It would, however, remove an incentive to sail close to a hazardous shore. It matters not whether the previous 20 (or 200 over 100 years) boats "made it" through dangerous waters, the laws of statistical probability mean that if enough boats traverse waters prone to hazardous "sneaker" waves, "combined waves," "reflected waves", "freak waves" or whatever.. the remote probability of a boat full of people eventually getting rolled becomes much more likely.

I don't know what happened last Saturday. I don't know the waters. That's why I wonder what the researchers on the island think of the disaster. Have they observed boats sailing close by, and held their breaths, hoping everything turns out fine? They might know the waters better (through observation over days and weeks) than the average sailor, who sees the islands, literally, only in passing.

As for "the race has always been run this way," that's like saying airport security should be the same as it was before 9/11. Do you really think no changes will come out of this disaster? I'm very sorry, but something is quite likely to change. Think about it. The POLICE are investigating this incident. Even if they decide not to press charges in this instance, that is the only tool they have. If all you have is a hammer, all the world looks like a nail. If you were the RC, would you feel comfortable making no changes and running the race the same way next year? Wouldn't your heart be in your throat if another boat ran into trouble off the Farallons? Under penalty of criminal charges?

Furthermore, there are no shortage of SF lawyers eager to reap the rewards of a civil claim, and a YC looks to them like a nice, fat target. Even if such a suit has not been successful before, the defense of such a suit would be easier (and less costly) if the RC responded to a disaster of these proportions by making changes to improve the safety of competitors.

In final defense of the idea, let me put it this way. If offset marks could have kept Low Speed Chase safe on Saturday, wouldn't it have been a BETTER race for everyone? Put yourself in the position of your children looking at the harm vs benefit of such a rule in the SI's.

#159 NoobyDoo

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 12:26 AM

I suspect that they were hit by a larger wave created by the convergence of an incoming wave and a wave reflected off the rocks. Take a look at the Farallones with Google Earth: The photo I'm seeing is from a random day (March 25, 2010), and you can see the wave trains reflecting and diffracting around the island. You can't see much reflection at the west end of Maintop Island (where LSC is now on the rocks), but that's because the whole area is covered in whitewater. Notice the shape of the north-facing "bay", which may act as a parabolic reflector of sorts. When these reflections interact the seas can become extremely steep and break violently. I don't know if the swell direction on the day of this race is the same as we see in the photo, but this does show the generally prevailing conditions.


What rubbish. Try looking at the chart (which is what sailors used to use for navigation before Google Earth). Note that the bottom comes up from something like 13 fathoms to 4 fathoms in the space of about a tenth of a mile, so about 500 feet. Swell + shoaling = wave. Somewhere on the web (Ocean Navigator? Arr!) is an article (by Michael Carr?) that correlates shoaling and swell size with wave height. I'm afraid that in this case, "wrong place at the wrong time" means wrong side of the 10 fathom line in a big swell. If somebody else got through before them on the same line, they were damn lucky, but ask surfers what "sets" are.

#160 SW Sailor

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 12:29 AM



I wonder if there is a researcher on the Farallones who is right now thinking as he looks at the broken yacht on his doorstep, " I knew this was going to happen, someday." What have been their observation of seas in the conditions encountered by the racers Saturday? Are there areas particularly prone to dramatic wave trains, which, statistically, were bound to coincide with the passage of an aggressively sailed yacht? Most sailors with exceptional knowledge of the SF Bay might only have a couple of hours of time spent in close proximity to the Farallones.

I also think that the Race Committee will be seriously considering changing the course to require yachts to round marks offset from the rock pile to increase safety. With or without RC vessels on station to enforce the "roundings", competing yachts could reasonably, in this day and age, be expected to provide navigational evidence (most easily digital records) to prove compliance with such rules. Given a litigious society, and insurance realities, this response has at least a fair probability of happening.

How would SA folks feel if the race were changed as a result of this disaster?


You must be kidding, right?


No, I don't think I am kidding.


So how far away should they be ?

#161 NoobyDoo

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 12:34 AM




I wonder if there is a researcher on the Farallones who is right now thinking as he looks at the broken yacht on his doorstep, " I knew this was going to happen, someday." What have been their observation of seas in the conditions encountered by the racers Saturday? Are there areas particularly prone to dramatic wave trains, which, statistically, were bound to coincide with the passage of an aggressively sailed yacht? Most sailors with exceptional knowledge of the SF Bay might only have a couple of hours of time spent in close proximity to the Farallones.

I also think that the Race Committee will be seriously considering changing the course to require yachts to round marks offset from the rock pile to increase safety. With or without RC vessels on station to enforce the "roundings", competing yachts could reasonably, in this day and age, be expected to provide navigational evidence (most easily digital records) to prove compliance with such rules. Given a litigious society, and insurance realities, this response has at least a fair probability of happening.

How would SA folks feel if the race were changed as a result of this disaster?


You must be kidding, right?


No, I don't think I am kidding.


So how far away should they be ?



Outside the 10 fathom line.

#162 SW Sailor

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 12:36 AM





I wonder if there is a researcher on the Farallones who is right now thinking as he looks at the broken yacht on his doorstep, " I knew this was going to happen, someday." What have been their observation of seas in the conditions encountered by the racers Saturday? Are there areas particularly prone to dramatic wave trains, which, statistically, were bound to coincide with the passage of an aggressively sailed yacht? Most sailors with exceptional knowledge of the SF Bay might only have a couple of hours of time spent in close proximity to the Farallones.

I also think that the Race Committee will be seriously considering changing the course to require yachts to round marks offset from the rock pile to increase safety. With or without RC vessels on station to enforce the "roundings", competing yachts could reasonably, in this day and age, be expected to provide navigational evidence (most easily digital records) to prove compliance with such rules. Given a litigious society, and insurance realities, this response has at least a fair probability of happening.

How would SA folks feel if the race were changed as a result of this disaster?


You must be kidding, right?


No, I don't think I am kidding.


So how far away should they be ?



Outside the 10 fathom line.

Can you say, without question, under any and all circumstances that this would be safe for any and every boat that will enter the race ?

#163 unShirley

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 12:44 AM

FWIW:
Terrible tragedy, I am no stranger to tragedy and grief and I hope the following doesn't sound insensitive. Hopefully, this thread may be of some comfort to the mourners in that it is providing reminders, reinforcement, education re: safety first. Perhaps it will save some lives in the future. I have learned much and reconsidered much about my own practices while racing offshore. Tethers, knives, quick release snap shackles/hooks, personal epirbs,....all valuable stuff. I will definitely be factoring in more caution when calculating risks.

But, if I understand correctly, the LSC got caught in the impact zone of 15' waves, rolled several times and pitched up onto the rocks. If that is really what happened, then it is a miracle that anybody survived. It seems that even if there were rescuers on jet skis standing by, it wouldn't of helped.

RIP crew of the LSC. Your tragic loss has taught me plenty.

#164 phillysailor

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 12:44 AM





So how far away should they be ?



Outside the 10 fathom line.

Can you say, without question, under any and all circumstances that this would be safe for any and every boat that will enter the race ?


Why? Is that the standard by which all rules are made?

#165 SL33_SF

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 12:58 AM

A GPS waypoint would be difficult to enforce:

  • Most boats doing these races don't have a position recording device or the crew does not know or have the cables to read them out
  • Even if they have such equipment, it does typically not record GPS signal integrity
  • Even if it does record signal integrity, anyone can easily modify the files and all positions/times etc. before submitting

Soaring uses GPS to record waypoints and restricted area violations.
You can find the requirements for such recording devices here: FAI / IGC approved flight recorder (71 page PDF, enjoy)
I have designed and shipped a few thousand IGC approved GPS (flight) recorders.
You don't want to go there, trust me.

If someone introduces GPS waypoints without extensive requirements on the recording device, I will win any race sailed under these 'rules'.
Go ahead, make my day.


#166 Pete M

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:06 AM

But, if I understand correctly, the LSC got caught in the impact zone of 15' waves, rolled several times and pitched up onto the rocks. If that is really what happened, then it is a miracle that anybody survived. It seems that even if there were rescuers on jet skis standing by, it wouldn't of helped.


i agree - inside breaking waves, with a rocky lee shore- - - tether - no tether, flotation - no flotation, epirb - no epirb - - makes no difference

the it was over by the second rollover

very sad, and just wrong place wrong time - a few minutes either way, maybe not a problem

#167 us7070

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:08 AM

But, if I understand correctly, the LSC got caught in the impact zone of 15' waves, rolled several times and pitched up onto the rocks. If that is really what happened, then it is a miracle that anybody survived. It seems that even if there were rescuers on jet skis standing by, it wouldn't of helped.


i agree - inside breaking waves, with a rocky lee shore- - - tether - no tether, flotation - no flotation, epirb - no epirb - - makes no difference

the it was over by the second rollover

very sad, and just wrong place wrong time - a few minutes either way, maybe not a problem


as far as I know, it is not established that the boat actually rolled through 360deg - is it?

#168 Pete M

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:12 AM

as far as I know, it is not established that the boat actually rolled through 360deg - is it?


you could be right - it's conjecture at this point

but inside the breakers is bad bad bad

#169 VALIS

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:13 AM


I suspect that they were hit by a larger wave created by the convergence of an incoming wave and a wave reflected off the rocks. Take a look at the Farallones with Google Earth: The photo I'm seeing is from a random day (March 25, 2010), and you can see the wave trains reflecting and diffracting around the island. You can't see much reflection at the west end of Maintop Island (where LSC is now on the rocks), but that's because the whole area is covered in whitewater. Notice the shape of the north-facing "bay", which may act as a parabolic reflector of sorts. When these reflections interact the seas can become extremely steep and break violently. I don't know if the swell direction on the day of this race is the same as we see in the photo, but this does show the generally prevailing conditions.


What rubbish. Try looking at the chart (which is what sailors used to use for navigation before Google Earth). Note that the bottom comes up from something like 13 fathoms to 4 fathoms in the space of about a tenth of a mile, so about 500 feet. Swell + shoaling = wave. Somewhere on the web (Ocean Navigator? Arr!) is an article (by Michael Carr?) that correlates shoaling and swell size with wave height. I'm afraid that in this case, "wrong place at the wrong time" means wrong side of the 10 fathom line in a big swell. If somebody else got through before them on the same line, they were damn lucky, but ask surfers what "sets" are.


I'm going to reply nicely....

Ah, the hell with it. We are perfectly aware of what shoaling means, and with the bottom contours around the Farallones (at least those of us who have sailed there, and I have). Wave reflections can cause a chaotic sea state, 10 fathom line or not. Fuck off.

#170 us7070

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:14 AM

A GPS waypoint would be difficult to enforce:

  • Most boats doing these races don't have a position recording device or the crew does not know or have the cables to read them out
  • Even if they have such equipment, it does typically not record GPS signal integrity
  • Even if it does record signal integrity, anyone can easily modify the files and all positions/times etc. before submitting

Soaring uses GPS to record waypoints and restricted area violations.
You can find the requirements for such recording devices here: FAI / IGC approved flight recorder (71 page PDF, enjoy)
I have designed and shipped a few thousand IGC approved GPS (flight) recorders.
You don't want to go there, trust me.

If someone introduces GPS waypoints without extensive requirements on the recording device, I will win any race sailed under these 'rules'.
Go ahead, make my day.



this is not a convincing argument against virtual marks...

if people want to cheat - they cheat.

we haven't, and shouldn't, make preventing dishonesty to be a significant concern when drafting rules.

i think a handheld garmin will be good enough for this.

#171 K38BOB

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:15 AM

A GPS waypoint would be difficult to enforce:

  • Most boats doing these races don't have a position recording device or the crew does not know or have the cables to read them out
  • Even if they have such equipment, it does typically not record GPS signal integrity
  • Even if it does record signal integrity, anyone can easily modify the files and all positions/times etc. before submitting

Soaring uses GPS to record waypoints and restricted area violations.
You can find the requirements for such recording devices here: FAI / IGC approved flight recorder (71 page PDF, enjoy)
I have designed and shipped a few thousand IGC approved GPS (flight) recorders.
You don't want to go there, trust me.

If someone introduces GPS waypoints without extensive requirements on the recording device, I will win any race sailed under these 'rules'.
Go ahead, make my day.


He knoweth what he speaketh

#172 SL33_SF

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:26 AM

if people want to cheat - they cheat.
we haven't, and shouldn't, make preventing dishonesty to be a significant concern when drafting rules.
i think a handheld garmin will be good enough for this.

A competition where cheating can not be discovered, is not much of a competition. Someone will cheat.
And what if we take your 'handheld Garmin" as a recorder: Could I carry multiple Garmin recorders, place them all with marginal GPS reception on the boat and then use the one that gives me the most favorable position?
Oh, I almost forgot; the above is way too sophisticated, anyone can simply edit the files after the finish...

#173 shaggybaxter

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:27 AM


I agree. The kite system will work under full loads. The double shackle system on most tethers would be very hard to release under load.


Let's get this right.:
1. they are SNAP HOOKS not shackles.
2. Most have snap hooks at each end?? Nope. You CAN buy tethers with a snap hook at both ends, but a person would have to be pretty thick for the reason you said.

Perhaps a better thing to do would be to promote what the OSR and just about every national authority says about tethers:
The recommended tether is a double tether, 1metre + 2metre with snap hooks with a locking gate, and a quick release. Anyone going to buy a tether shouldn't be looking at anything other than that. Why even bother thinking of other choices? Just get the right gear in the first place.

You often hear on these forums that snap shackles as a quick release are unreliable.. If that's the case, why would anyone use them on spin sheets and guys if they are prone to unexpected releases with shock loads? One of the keys to using them is to use a tried and tested release method that is unlikely to accidentally catch and trip it.

I would still prefer to have a snap shackle attached to the harness than a dead end that needs a knife.


Agree 100%. Two tethers, because at some stage you have to unclip, and that's always when the boat lurches or drops.
Re: cutting, not for me thanks when you need to oh-shit untether .
I really like WHL's quick release setup described in another post, that pretty well nailed it for me.
.
SB

#174 SW Sailor

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:31 AM




So how far away should they be ?

Outside the 10 fathom line.

Can you say, without question, under any and all circumstances that this would be safe for any and every boat that will enter the race ?

Why? Is that the standard by which all rules are made?

Your statements (civil and criminal charges (??), the POLICE are investigating this, etc) puts the full burden of responsibility (read - liability) on the person/entity setting the limit, under any and all circumstances, based on this event. Think about it what you're suggesting.

What about you set it at 10 fathoms (X distance), and a boat at 12 fathoms (X+ distance) gets tied up in a loose fishnet, and a tragic accident happens, whereas it could be reasonably proven the accident wouldn't have been tragic if the limit was set at 15 fathoms ?

How about under the same circumstances a collision with a whale breaks your rudder and the same result happens ?

Are you willing to make that decision at the risk of a bunch of ambulance chasers coming after you because a set of unforseen circumstances occurred (involving any potential boat, and all possible variations of future weather/sea conditions) that you didn't account for ?

That is the essence of your post. You're better off to remove the island completely or any rocky shoreline from any race raced.

Maybe they should add some verbiage that ocean racing does have risks, or a work of caution about the islands in the SI's, but I think that's already obvious.



#175 us7070

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:37 AM


if people want to cheat - they cheat.
we haven't, and shouldn't, make preventing dishonesty to be a significant concern when drafting rules.
i think a handheld garmin will be good enough for this.

A competition where cheating can not be discovered, is not much of a competition. Someone will cheat.
And what if we take your 'handheld Garmin" as a recorder: Could I carry multiple Garmin recorders, place them all with marginal GPS reception on the boat and then use the one that gives me the most favorable position?
Oh, I almost forgot; the above is way too sophisticated, anyone can simply edit the files after the finish...


i know you can edit the files.

i have worked in this field too...

the difference between different units is highly unlikely to be a significant factor in the race.

i realize you can think this to the nth degree..., but i think some requirement is likely to happen.

#176 us7070

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:41 AM

What about you set it at 10 fathoms (X distance), and a boat at 12 fathoms (X+ distance) gets tied up in a loose fishnet, and a tragic accident happens, whereas it could be reasonably proven the accident wouldn't have been tragic if the limit was set at 15 fathoms ?




how is it different from rounding a real mark?

what if the course says "leave buoy 4 to starboard"?

you have a choice of leaving it 1 meter to starboard, or 100 meters to starboard - your call

#177 SW Sailor

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:48 AM


What about you set it at 10 fathoms (X distance), and a boat at 12 fathoms (X+ distance) gets tied up in a loose fishnet, and a tragic accident happens, whereas it could be reasonably proven the accident wouldn't have been tragic if the limit was set at 15 fathoms ?


how is it different from rounding a real mark?

what if the course says "leave buoy 4 to starboard"?

you have a choice of leaving it 1 meter to starboard, or 100 meters to starboard - your call


The race has been run for over 100 years without tragedy, and based on this event, a mark was subsequently set specifically for safety reasons.

If it doesn't prove to be safe, for any reason, fault exists, or could be easily argued in front of a jury who doesn't know what a jib is. Implications seem pretty clear.

#178 casc27

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:49 AM

A GPS waypoint would be difficult to enforce:

  • Most boats doing these races don't have a position recording device or the crew does not know or have the cables to read them out
  • Even if they have such equipment, it does typically not record GPS signal integrity
  • Even if it does record signal integrity, anyone can easily modify the files and all positions/times etc. before submitting

Soaring uses GPS to record waypoints and restricted area violations.
You can find the requirements for such recording devices here: FAI / IGC approved flight recorder (71 page PDF, enjoy)
I have designed and shipped a few thousand IGC approved GPS (flight) recorders.
You don't want to go there, trust me.

If someone introduces GPS waypoints without extensive requirements on the recording device, I will win any race sailed under these 'rules'.
Go ahead, make my day.


So what are you saying? The technology doesn't work for the soaring crowd? Hell, I should think you would be all over this as you are convinced you will win any race run under these parameters and should be able to grow your biz selling sailing specific units. More accolades and more money, what's not to like? In all seriousness, what are the issues with the IGC approved flight recorders?

#179 jonoflewis

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:50 AM

There is a permanent private buoy or a mooring just off the East Landing of Southeast Farallon in about 6 fathoms of water that might work as a turning mark for the races that use the Islands as a turning mark. Unlike temporary race buoys it would not need to be dropped off and picked up before and after the races and would not require focussed attention on a GPS or chart during a race. It would preserve most of the character of the race...

#180 phillysailor

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:54 AM

Your statements (civil and criminal charges (??), the POLICE are investigating this, etc) puts the full burden of responsibility (read - liability) on the person/entity setting the limit, under any and all circumstances, based on this event. Think about it what you're suggesting.

What about you set it at 10 fathoms (X distance), and a boat at 12 fathoms (X+ distance) gets tied up in a loose fishnet, and a tragic accident happens, whereas it could be reasonably proven the accident wouldn't have been tragic if the limit was set at 15 fathoms ?

How about under the same circumstances a collision with a whale breaks your rudder and the same result happens ?

Are you willing to make that decision at the risk of a bunch of ambulance chasers coming after you because a set of unforseen circumstances occurred (involving any potential boat, and all possible variations of future weather/sea conditions) that you didn't account for ?

That is the essence of your post. You're better off to remove the island completely or any rocky shoreline from any race raced.

Maybe they should add some verbiage that ocean racing does have risks, or a work of caution about the islands in the SI's, but I think that's already obvious.


Ok, forget the legal arguments. That's not my strong suit, nor the real strength of this opinion.

How about these:
1. Avoid deaths of future competitors.
2. Let the families of the deceased know that we want to prevent others from being put in their situation.
3. Avoid putting the CG in jeopardy.

The problem with making the Farallons a mark of the race, is that it gives skippers an incentive to perform a risky behavior. That doesn't need to be a facet of the race, which is supposed to be a pleasurable activity. Even the administration of the race should be enjoyable, otherwise few will volunteer to RC. Giving them nightmares isn't going to help.

Make the course go around "marks" which are in close proximity to the rocks, but not the rocks themselves, and you no longer are rewarding the risky behavior. If individual skippers want to cheat death by sailing close to the Farallons, go ahead! Do it on your own time. But it need not be encouraged by an amateur sailboat race!

#181 Lifeonplane

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:59 AM





So how far away should they be ?

Outside the 10 fathom line.

Can you say, without question, under any and all circumstances that this would be safe for any and every boat that will enter the race ?

Why? Is that the standard by which all rules are made?

Your statements (civil and criminal charges (??), the POLICE are investigating this, etc) puts the full burden of responsibility (read - liability) on the person/entity setting the limit, under any and all circumstances, based on this event. Think about it what you're suggesting.

What about you set it at 10 fathoms (X distance), and a boat at 12 fathoms (X+ distance) gets tied up in a loose fishnet, and a tragic accident happens, whereas it could be reasonably proven the accident wouldn't have been tragic if the limit was set at 15 fathoms ?

How about under the same circumstances a collision with a whale breaks your rudder and the same result happens ?

Are you willing to make that decision at the risk of a bunch of ambulance chasers coming after you because a set of unforseen circumstances occurred (involving any potential boat, and all possible variations of future weather/sea conditions) that you didn't account for ?

That is the essence of your post. You're better off to remove the island completely or any rocky shoreline from any race raced.

Maybe they should add some verbiage that ocean racing does have risks, or a work of caution about the islands in the SI's, but I think that's already obvious.



I will Re-post from above.

I think all the SFPD will be looking at is criminal negligence, in the event that someone wants to attempt to bring some legal action against whom ever for what ever. They sure as hell are not going to provide anything Germaine to this conversation about keeping us safe at sea. That's up to us. Also, as for the Nave guy. I don't think you will catch any yacht club telling any racers that they will be safe if they just do anything, or limit anything. It is, always has been and always will be the skippers sole discretion whether to start a race, withdraw from a race or finish a race unless the RC officially abandons the race.

Rich~

No association or origination is going to establish what in their opinion is safe. The only example might be like in the case of the H beam on the city front, but in that case you must leave the mark between you and shore period.

#182 SL33_SF

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:05 AM

In all seriousness, what are the issues with the IGC approved flight recorders?

  • The cheapest model is $595 and that's just a black box with no display or other benefits to the user
  • 12 models had their certification withdrawn or reduced recently as someone cracked their file encryption. The owners of these devices will have to buy a new model, or stop competing.
    My devices were not affected.
Yes, its good for business, but bad for the sport. My heart lies with the sport.

#183 Lifeonplane

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:09 AM

I would like to still believe that our sport for the most part is self policing and if it was determined that some jerk tried to cheat the system and put his boat and or crew in peril for some pickle dish, he would be shamed out of the community and prevented from any class racing forever. In other words a Garmin GPS track is just fine for me. In my world.

Rich~

#184 SL33_SF

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:14 AM

I would like to still believe that our sport for the most part is self policing and if it was determined that some jerk tried to cheat the system and put his boat and or crew in peril for some pickle dish, he would be shamed out of the community and prevented from any class racing forever. In other words a Garmin GPS track is just fine for me. In my world.

Rich~

He would be shamed out of the sport like the dozens of boats that went into the restricted areas in the 3BF; in plain sight of everybody (and reported on the radio). Few (none ?) of them retired.... None of them is 'shamed out of the community'
We are all very nice and polite and don't like playing police on or off the water. Cheaters have an easy play...

#185 us7070

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:14 AM

I would like to still believe that our sport for the most part is self policing and if it was determined that some jerk tried to cheat the system and put his boat and or crew in peril for some pickle dish, he would be shamed out of the community and prevented from any class racing forever. In other words a Garmin GPS track is just fine for me. In my world.

Rich~



And what if we take your 'handheld Garmin" as a recorder: Could I carry multiple Garmin recorders, place them all with marginal GPS reception on the boat and then use the one that gives me the most favorable position?


and SL33 can carry 10 units, if he wants to..., and mount them all on the bulkhead.

then, he can sit down below, watching them all, and when the first of them says he's rounded the virtual mark, he can consider himself around.

i'd be fine with that...

#186 Lifeonplane

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:17 AM

I do however like the idea of a permanent hard buoy maintained by the OYRA, set outside the 10 fathom contour. We, as a community could raise funds to maintain it and name it to reflect the tragedy.

R~

#187 NoStrings

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:22 AM

It pains me to write this. The Farallons race has been run for 105 years. So what if you pick some "offset marks" around SE Farallon? Who picks them? The Law of Unintended Consequences would tell you that rounding those marks will eventually put some boats in harms way under certain conditions. This was a horrible tragedy that we as a community will have to live with. But it was an accident. More people die falling in their bathtubs than die sailing (unintentional household falls being the most common form of accidental death) around the Farallons. So, if we cannot make our bathrooms bulletproof safe, how are we to make ocean racing bulletproof safe? We're not. It just isn't possible. To quote Viper (Tom Skerrit) from Top Gun "What we do is dangerous, we push it." We go to sea in small boats in seas that are notoriously unfriendly. Even well prepared boats are rolling the dice. The difference between an epic sail and tragedy is a matter of judgement and sometimes luck.

Earlier in this thread someone cited the Mark Foo tragedy at Mavericks. Mark Foo didn't do anything wrong that day. He was more than capable of handling those conditions. He just got unlucky. It happens. Saturday's LSC tragedy may just be one of those cases. I know of one boat that rounded SE Farallon even closer than LSC. Sh*t happens, and god knows that it's painful for those of us left to hyper-analyze the incident seeking some answer that will prevent it from being us. We've been racing around the Farallons for over 100 years. We experienced a terrible accident. Now isn't the time for a knee jerk reaction thinking that some arbitrary decision is going to make this race safer. NOTHING is going to make racing in the Gulf of the Farallones safer in the spring. Nothing.

#188 PIL007

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:24 AM

A GPS waypoint would be difficult to enforce:

  • Most boats doing these races don't have a position recording device or the crew does not know or have the cables to read them out
  • Even if they have such equipment, it does typically not record GPS signal integrity
  • Even if it does record signal integrity, anyone can easily modify the files and all positions/times etc. before submitting

Soaring uses GPS to record waypoints and restricted area violations.
You can find the requirements for such recording devices here: FAI / IGC approved flight recorder (71 page PDF, enjoy)
I have designed and shipped a few thousand IGC approved GPS (flight) recorders.
You don't want to go there, trust me.

If someone introduces GPS waypoints without extensive requirements on the recording device, I will win any race sailed under these 'rules'.
Go ahead, make my day.



Are you for real....? Are you suggesting that you would cheat if these rules were brought in...?All offshore races worldwide rely on honesty for all mark roundings now and have done since day dot (especially at night). Once out of sight you can do what you like even with the trackers (race supplied) that most of us use these days as there can always be a margin of inacuracy on them and GPS as was the case in the 2009 Shockwave incident which was reported to have been out as much as 500 meters, rare but can and did happen.
Cheaters have to answer to their conscience and maybe a god if you believe in it.
So if there were waypoint deepwater marks 3years ago, how many would be alive today...? I know you can't go back in time but it isn't a bad idea to consider for the future.
my 2 bob

#189 us7070

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:26 AM

It pains me to write this. The Farallons race has been run for 105 years. So what if you pick some "offset marks" around SE Farallon? Who picks them? The Law of Unintended Consequences would tell you that rounding those marks will eventually put some boats in harms way under certain conditions. This was a horrible tragedy that we as a community will have to live with. But it was an accident. More people die falling in their bathtubs than die sailing (unintentional household falls being the most common form of accidental death) around the Farallons. So, if we cannot make our bathrooms bulletproof safe, how are we to make ocean racing bulletproof safe? We're not. It just isn't possible. To quote Viper (Tom Skerrit) from Top Gun "What we do is dangerous, we push it." We go to sea in small boats in seas that are notoriously unfriendly. Even well prepared boats are rolling the dice. The difference between an epic sail and tragedy is a matter of judgement and sometimes luck.

Earlier in this thread someone cited the Mark Foo tragedy at Mavericks. Mark Foo didn't do anything wrong that day. He was more than capable of handling those conditions. He just got unlucky. It happens. Saturday's LSC tragedy may just be one of those cases. I know of one boat that rounded SE Farallon even closer than LSC. Sh*t happens, and god knows that it's painful for those of us left to hyper-analyze the incident seeking some answer that will prevent it from being us. We've been racing around the Farallons for over 100 years. We experienced a terrible accident. Now isn't the time for a knee jerk reaction thinking that some arbitrary decision is going to make this race safer. NOTHING is going to make racing in the Gulf of the Farallones safer in the spring. Nothing.



this seems to be a variation on the "unless you can make it perfectly safe, don't do anything" argument...

I'm glad the FAA doesn't follow that logic

#190 K38BOB

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:26 AM





So how far away should they be ?

Outside the 10 fathom line.

Can you say, without question, under any and all circumstances that this would be safe for any and every boat that will enter the race ?

Why? Is that the standard by which all rules are made?

Your statements (civil and criminal charges (??), the POLICE are investigating this, etc) puts the full burden of responsibility (read - liability) on the person/entity setting the limit, under any and all circumstances, based on this event. Think about it what you're suggesting.
What about you set it at 10 fathoms (X distance), and a boat at 12 fathoms (X+ distance) gets tied up in a loose fishnet, and a tragic accident happens, whereas it could be reasonably proven the accident wouldn't have been tragic if the limit was set at 15 fathoms ?
How about under the same circumstances a collision with a whale breaks your rudder and the same result happens ?
Are you willing to make that decision at the risk of a bunch of ambulance chasers coming after you because a set of unforseen circumstances occurred (involving any potential boat, and all possible variations of future weather/sea conditions) that you didn't account for ?
That is the essence of your post. You're better off to remove the island completely or any rocky shoreline from any race raced.
Maybe they should add some verbiage that ocean racing does have risks, or a work of caution about the islands in the SI's, but I think that's already obvious.


yes..or stay in your slip...or bed.

#191 enzof

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:26 AM



I suspect that they were hit by a larger wave created by the convergence of an incoming wave and a wave reflected off the rocks. Take a look at the Farallones with Google Earth: The photo I'm seeing is from a random day (March 25, 2010), and you can see the wave trains reflecting and diffracting around the island. You can't see much reflection at the west end of Maintop Island (where LSC is now on the rocks), but that's because the whole area is covered in whitewater. Notice the shape of the north-facing "bay", which may act as a parabolic reflector of sorts. When these reflections interact the seas can become extremely steep and break violently. I don't know if the swell direction on the day of this race is the same as we see in the photo, but this does show the generally prevailing conditions.


What rubbish. Try looking at the chart (which is what sailors used to use for navigation before Google Earth). Note that the bottom comes up from something like 13 fathoms to 4 fathoms in the space of about a tenth of a mile, so about 500 feet. Swell + shoaling = wave. Somewhere on the web (Ocean Navigator? Arr!) is an article (by Michael Carr?) that correlates shoaling and swell size with wave height. I'm afraid that in this case, "wrong place at the wrong time" means wrong side of the 10 fathom line in a big swell. If somebody else got through before them on the same line, they were damn lucky, but ask surfers what "sets" are.





I'm going to reply nicely....

Ah, the hell with it. We are perfectly aware of what shoaling means, and with the bottom contours around the Farallones (at least those of us who have sailed there, and I have). Wave reflections can cause a chaotic sea state, 10 fathom line or not. Fuck off.

OK folks what do you see on the left side of this photo?


Attached Files



#192 phillysailor

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:27 AM

To concentrate on the ways to cheat, or the possibility of cheating affecting sailboat race results in a thread discussing the death of five sailors is despicable.

#193 K38BOB

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:28 AM



What about you set it at 10 fathoms (X distance), and a boat at 12 fathoms (X+ distance) gets tied up in a loose fishnet, and a tragic accident happens, whereas it could be reasonably proven the accident wouldn't have been tragic if the limit was set at 15 fathoms ?

how is it different from rounding a real mark?
what if the course says "leave buoy 4 to starboard"?
you have a choice of leaving it 1 meter to starboard, or 100 meters to starboard - your call

The race has been run for over 100 years without tragedy, and based on this event, a mark was subsequently set specifically for safety reasons.
If it doesn't prove to be safe, for any reason, fault exists, or could be easily argued in front of a jury who doesn't know what a jib is. Implications seem pretty clear.


yes

#194 NoStrings

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:29 AM

I do however like the idea of a permanent hard buoy maintained by the OYRA, set outside the 10 fathom contour. We, as a community could raise funds to maintain it and name it to reflect the tragedy.

R~


As the YRA buoy manager, let me give you some numbers: The buoy by itself is going to be "special" IOW it will have to have radar reflectors, lights, and be somewhat large. We're talking $5K. It will need the anchor from hell to hold it to the bottom. We're talking maybe 2500 lbs. There's $15K. Add in the ground tackle (another 10K), and the costs to launch it ($10K) and you're into "real" money. How to maintain it? NO ONE is going to dive on it to check the gear. Hauling it and changing out ground tackle is going to cost 10K/yr. at a minimum. I can't keep the Fleet Week asshats from mooring to Blackaller long enought to keep it on station for more than half a year. Ft Mason (YRA 6) was on station for 5 months before some dickhead vandalized it and cut it loose. Hell man, we couldn't keep Yellow Bluff on station through a winter.

You might "like" the idea, but it just isn't feasible.

#195 Trevor B

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:31 AM

If you want to make it safer, make sure people do not sail between the Middle Farallon Island, the shoal/reef just to the SW of Middle Farallon, and the SE Farallon Islands since this entire area is what is a bit shallow for the size of the waves that roll through in a solid NW'ly.

Some time back we rounded during the DHF and there were breaking waves for at least a mile to windward of the SE Farallones, it was MUCH nastier than last Saturday. A virtual mark would not have helped at all.

I actually think rounding a virtual point just to the northwest of Middle Farallon, and then SE Farallon, would make it safer, as well as a better race since it would be more of a beat out, and there would be additional racing required out in the "real" ocean.

#196 coyotepup

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:31 AM


A GPS waypoint would be difficult to enforce:

  • Most boats doing these races don't have a position recording device or the crew does not know or have the cables to read them out
  • Even if they have such equipment, it does typically not record GPS signal integrity
  • Even if it does record signal integrity, anyone can easily modify the files and all positions/times etc. before submitting

Soaring uses GPS to record waypoints and restricted area violations.
You can find the requirements for such recording devices here: FAI / IGC approved flight recorder (71 page PDF, enjoy)
I have designed and shipped a few thousand IGC approved GPS (flight) recorders.
You don't want to go there, trust me.

If someone introduces GPS waypoints without extensive requirements on the recording device, I will win any race sailed under these 'rules'.
Go ahead, make my day.



Are you for real....? Are you suggesting that you would cheat if these rules were brought in...?All offshore races worldwide rely on honesty for all mark roundings now and have done since day dot (especially at night). Once out of sight you can do what you like even with the trackers (race supplied) that most of us use these days as there can always be a margin of inacuracy on them and GPS as was the case in the 2009 Shockwave incident which was reported to have been out as much as 500 meters, rare but can and did happen.
Cheaters have to answer to their conscience and maybe a god if you believe in it.
So if there were waypoint deepwater marks 3years ago, how many would be alive today...? I know you can't go back in time but it isn't a bad idea to consider for the future.
my 2 bob

Problem is that most of those races have actual marks to round, and the vast majority of competitors round them in sight of other boats. If someone cuts them it's easy to see. If someone cuts a waypoint, there's nothing but speculation and accusations and based on the inaccuracy across GPS units, one boat could honestly believe they rounded the waypoint correctly and another could honestly believe they didn't.

#197 K38BOB

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:33 AM

There is a permanent private buoy or a mooring just off the East Landing of Southeast Farallon in about 6 fathoms of water that might work as a turning mark for the races that use the Islands as a turning mark. Unlike temporary race buoys it would not need to be dropped off and picked up before and after the races and would not require focussed attention on a GPS or chart during a race. It would preserve most of the character of the race...


No it wouldn't. Just most of the foreplay


Nothing like working to get around the top mark and cracking off and taking off with those glorious swells passing beneath you off to port crashing into the rock face. Spectacular and exhilarating. Time to gybe!


#198 K38BOB

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:36 AM


Your statements (civil and criminal charges (??), the POLICE are investigating this, etc) puts the full burden of responsibility (read - liability) on the person/entity setting the limit, under any and all circumstances, based on this event. Think about it what you're suggesting.

What about you set it at 10 fathoms (X distance), and a boat at 12 fathoms (X+ distance) gets tied up in a loose fishnet, and a tragic accident happens, whereas it could be reasonably proven the accident wouldn't have been tragic if the limit was set at 15 fathoms ?

How about under the same circumstances a collision with a whale breaks your rudder and the same result happens ?

Are you willing to make that decision at the risk of a bunch of ambulance chasers coming after you because a set of unforseen circumstances occurred (involving any potential boat, and all possible variations of future weather/sea conditions) that you didn't account for ?

That is the essence of your post. You're better off to remove the island completely or any rocky shoreline from any race raced.

Maybe they should add some verbiage that ocean racing does have risks, or a work of caution about the islands in the SI's, but I think that's already obvious.


Ok, forget the legal arguments. That's not my strong suit, nor the real strength of this opinion.

How about these:
1. Avoid deaths of future competitors.
2. Let the families of the deceased know that we want to prevent others from being put in their situation.
3. Avoid putting the CG in jeopardy.

The problem with making the Farallons a mark of the race, is that it gives skippers an incentive to perform a risky behavior. That doesn't need to be a facet of the race, which is supposed to be a pleasurable activity. Even the administration of the race should be enjoyable, otherwise few will volunteer to RC. Giving them nightmares isn't going to help.

Make the course go around "marks" which are in close proximity to the rocks, but not the rocks themselves, and you no longer are rewarding the risky behavior. If individual skippers want to cheat death by sailing close to the Farallons, go ahead! Do it on your own time. But it need not be encouraged by an amateur sailboat race!


or we could just do it on video simulators..

I'm going to let you know that the Farallones races aren't the only reason why boaters perish out there..

#199 NoStrings

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:38 AM


It pains me to write this. The Farallons race has been run for 105 years. So what if you pick some "offset marks" around SE Farallon? Who picks them? The Law of Unintended Consequences would tell you that rounding those marks will eventually put some boats in harms way under certain conditions. This was a horrible tragedy that we as a community will have to live with. But it was an accident. More people die falling in their bathtubs than die sailing (unintentional household falls being the most common form of accidental death) around the Farallons. So, if we cannot make our bathrooms bulletproof safe, how are we to make ocean racing bulletproof safe? We're not. It just isn't possible. To quote Viper (Tom Skerrit) from Top Gun "What we do is dangerous, we push it." We go to sea in small boats in seas that are notoriously unfriendly. Even well prepared boats are rolling the dice. The difference between an epic sail and tragedy is a matter of judgement and sometimes luck.

Earlier in this thread someone cited the Mark Foo tragedy at Mavericks. Mark Foo didn't do anything wrong that day. He was more than capable of handling those conditions. He just got unlucky. It happens. Saturday's LSC tragedy may just be one of those cases. I know of one boat that rounded SE Farallon even closer than LSC. Sh*t happens, and god knows that it's painful for those of us left to hyper-analyze the incident seeking some answer that will prevent it from being us. We've been racing around the Farallons for over 100 years. We experienced a terrible accident. Now isn't the time for a knee jerk reaction thinking that some arbitrary decision is going to make this race safer. NOTHING is going to make racing in the Gulf of the Farallones safer in the spring. Nothing.


Well sir, the FAA has the mandate to make commercial aviation 99% safe. They can't fix that 1% though, and if you happen to be on the right plane on the right day at the right time...you're screwed. That is a fact of life. Could we require the fleet to sail around offset marks? Sure. Guarantee me that those marks will keep everyone from being swamped by a wave that has traveled 6 thousand miles from the Gulf of Alaska, and has risen from 5k feet of water into 10 fathoms. 7070, there are literally hundreds of wrecks littering the bottom of the Gulf of the Farallones. Making it ultimately safe just isn't going to happen.




this seems to be a variation on the "unless you can make it perfectly safe, don't do anything" argument...

I'm glad the FAA doesn't follow that logic



#200 NoStrings

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 02:41 AM

If you want to make it safer, make sure people do not sail between the Middle Farallon Island, the shoal/reef just to the SW of Middle Farallon, and the SE Farallon Islands since this entire area is what is a bit shallow for the size of the waves that roll through in a solid NW'ly.

Some time back we rounded during the DHF and there were breaking waves for at least a mile to windward of the SE Farallones, it was MUCH nastier than last Saturday. A virtual mark would not have helped at all.

I actually think rounding a virtual point just to the northwest of Middle Farallon, and then SE Farallon, would make it safer, as well as a better race since it would be more of a beat out, and there would be additional racing required out in the "real" ocean.


IMHO, this is the most rational suggestion yet.




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