LOW SPEED CHASE Final Report: “A Failure of Seamanship”

From Latitude 38, August 8, 2012 – San Francisco Bay

The day after the race, the remains of Low Speed Chase stood as a grim reminder of the worst tragedy in the history of Northern California offshore racing. © 2012 Sophie Webb

At least one other boat sailed in water as shallow as did the Sydney 38 Low Speed Chase during the tragic Full Crew Farallones Race of April 14, a race which saw five of the eight Low Speed Chase crew perish as a result of their boat being hit by a breaking wave .2 of a mile from SE Farallon Island. Low Speed Chase was in 28 feet of water when she was hit by a breaking wave estimated to be over 30 feet high. These are some of the more interesting findings in the just-released final report by a special independent US Sailing investigative panel. The complete report can be found at US Sailing.

The incident was investigated and analyzed by a panel of 10 highly experienced ocean sailors, most of them with extensive experience sailing in the unique conditions found in the Gulf of the Farallones. In our estimation, the panel, headed by Sally Lindsay Honey, did an outstanding job of compiling a definitive 89-page report that was as illuminating as it was fact-based. Before anyone voices an opinion on what happened, why, and the aftermath, we think they owe it to themselves and everyone else to carefully read the entire report and examine the accompanying graphics. Based on the report, we now have a much greater and more nuanced understanding of what caused the tragedy, as well as how chaotic things were in the immediate aftermath.

continued on Latitude 38

 

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