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Just before starting the OYRA Farallones race, foredeck crew Nick Vos put a reef line into Low Speed Chase's new main sail. ©2012 Sergei Zavarin/Ultimate Yachtshots
Review Panel Report on Low Speed Chase
August 6, 2012
The US Sailing Independent Review Panel has released their report on the capsize of Low Speed Chase and resulting loss of life on April 15 in the Full Crew Farallones. It's a long, well-researched post-mortem of the tragedy. Some of the interesting points are:
Some onboard had inadequate PFDs, including one wearing a dinghy vest, and the skipper wearing just a belt-type inflatable.
None were clipped in, although jack lines were installed.
We already know they went too close to the island and inside the 10-fathom line, but they saw breaking waves before the ones that hit them.
Low Speed Chase bore away at the first point before Maintop Bay into the four-fathom line instead of staying high around the shoal. Two other boats also went into the same area during the race.
The Coast Guard got the first mayday on VHF from other race boats.
Low Speed Chase's EPIRB was activated, but it took 40 minutes for the USCG to get the report – and its registration was outdated. A PLB was also activated and the Coast Guard received only a short signal from that.
The VHF communications were confused after the first proper reporting of Low Speed Chase on the rocks by Green Buffalo, but many boats used improper radio protocol.
We can see that the safety panel spent many long days and worked very hard on this extremely detailed report. Our thanks to them.
The complete report is available here as a PDF.