I had the opportunity to participate in the memorial procession Saturday evening during sunset. Many of the yacht clubs in our area sent their race
committee boats, and I was invited to be part of the delegation representing my yacht club.
I would guess that there were at least 150 boats present. The procession was lead by a coast guard rescue
boat. The San Francisco
YC RC boat formed a gate with a Protector RIB
with a piper. As we passed through this gate we all dropped flowers into the water
. Then, the fleet circled back in among the flowers and there was a long silence while eight bells were rung.
There was not a dry eye on our boat, especially because one of the fellows aboard had been the Principal Race
Officer for the race where the five crew had been lost
. He may have been the first to shed tears, but he was certainly not alone.
After five blasts from the starting gun, one for each racer
his life, the entire fleet layed on their horns. It was a moment I'll never forget.
Before the arm-chair quarterbacking starts, let's reflect on the reality that most of the crew on Low Speed Chase were every bit as competent as the finest sailors among us here on CF. If mistakes
were made, they were not mistakes
that would be unusual for sailors on an offshore
race such as this.
I've mentioned on another thread that I've raced the Double-handed Farallones personally, and have won my division in that race, which shares the same course as the Crewed Farallones race a week ago. How close one gets to the islands, which serve as the windward mark, is always a judgement call.
When we got back to our own boat, which we'd moored at Angel Island last weekend, my wife was still sad. I poured a glass of her favorite wine before asking what was wrong. All she could say was, "That could have been you, dying in a race like that."
Yes. It could have. A lot of us in this forum could say the same thing. And we should be especially humble in how we discuss the loss of Low Speed Chase.