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Old 18-04-2012, 07:55   #61
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Re: Rogue-wave tragedy at the Farallons

This is the problem with listeing to the Media... They often make inacurate statements of fact that are clearly wrong, but they have a deadline.

The Gulf of Farallones (Islands) are a Federal Wildlife Refuge actually located in the City & County of San Francisco. Tiburon and its Police Department have nothing to do with it, except that the boat was based out of San Francisco YC, which is ctually located in the COty of Tiburon.

In addition, the San Francsico Yacht Club reported they had never lost a crewman before on this race, but as previsously stated there have been deaths associated with both the Single, Double and Full crew Farallone Races over the years as well as the other OYRA races off San Francisco Bay.

The USCG will investigate the accident and subsequently file a report of the accident with recommendations. Like any investigation this takes time, to ensure accuracy...

Anything could have happened out there...

Yes, they could have cut the island to close, but they could have also lost the crewman overboard and tried to rescue him, and then got caught in the surf... They could have also had a major rig catstrophe that caused them to lose power and drift into the surf line or any other million things that started a chain of events that lead to five sailors dying.

As far as we know the only eye witnesses to the event, before the boat ended upon the rocks were the three living crewman... And they haven't spoken publically.

The fact is, sailing can be dangerous... A split second can change a nice sail into disaster. Crewman get tired, look the wrong way at the wrong moment, boat parts fail, or nature decides it is time to mess with you.

What I am ramblling about is, we can speculate all day on what happened, but does it really service a purpose to discuss something based on reporters telling us what happened or "want-to-be experts". In recent history, I think everyone can recall the press making "Mistakes" before.

I for one will withhold judgement until the official report of the accident comes out before making comments or judgements.
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Old 18-04-2012, 10:02   #62
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Re: Rogue-wave tragedy at the Farallons

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Originally Posted by Custom30 View Post
In the days before GPS chart plotters, the Ft. Lauderdale to Key West race created the same risk/reward trade off.

The closer you ran to the reefs the less northing current you faced. Close enough in and you might even catch a counter current here and there. It was a navigator's race. Normally a very fast reach/run affair, it was not the best sailor who won, but the best navigator.

This left racers with not just one set of rocks to flirt with, but miles and miles of them, usually on the lee. Unlike the Farallons, they are submerged and just as deadly to a racing boat.

Racers will be racers, Rules requiring boats to finish with all of the crew members who began the race were borne out of ocean racing skipper's refusals to retrieve a man overboard, due to losing the race. Let's hope the race committee leaves the rules alone. If they want safe sailing, we can sail automated boats with GPS courses.

This is a terrible tragedy, and these men knew the risks. They died while living, not sitting in front of a television. May they win every race in the hereafter!



s/v Minka


Just to clarify the situation...The Farallon Islands are surrounded by barely submerged rocks....they can just reach up and grab ya....in very unforgiving pounding surf and currents which are ever present around those rocky promotories...generally one has to be ready for a rugged sailing experience out there....which, of course, is part of the draw...for those who have need for that stuff....Oh ya, and its cold...
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Old 18-04-2012, 10:23   #63
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Re: Rogue-wave tragedy at the Farallons

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I'd be surprised if virtual marks are not the way of the future. There'll be the naysayers, but I guess some folks will always be scathing of something new.
I dibs the first spot in line among the naysayers.

Take it from someone who has actually raced around the Farallones: were you to replace these islands with a virtual mark, you would rip the heart right out of the race. The whole point is to get out to the islands. It's one of the most spectacular weather marks in all of racing. The Pacific comes in after 5,000 miles of fetch, and absolutely bashes against these rocks. The sea life around there is equally spectacular.

After rounding the Farallones, one is left with the feeling that everything it took to get out there was worth it, even though you only get to spend 15 or 20 minutes circumnavigating the islands themselves. You want to replace that experience with virtual marks? Just because it might be safer?

Nay!
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Old 18-04-2012, 10:24   #64
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Re: Rogue-wave tragedy at the Farallons

Was there even a requirement to round the island from South to North or the other way around?

At 25 k wind, most SF racers are still looking for bigger sails to raise!
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Old 18-04-2012, 10:49   #65
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Re: Rogue-wave tragedy at the Farallons

There were eye witness reports (other competing boats) relayed to the race committee at the time of the incident. I agree it's a good idea to wait on the "official " findings, but it doesn't appear there's much room for speculation.
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Old 18-04-2012, 11:20   #66
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Re: Rogue-wave tragedy at the Farallons

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Was there even a requirement to round the island from South to North or the other way around?

At 25 k wind, most SF racers are still looking for bigger sails to raise!
In this particular race you can take the island to either port or starboard.
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Old 18-04-2012, 12:57   #67
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Re: Rogue-wave tragedy at the Farallons

If the scenery is so important to this race- fair enough. Make the west mark the R-28 buoy next to Noonday Rock. Then they can pass the mark close and still see the islands from a distance. But that is just a suggestion looking at the charts.
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Old 18-04-2012, 14:13   #68
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Re: Rogue-wave tragedy at the Farallons

was the tragedy caused by the waves or the fact no one was clipped in???

The waves may have tossed them overboard, but it's the fact that they weren't clipped that turned it into a tragedy..

So sad when an entirely avoidable tragedy occurs...
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Old 18-04-2012, 14:27   #69
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Re: Rogue-wave tragedy at the Farallons

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I dibs the first spot in line among the naysayers.

Take it from someone who has actually raced around the Farallones: were you to replace these islands with a virtual mark, you would rip the heart right out of the race. The whole point is to get out to the islands. It's one of the most spectacular weather marks in all of racing. The Pacific comes in after 5,000 miles of fetch, and absolutely bashes against these rocks. The sea life around there is equally spectacular.

After rounding the Farallones, one is left with the feeling that everything it took to get out there was worth it, even though you only get to spend 15 or 20 minutes circumnavigating the islands themselves. You want to replace that experience with virtual marks? Just because it might be safer?

Nay!
No reason you can't still round the islands while using virtual marks. It would just reward people for rounding them safely instead of rewarding them for the most dangerous choices. I'm with you on the nanny state stuff, but this seems like a no-brainer to me. I started solo sailing to the Farallones regularly in '92 at the age of 20, mostly because my friends at the time were not interested in sailing. In retrospect I did a lot of foolish things out there in much worse conditions than those at the time of this incident, and so did a lot of others. I remember seeing wind surfers out on the Point Reyes Shelf almost as far out as the Islands. Once I watched one take about half an hour to get on his board and get his sail up, conditions were that ugly. He refused any assistance, even though he was floundering around in the worlds largest breeding ground for great whites. I think people should be allowed to make such poor decisions all they want on their own, but when you throw in a race committee suddenly there is all sorts of responsibility involved. In this case I think a little discretion could be the better part of valor.
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Old 18-04-2012, 14:28   #70
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Re: Rogue-wave tragedy at the Farallons

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were you to replace these islands with a virtual mark, you would rip the heart right out of the race.
No one said anything about removing the islands from the race, just about setting marks that would require a minimum standoff. One that could be considered a rational distance from the rocks.

One of the inherent challenges of new technology is how you use it...

And I KNOW yer a technology adopter big time.. the Bash has every bell and whistle there is ... ; -)

And one of things my dive master taught me was ya should NEVER dress up like a sharks favorite food (seals) and then go swimming in the dining room.... Diving and surfing out there is just plain bug-nuts.
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Old 18-04-2012, 15:10   #71
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Re: Rogue-wave tragedy at the Farallons

I just pulled this picture of the Island off of the Latitude38 website.

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Old 18-04-2012, 16:51   #72
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Re: Rogue-wave tragedy at the Farallons

nuff said...John A.....nuff said
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Old 19-04-2012, 04:52   #73
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Re: Rogue-wave tragedy at the Farallons

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The race instructions are quite simple. Round the Farallons and return. It is up to the Master of the boat to make the decision as to how close or far one stands from the "mark". At some point, one has to/needs to take responsibility for ones own actions/decisions...
Well, that's all well and good for single-handed racing - you make your own bed and you lie in it - but what about some consideration for the crew in crewed racing.

While we'll know more about what happened in this case in due course, if we presume for the moment that the fatal course taken was the intended course, then it is highly likely there would have been dissension on that decision among the crew.

Maybe the dissenting crew should have pointed out the danger - and maybe they did. But they're hardly in a position to act on their own judgement should they be overruled. They can't stop the boat and get off; they are in the hands of their skipper.

Reminds me of the story about Admiral Sir Clowdisley Shovell in 1707 leading his fleet of four or five warships in thick fog onto the rocks of the Scilly Isles with massive loss of life. Just prior, a crew member, whose own dead reckoning suggested that outcome, gathered the courage to tell the Admiral of his concerns and was promptly hanged for mutiny.

Dissenting crew these days are not hanged, but all crew need protection from skippers who have that win-at-all-costs mindset.

A no-go zone around the rocks - aka a virtual mark in the vicinity of the rocks but safely clear of them, would provide protection for crew from foolish decisions of a skipper.

Imho, crew in particular ought to campaign for such virtual nav marks; race organisers must then decide whether to carry the risk themselves or concede the argument. When the option is clearly presented, I'd wager that virtual marks will become reality.
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Old 19-04-2012, 11:40   #74
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Re: Rogue-wave tragedy at the Farallons

[QUOTE=At sea;934675]
While we'll know more about what happened in this case in due course, if we presume for the moment that the fatal course taken was the intended course, then it is highly likely there would have been dissension on that decision among the crew.

Maybe the dissenting crew should have pointed out the danger - and maybe they did. But they're hardly in a position to act on their own judgement should they be overruled. They can't stop the boat and get off; they are in the hands of their skipper.

This is the thing that worries me... Making assumptions not in fact. You are presuming, even for arguments sake, the Skipper decided his vessel's fate... Thus, whether intentional or not, you are branding him a murderer...

This happens daily in the media and by the TV talking heads. People then repeat the comments as fact and a man's reputation is ruined. Of course after the true facts come out, there is the usual one paragraph retraction on the back page of the newspaper. But how do repair his reputation?

One of the surviving crewman made a statement yesterday and is quoted by Latitude 38 Sailing Magazine as stating:

"The ocean is powerful and lacks the compassion that has been so generously bestowed by friends, family, neighbors and the sailing community. We’ll spend years looking back on this weekend, asking questions that may never have answers. Sailboat racing is about making the best decision with the information at hand. Organizers strive to create the best routes and race environment. Captains and crew strive to get around the race course as quickly and safely as possible. The entire crew of wet smiles that went sailing toward the Farallon Islands on the Low Speed Chase would not want this tragedy to overshadow the rewards of sailboat racing".

www.latitude38.com/lectronic/LectronicLat.lasso

Many things could have happened out there, beyond the control of the Skipper... We know a wave washed over the deck and sweep crew into the water...

Anyone know what the breaking strength of a Jackline is when six crewmembers pull on it simultaneously while being pushed by a 12 foot rogue wave?

IMHO: Sailboat racing is a wonderful sport, but it can be dangerous... Hobart and countless other races have proved that point... Virtual buoys or marks will not take the danger out of sailboat racing any more than placing rubber pads on a boom to prevent head injuries.

Stuff happens, if you survive, you are better for it. Now I am not stating you should take unnecessary risks... that is just plain stupid, but even a prudent sailor will find trouble on the ocean if he passes enough miles under the keel.

This is what makes this sport so challenging and rewarding... How many of us have sat around telling stories of defying the ocean and death yet another time...

Debate the merits of the race rules, safety equipment and anything else, but please for the sake of the surviving crew and families, some of who follow this forum, leave the crew and their actions out of it until the facts come out...
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Old 19-04-2012, 12:17   #75
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Re: Rogue-wave tragedy at the Farallons

it is easy for people to point finger and spew judgement! media journalists who actually may not know a thing about sailing are the first to start...
the tragic reality of this is, in my opinion, that it truly could have happened to anyone out there who goes out to sea, we all know there are risks, even when we make the decision to crew for others,
I feel for the skipper and the survivors crew and for their families I offer solidarity
and I wish them the strength to find, in time, some peace and solace
any sailor worthy of that name should do the same
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