Treacherous Conditions Put Yacht Crew Beyond Help Of Other Racers

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The sailing vessel Low Speed Chase after it crashed on the Farallon Islands. (San Francisco Chronicle/Polaris)

The sailing vessel Low Speed Chase after it crashed on the Farallon Islands. (San Francisco Chronicle/Polaris)

DougSovern20100908_KCBS_0208r Doug Sovern
Doug began his career as a copy boy at the New York Times, and then...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – There was little other racers participating in the Full Crew Farallones Race could have done when surging waves swamped one of the yachts, claiming the lives of five crew members on Saturday, Coast Guard officials said.

Had the vessel closest to the Low Speed Chase tried to intervene, its crew would likely have been overcome by the rough seas as well, said Commander Tom Stuhlreyer, who oversees the Coast Guard response to all emergencies in the San Francisco Bay.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

Stuhlreyer said critics wondering why no other boat dropped sails and tried to help as deadliest sailboat shipwreck in 30 years unfolded should realize the Low Speed Chase was “much too close to the rocks out at the Farallones for any other sailboats to get in there and effect any kind of assistance.”

There was almost nothing the other yacht crews could have done, Stuhlreyer said, adding the tragedy would likely lead to an examination of how Bay Area sailing races have been managed to date.

“Certainly the local sailing community will be looking inward to see if there’s some additional things that they can do to mitigate some of the dangers out there,” he said.

Race organizers still have not commented on the incident beyond extending sympathies.

“We feel the loss of those folks very keenly, and we hope to work with them to continue to make the off shore sailing events as safe as they can be,” Stuhlreyer said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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