Wide-open discussion of the loss of Low Speed Chase

How about everyone put their opinions, bs, speculations, etc, here, and leave the other forum for those who want to share their grief together--ok?

I'll start off: Navas, your plug for the sfgate story that you happened to opine in was totally self-serving and also gives a distorted view of offshore racing to a generally uninformed public via a almost criminally wreckless media. How 'bout you make sure folks know its just your opinion, huh?

As an example of the media's distortions, now it seems you won a full-crewed Farallones race all by your ownsey. Last I checked, you don't even own a boat.

Bob Walden

 

NoStrings

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Well well well, John Navas patting himself on the back. How fucking unique. Johns major claim to fame was teaching the owner of Phantom Mist how to sail. What mad skills. Fucking wanker.

 

unShirley

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How about everyone put their opinions, bs, speculations, etc, here, and leave the other forum for those who want to share their grief together--ok?

It seems that LSC was too close to the island. All serious racers try to round the mark as close as possible, But, this time it proved to be fatal.

 

Raz'r

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My understanding from a quote out of SFYC is that he followed another's track. Wrong place at the wrong time. Sneaker wave, something doubling up, hard to say. Pretty sure that tethers wouldn't have helped.

It's clear from a John note on the SFSailing email list that he was right there watching them. He had first hand knowledge for sure.

 

krispy kreme

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Just read this in the gate, still clearing my throat of the little bit of upchuck.

Saturday's conditions were choppy but not unusual for the area. Most boats in the Farallones race stay at least a few hundred yards from the islands, but some skirt closer to save time, said John Navas of Morgan Hill, who won the race two years ago.

'Very unpredictable'

"It's extremely dangerous, but a lot of boats do it," Navas said. "The problem is that, close to the islands, the waves build rapidly and steeply and very suddenly. It can be very unpredictable."

Although all the sailors who were swept overboard were wearing life jackets, none was tethered. The Coast Guard makes tethers optional in races such as Saturday's.

Some local sailors said tethers - ropes linking a sailor to the boat - can save lives in high seas. But others said they can also drag an overboard sailor under the boat.

"Almost all race boats are pretty lax about tethers," Navas said. "I'm not sure if these guys being tethered would have prevented anything."

Tell us John which was your boat in the race 2 years ago? Emily Carr? Summer Moon? Joyride? Ohana?

http://www.yra.org/OYRA/docs/Results/OYRA_farallones_2010_results.htm

 
From the first hand account I heard from one of the Cal40's is that LSC wasn't any closer than we were. I'm sure we'll all think twice about how close we are next time. Side note, none of us were tethered on our boat either. I have mixed feelings about that though.

 

oceanracer

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Tethers are made with a quick release. Bottom line is that the boat is still there, but bodies are not. Wear your tether.

 

Go Left

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That sort of press-posing is indeed painful to read.

Also painful are comments like Post #74, where it is suggested that the poster would "drop sails and start the momo". Beyond being clueless about what was reasonable and effective rendering of assistance out there, is this guy too cool or what? "Momo?" Wears his topsiders to the opera, does he?

If any of my crew suggested starting the "momo" in a man overboard situation, I think I'd be very tempted to cut his/her tether...when we got back on shore.

 
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Raz'r

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We are almost always tethered out there - but imagine a situation where the boat gets rolled, tethers might be a problem. I do have the "quick release" sort of tether. Wasn't it Rambler that recently lost it's keel, and none of the guys were tethered in (fortunately)?

 

another 505 sailor

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We are almost always tethered out there - but imagine a situation where the boat gets rolled, tethers might be a problem. I do have the "quick release" sort of tether. Wasn't it Rambler that recently lost it's keel, and none of the guys were tethered in (fortunately)?
The guy tangled in rigging survived. Tethers would not have prevented getting hit by the waves, but they would likely increase one's chance for survival in this case.

Like in a car, sometimes you want to be thrown clear. But I'll take my chances with the seatbelt.

 
Trying to fit it all together: LSC had rounded to starboard and was starting to reach off downwind past/on the NW side of the island when a wave broke slightly aft of the port beam and took some of the crew off. Do I have that right?

 

SemiSalt

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As an east coast guy, I wonder how the death and destruction totals for races to the Farallones compare to the totals (all years) for the Bermuda Race, Vineyard Race, Annapolis-Newport, etc.

 

Kenny Dumas

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Seems like they got closer to the rocks because they were trying to save the crew in the water. Might not have been that close if they'd been tethered. Anybody know how long after the first wave the second one hit? And how much closer to the island they were?

 

amolitor

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Tethers, no tethers, whatever. I think that:

- The Gulf of the Farallons is an extremely dangerous patch of water

- We're very close, in terms of our safety practices, to the irreducible minimum rate of fatalities

- .. and therefore finding fault with accident victims mostly reinforces a false sense of security

If we go down the path of 'they should have been tethered' then we'll tend to think 'If only I stay tethered, I will be safe' which is simply false. The Gulf is just plain very goddamned dangerous.

That said, I stay tethered offshore, racing or not.

 

coyotepup

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I'll start off: Navas, your plug for the sfgate story that you happened to opine in was totally self-serving and also gives a distorted view of offshore racing to a generally uninformed public via a almost criminally wreckless media.
It sucks ass that 95% of news media coverage of sailing is the result of a death. I don't think the general public at large has a negative view of sailing but unfortunately there's a cadre of shitty people who sit around all day cramming cheezy poofs into their face and thinking that everything even remotely dangerous ought to be outlawed - and a few of them certainly showed up in the comment section of the article. These are the same people who think it's mean to play tag at recess. Their paranoia is fed by the media, and worst of all, they have just as much of a vote as the rest of us.

I've never sailed on the west coast let alone seen the Farallones or know those waters, so I have absolutely no comment on whether Low Speed Chase was too close to the rocks in the first place. I have to assume they were doing nothing more dangerous than any other skipper would, although I have seen some suggesting they should never have been in as close as they were. IMO anyone who blames the wreck on "pilot error" without having seen it firsthand is the same as the above uninformed troglodytes.

I think it's tragically ironic that last summer's Wingnuts incident "raised questions" about the use of tethers and whether people were being too heavy-handed on mandating their use etc etc (witness the semi-yellow journalism at the beginning of this article) and this year's season kicks off with a tragic incident tailor-made for tethers of any kind, and the yellow journalism is going the other way and "suggesting" that the CG and race organizers are delinquent in not requiring them. When I got a tether and harness as a birthday present in preparation for my first PH-Mac I wondered what the hell, and I don't think that tether and harness left my bag the whole race. (In my defense, it was a really flat race, plus I was younger and dumber.) These days, at night, or in seas, or if seas look like they're on the way, or whether I'm riding the rail or working on the low side, TETHER IN. Tether first, THEN whatever I went down there to do. I didn't need this tragedy to tell me that, but it's certainly a helpful reminder. I don't know which race boats Navas means when he says everyone's being lax about tethers, but he certainly doesn't mean the boat I sailed on in Long Island Sound and he DEFINITELY isn't referring to my Michigan ride.

 

Raz'r

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Nor is John referring to any vessel I sail on "out there" but John is everywhere, and sees everything.

 

JustDroppingBy

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As an east coast guy, I wonder how the death and destruction totals for races to the Farallones compare to the totals (all years) for the Bermuda Race, Vineyard Race, Annapolis-Newport, etc.
I believe there has not been a death in Crewed Farallones before this. SFYC runs the race and had not suffered a fatality in any of their events until now. SH and DH are run by two other organizations in the Bay and at least the DH has had fatalities in the past.

 

DarthSailor

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That sort of press-posing is indeed painful to read.

Also painful are comments like Post #74, where it is suggested that the poster would "drop sails and start the momo". Beyond being clueless about what was reasonable and effective rendering of assistance out there, is this guy too cool or what? "Momo?" Wears his topsiders to the opera, does he?

If any of my crew suggested starting the "momo" in a man overboard situation, I think I'd be very tempted to cut his/her tether...when we got back on shore.
So you're saying trying to motor towards a hazard in omni-directional 15ft chop is a bad idea?

I agree that mr. momo is a clueless ass hat. In another race years ago in similar conditions (if not location) a boat tried motoring to retrieve a someone overboard and not only were they unsuccessful but they ended up on the hard hiding under a sail overnight until rescued. To a person they will tell that trying the motor was a mistake and they are fortunate to be alive today. Their lee shore was much more forgiving than those rocks off San Fran.

 

Black Jack

Super Anarchist
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.

 

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