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Pachamama

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Name: Mom
Gender: Female
Home country: Earth
Current location: SF Bay Area
Member since: Sat May 8, 2004, 01:56 AM
Number of posts: 15,890

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Sailing Fans Reeling Over Yacht Race Death- 4 still Missing

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/04/15/MN6R1O3L4D.DTL

The Bay Area's tightly knit sailing community was reeling Sunday after one of the region's most catastrophic boating disasters in decades - the wreck of a racing yacht near the Farallon Islands that killed one sailor and left four missing.

The wreck happened Saturday when 12-foot waves pummeled the sailboat during the Full Crew Farallones Race and hurled it onto rocks at the Farallon Islands, pitching most of the crew overboard. Three sailors were rescued from the scene, but one, Marc Kasanin, 46, of Belvedere died in the water and four more disappeared in the waves.

The 38-foot racing craft, named the Low Speed Chase, was one of 49 boats competing in this year's contest, which began at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco. The race has been held annually since 1907 and is sponsored by the Offshore Yacht Racing Association in Alameda.

Lynch identified the missing sailors as Alan Cahill of Tiburon, a boat technician in his mid-30s who has a wife and two children; Alexis Busch of Larkspur, who is in her mid-20s; Jordan Fromm, 25, of Ross; and Elmer Morrissey, early 30s, of Ireland.

Several boats turned back Saturday when 25-knot winds and waves as high as 15 feet churned up the waters near the Farallones, but otherwise the race conditions were typical for that area and this time of year, participants said.

Then, as racers were rounding the islands at 2:45 p.m., the Low Speed Chase was slammed by a powerful wave that washed five crewmates over the gunwale near the edge of the main Southeast Farallon Island - which, like the other islands, is formidably surrounded by steep, jagged rocks.

The remaining three on board turned the boat around to rescue their comrades when another wave heaved the boat onto the rocks on the northeast corner of the island, authorities said. Two sailors fell over the side on this second assault but managed to scramble to the shoreline, and the one left on board suffered a broken leg.

Too close to rocks

At least one other yacht was within eyesight, and its horrified crew watched the tragedy unfold but was unable to help in the tumultuous waves.

"If anyone can turn that corner, it would have been them," Church said. "These were some of the best sailors around."

http://www.marinij.com/millvalley/ci_20402905/fatal-yacht-race-accident-farallones-stuns-marin-sailing?source=most_viewed

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PS: i knew the confirmed dead sailor Marc Kasanin and have raced in the past with him. Three of the currently missing sailors that the coast guard has called off the search for as of last night I know, including Alexis Busch, the only woman on board who is a remarkable young woman, who in addition to being a great sailor, was a Woman Baseball Player - (see Ladybaseball.com). When I used to race, this was one of the races I competed in twice.

Please refrain from making judgments of sailing being a race of the 1 percent and privileged. Any one on DU who sails knows that to be a sailor and part of the sailing community is more than that. There are many who sail and love sailing who aren't rich and often these yachts, while owned by wealthy, will be crewed by people who aren't, both professional and amateur sailors, who sail and race for the love of the sport and of the water.

I am very shook up about this and what isn't in this story which every sailor in the Bay Area and sport knows is that the area where they died is the feeding grounds of the Great White Sharks and near their breeding grounds. Its not in the article and the coast guard isn't saying it and neither are they on television, but their bodies will never be found. I wish nothing more than a miracle that the missing sailors be found alive. But I know better. I know from sailing this area that the risk of hypothermia is so great within minutes if not drowning should you fall in water. its why the crew did the emergency maneuver to retrieve the 4 sailors who were knocked over board, despite being close to the rocks. But if they are dead. i pray this is how they died or were knocked unconscious. Because the alternative is the horror us sailors never want to talk about. And we know their bodies wont be recovered. I pray for their families this morning and send them my love and condolences....

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