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Old 26-05-2010, 08:33   #1
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Couple Die in Boating Accident off San Francisco

Couple die in boating accident off S.F.
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Old 26-05-2010, 08:38   #2
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Terrrible tragedy. So sad.
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Old 26-05-2010, 08:44   #3
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2 off of SF and 1 off of LA.

SAFETY HARNESSES PEOPLE, WEAR THEM!
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Old 26-05-2010, 08:45   #4
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right where I hike with my dogs most weeks...

It's critical when coming to the Gate from the south to approach from far enough out and far enough north to get around the seal rock area... folks who come up along the coast get caught up in it... I was taught that you should take a course 3 miles off the coast from half moon bay north and then you don't turn east until you are due west, between the footings of the bridge.... sounds like the winds caught them in too close and even with the headsail furled down part way they couldn't make way against the current...

Anyone more knowledgeable with the gate have any ideas on what might have been the chain of events?
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Old 26-05-2010, 08:53   #5
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Here's a link to the report in last Monday's 'Lectronic Latitude:

Latitude 38 - 'Lectronic Latitude (see "Sunday Turns Tragic")

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Old 26-05-2010, 09:21   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarafina View Post
It's critical when coming to the Gate from the south to approach from far enough out and far enough north to get around the seal rock area... folks who come up along the coast get caught up in it... I was taught that you should take a course 3 miles off the coast from half moon bay north and then you don't turn east until you are due west, between the footings of the bridge.... sounds like the winds caught them in too close and even with the headsail furled down part way they couldn't make way against the current...

Anyone more knowledgeable with the gate have any ideas on what might have been the chain of events?
I've been out the gate more times than I can count.. and you're right.. the south shole can be tricky.. I've cut it close a few times durring a race and wanted to hug the areas not affected by the tides, but any wrong move and you're on the rocks...
To be safe, you almost have to go out to the 3rd or 4th bouy befor you make the turn.. and if there's a flood going, it'll suck you right in...
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Old 26-05-2010, 09:37   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarafina View Post
It's critical when coming to the Gate from the south to approach from far enough out and far enough north to get around the seal rock area... folks who come up along the coast get caught up in it... I was taught that you should take a course 3 miles off the coast from half moon bay north and then you don't turn east until you are due west, between the footings of the bridge.... sounds like the winds caught them in too close and even with the headsail furled down part way they couldn't make way against the current...

Anyone more knowledgeable with the gate have any ideas on what might have been the chain of events?
The SF Bay is the main water outlet for California. The Gate can have tidal currents of 4 to 5 knots, the tidal range can be as high as 8 feet. Due to the outflow from interior rivers there is a horse shoe sandbar that guards the entrance to the Gate. This sandbar extends out 8 miles and the center of the bar is the shipping entrance to the Gate and has a 40 foot tall bouy in the center, the shipping channel is marked by channel markers all the way into the bay. Pilot boats are stationed beyond the bouy to transfer crew to the large ships to assit them in transiting the entrance and the bay.
Storms will bring large swells that may break over these bars. One year a aircraft carrier waited offshore an extra day and a half for a storm to pass before entering the bay.
If/when the winds are blowing above 15 knots, don't attempt to cross the sandbar, go out to the lightbucket and come down the channel.
Small craft warnings are the norm for the SF Bay.
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Old 26-05-2010, 09:41   #8
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Sarafina is right. That stretch of Ocean Beach periodically claims folks who get inside the surf line--almost an annual event. The surf line is offshore at varying distances depending on the winds and wave heights and where you are along the shore. I have had a close call there myself while nearly 2 miles off shore. Problem is that the waves get suddenly steeper as you move up the coast toward the SF Bar and the Gate and then you notice they are breaking inside of your course. You think you are OK, but as you continue North, they start breaking further offshore and with more force as you go over the SF Bar. It is easy to sail right into a trough and have the waves break over you. Once you are in it--it is easy to imagine how things go to hell as you get pounded in the surf on your beam--eventually up on the beach. I would say 3 miles is a minimum in anything other than flat calm. Plotting a course to turn in to the Bay at the first channel marker seems like a prudent thing. In really heavy weather and big seas, I think the only safe thing is to stay way out and enter the Bar at the main SF Buoy and take the whole channel in--staying out of the way of the heavy traffic. It is one of the most dangerous places I know because the situation can get bad so quickly as you move North and in OK weather and sea conditions.

Also agree that we single handers have to be fastidious with safety lines. I confess I am not consistent, except at night, and that makes no sense. No one is going to pick you up in time in the daytime either. You just have a better view of your boat as it sails away from you. I can imagine that the cozy cockpit of that International Folkboat is very reassuring, perhaps too much so. Experience can make us more cautious or more of risk takers. The boats always seem to make it, the sailors do not.

Sobering stories to us old guys. Thinking about the great luck we have had when we have taken chances.
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Old 26-05-2010, 10:26   #9
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I would guess the fact that both went over probably means one was trying to rescue the other? The story got me reading, again, about jacklines.
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Old 26-05-2010, 11:12   #10
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I would guess the fact that both went over probably means one was trying to rescue the other? The story got me reading, again, about jacklines.
Teather your safty harness to a strong point in the center of your cockpit. If you attach the teather to a jackline to leave the cockpit, only go forward on the high side. Use two teathers, so that you can attach the second one to something before unattaching the first one.
A three inch high toe-rail is kinda nice too.
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