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US Sailing Releases Second Report on Worst 2012 Sailing Disasters

By November 9, 2012

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The two worst sailing disasters in the US in recent years both occurred in offshore sailing races that began in California in April of 2012. In the first, on April 14, the boat Low Speed Chase capsized while approaching too close to the Farallones Islands, with seven sailors being washed overboard resulting in five fatalities. Two weeks later, the boat Aegean apparently ran into North Coronado Island off the coast of Mexico while running on autopilot, resulting in the deaths of all four sailors onboard. In both cases the sailors were experienced and had typical safety gear onboard, and in both cases apparent poor judgment was cited as one of the primary causes. Additional factors are also mentioned in the US Sailing investigations, but most sadly, both tragedies could have been prevented. These reports emphasize what all sailors, on all boats everywhere, should know: the water can be a dangerous place and the principles of safety should never be overlooked at any time.

Comments

November 17, 2012 at 7:33 am
(1) Brenda says:

This article is very useful. i advise all your readers to take heed
i have just experienced a sea rescue and survived. We did all that was correct but we were hit by something in a storm force 8/10 and a hole was made in the starboard outrigger. We were sailing a trimaran 10 mtres wide by 18 metres long. We lost the storm sail early on, then the mid sail broke away – we were left with the main sail reefed in of course but our only form of power for manouvering. Two stays at the front attached to each outrigger became slack then the back stays and the main mast and started up the outboard motor only to find that the battery was too low to start it!! Skipper did some magnificent repairs in strengthening the stays and then making a new cable lead to another battery to feed the outboard motor.

The hole in the outrigger caused the bottom of the outrigger to disperse and the only support for the bow end of the outrigger was the steel tube beams which ran the breadth of the two outriggers and main ship.

The next calamity was the radio which developed a fault also and we could only receive. our last chance was three distress rockets and my smartphone. After many attempts i did get a signal and was able to make a mayday via 112 the emergency land phone number. We were at this time travelling down the African coast and nearing the Canary islands. A helicopter found us and a large rescue tug secured a line and we were towed to a harbour. The rescue took 6 hours to find us then 12 hours to tow us. What an experience. By the time we met harbour the damaged outrigger bow had totally broken away and one steel tube and one large screw had held stopping it from leaving us.
So to all sailors take care, take time to read about safety and enjoy….

~Regards Brenda

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