the Story from Low Speed Chase

Editor

Administrator
Staff member
6,681
1,101
carlsbad
Bryan Chong is a surviving crew member of the Sydney 38 Low Speed Chase which lost the lives of five people during the disastrous Full Crew Farallones Race in San Francisco. Here, he tells his story.

This letter goes out to a devastated sailing community still confused about the events surrounding the 2012 Full Crew Farallones Race. There have been inaccuracies in the media, mostly stemming from the survivors’ silence as James (“Jay”), Nick and I are still reeling from tragedy and the loss of close friends and loved ones.

I’ve chosen to use Sailing Anarchy for distributing this story because they’re of a kindred spirit and were the favorites amongst the crew of Low Speed Chase and those who already know the answer to the question, “Why would you sail in the ocean on a windy day with big swells?”

I’ve also included the Marin Independent Journal and The Tiburon Ark, as they’re the hometown newspapers in an area teeming with sailors. Many sailors relocate from around the world to Marin and the Tiburon Peninsula in order to live in proximity to the world’s best sailing. Alan Cahill moved from Cork, Ireland to race sailboats professionally in the Bay Area and the Pacific Ocean. He was the best man in our wedding and will be dearly missed while I journey this planet.

This letter does not contain every detail, but my account should provide a basic understanding of our day on the water and what happened after the first wave hit our boat. It is meant both to illustrate how things can look normal until one event changes everything and to begin to address what we can learn. It’s my hope and intention that it will spark a wider dialogue within the sailing community about safety standards and, more importantly, safety practices.

Why do we sail?

A sailor’s mind set is no different from that of any other athlete who chooses to participate in a sport that has some risk. It’s a healthy addiction. Despite the highly publicized deaths of Sonny Bono and Michael Kennedy, skiers all over the world continue to hit the slopes each winter. Sitting on the couch is safer than ripping down a slope, but the reward makes the risk worthwhile. Continued on the front page.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

duncan

Super Anarchist
1,686
0
Brooklyn
Thanks for your write-up, Mr. Chong. My condolences to you and the other friends and family of those aboard Low Speed Chase on that terrible day.

 

U20guy2

Super Anarchist
12,330
3
Bryan Chong is a surviving crew member of the Sydney 38 Low Speed Chase which lost the lives of five people during the disastrous Full Crew Farallones Race in San Francisco. Here, he tells his story.

This letter goes out to a devastated sailing community still confused about the events surrounding the 2012 Full Crew Farallones Race. There have been inaccuracies in the media, mostly stemming from the survivors’ silence as James (“Jay”), Nick and I are still reeling from tragedy and the loss of close friends and loved ones.

I’ve chosen to use Sailing Anarchy for distributing this story because they’re of a kindred spirit and were the favorites amongst the crew of Low Speed Chase and those who already know the answer to the question, “Why would you sail in the ocean on a windy day with big swells?”

I’ve also included the Marin Independent Journal and The Tiburon Ark, as they’re the hometown newspapers in an area teeming with sailors. Many sailors relocate from around the world to Marin and the Tiburon Peninsula in order to live in proximity to the world’s best sailing. Alan Cahill moved from Cork, Ireland to race sailboats professionally in the Bay Area and the Pacific Ocean. He was the best man in our wedding and will be dearly missed while I journey this planet.

This letter does not contain every detail, but my account should provide a basic understanding of our day on the water and what happened after the first wave hit our boat. It is meant both to illustrate how things can look normal until one event changes everything and to begin to address what we can learn. It’s my hope and intention that it will spark a wider dialogue within the sailing community about safety standards and, more importantly, safety practices.

Why do we sail?

A sailor’s mind set is no different from that of any other athlete who chooses to participate in a sport that has some risk. It’s a healthy addiction. Despite the highly publicized deaths of Sonny Bono and Michael Kennedy, skiers all over the world continue to hit the slopes each winter. Sitting on the couch is safer than ripping down a slope, but the reward makes the risk worthwhile. Continued on the front page.

Bryan you and other survivors deserve the highest possible respect and support from the Sailing community as you work through this tragedy and share your thoughts with us. All of us no doubt wish to learn from fellow sailors regarding how to handle situations of the worst kind. It is sailors like you who make it possible to help us improve our safety, have the right thought process or as close as we can get regarding what we should be thinking and doing when we find our selves facing similar situations.

 

CraftyBob

Member
120
0
Dublin
Great write up.

Answers a lot of questions and dispells a lot of inaccuracies, many of which were never suspected.

Thanks for the submission.
+1

Fair play Bryan. I hope you can find the courage to get back out in the water and share your advice with others.

Thanks for your write-up

 

opusone

Anarchist
889
1
Bryan -

Thank you very much for taking the time and showing your courage to put the events of that tragic day in writing. Hope to see you back on the water soon.

Cheers,

opusone

 

Clove Hitch

Halyard licker
10,348
1,600
around and about
Bryan Chong is a surviving crew member of the Sydney 38 Low Speed Chase which lost the lives of five people during the disastrous Full Crew Farallones Race in San Francisco. Here, he tells his story.

This letter goes out to a devastated sailing community still confused about the events surrounding the 2012 Full Crew Farallones Race. There have been inaccuracies in the media, mostly stemming from the survivors' silence as James ("Jay"), Nick and I are still reeling from tragedy and the loss of close friends and loved ones.

I've chosen to use Sailing Anarchy for distributing this story because they're of a kindred spirit and were the favorites amongst the crew of Low Speed Chase and those who already know the answer to the question, "Why would you sail in the ocean on a windy day with big swells?"

I've also included the Marin Independent Journal and The Tiburon Ark, as they're the hometown newspapers in an area teeming with sailors. Many sailors relocate from around the world to Marin and the Tiburon Peninsula in order to live in proximity to the world's best sailing. Alan Cahill moved from Cork, Ireland to race sailboats professionally in the Bay Area and the Pacific Ocean. He was the best man in our wedding and will be dearly missed while I journey this planet.

This letter does not contain every detail, but my account should provide a basic understanding of our day on the water and what happened after the first wave hit our boat. It is meant both to illustrate how things can look normal until one event changes everything and to begin to address what we can learn. It's my hope and intention that it will spark a wider dialogue within the sailing community about safety standards and, more importantly, safety practices.

Why do we sail?

A sailor's mind set is no different from that of any other athlete who chooses to participate in a sport that has some risk. It's a healthy addiction. Despite the highly publicized deaths of Sonny Bono and Michael Kennedy, skiers all over the world continue to hit the slopes each winter. Sitting on the couch is safer than ripping down a slope, but the reward makes the risk worthwhile. Continued on the front page.

Bryan you and other survivors deserve the highest possible respect and support from the Sailing community as you work through this tragedy and share your thoughts with us. All of us no doubt wish to learn from fellow sailors regarding how to handle situations of the worst kind. It is sailors like you who make it possible to help us improve our safety, have the right thought process or as close as we can get regarding what we should be thinking and doing when we find our selves facing similar situations.
I'm sorry for your loss, Bryan, and hope you get the support and guidance you need to go forward after such a horrible experience. Years ago I was descending a climb when my buddy fucked up his rappel and fell to his death. Survivor's guilt can last a long, long time. Based on your "reflections," I'd say your head is in the right place.

 

dogbark

Member
Thank you Bryan for sharing your story and experience. My condolences and I hope I will learn from this tragedy. Thanks to the whole SA community, this is the best part of this sometimes trying forum.

 

Tige

Member
108
0
Thank You Bryan.

Not only did you explain the tragedy in a way which we can relate to, you took the time to share what you learned and passed that knowledge along.

 

U20guy2

Super Anarchist
12,330
3
Bryan your comment about the wave and the force of the water just ripping everything off the boat really confirms my lesson a few years back where I was slapped off the rail on a very similar day doing the same race. Nothing like the wave you faced but the load of green water that blasted me off the rail spun me around the shrouds and sent me skidding across the deck was one hell of a hit and eye opener regarding what that green water can do. I was sore for days and had nice black and blue racing stripes down my back from the shrouds. I too had my tether with me and over my shoulder and was not clipped in. Since that trip I often am the only one on deck not only with a tether but also clipped in.. Feels weird being the only one but as you put it you start to think about what sort of impact and issues does a MOB cause when things go pear shaped etc.

When your hit by a wave like that, its just you even when one of your closest friends is nearly sitting in your lap moments before.

Thank you soooo much for the letter.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

HSG

Member
99
0
Thanks for sharing the write-up and insight. Very sorry for your loss. I miss ocean crossings where time stands still, a rythym develops with the wind and waves, no buildings, roads or drive thrus, shifts spent sailing and sleeping marked by the locations of the sun, stars and moon, it is endless..... You are aware of the thin line between society and anarchy.

 

d'ranger

Super Anarchist
29,213
4,306
Excellent writeup and kudos for the details on safety. It is so easy to become complacent and especially for those who have never experienced a MOB. I hope that none of us ever experience waves like that, it seems a miracle that anyone survived.

 




Top