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US Sailing Report on Farallones Tragedy

A US Sailing Farallones Panel Report has been posted with detailed analysis of the Low Speed Chase Capsize on 14 April 2012.

Four safety issues are explained. The first is that the crew sailed too close to shore.

As a result of the panel’s investigation, it became clear that the cause of the capsize was that Low Speed Chase sailed a course which took them across a shoal area over which breaking waves could be expected to occur several times per hour (see Appendix D) and encountered a breaking wave, which capsized the boat.


With a forecast for swells up to 15 feet, a maximum wave height of 30 feet would be expected, and 1% of waves (two or three per hour) would be expected to average 25 feet in height. The forecast wind waves would add two or three feet to the maximum wave. (See Appendix D)

The remaining three issues are related to adequate safety gear, communication and incident response procedures. Other sailors are also called out in the report for the decision to not assist.

Of the seven other race boat crews interviewed who witnessed the incident, all deemed the conditions too dangerous to physically stand by and attempt to render assistance. All continued racing.


22 boats heard the radio traffic concerning the LSC incident and five respondents saw Low Speed Chase on the shore, while one actually saw the capsize.

Posted in Sailing, Security.

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