A Rare Tragedy at Sea Hits SF’s Sailing Community

After the glorious, easy evening on our Bay that was Race 2 of the Spring Whitecap Series, it’s hard to remember that things on the water can go wrong quickly and profoundly. The conditions in San Francisco for the Farallones race were much more challenging with winds in the 20′s and a confused, 10 foot swell when the ocean ready Sydney 38, LOW SPEED CHASE, with eight experienced crew suffered a terrible tragedy.  Associated Press story from the Silicon Valley Mercury News.

By LISA LEFF and JOHN S. MARSHALL Associated Press

Posted:   04/15/2012 12:17:26 AM PDT

Updated:   04/15/2012 07:31:39 PM PDT

SAN FRANCISCO—A century-old tradition, the Full Crew Farallones Race has never been for the faint of heart: Winds averaging 10 to 20 knots and churning 14-foot Pacific Ocean swells are among the rough conditions typically braved by yachts and their crews during the daylong regatta, a spring favorite of skilled sailors.But on Saturday, powerful waves and a disastrous series of events brought rare tragedy to the august race and the San Francisco Bay area’s large sailing community.

One crew member died and four others remained missing at sea Sunday after two strong waves swept them from their boat near the rocky Farallon Islands, the halfway point of the 54-mile race that began at daybreak in San Francisco and had 49 entrants.

It was the first known fatality in the 143-year history of the San Francisco Yacht Club, which managed the race for the Offshore Yacht Racing Association and where the yacht involved in the accident, the 38-foot Low Speed Chase, was based, club director Ed Lynch said.

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