Boats pay tribute for sailors lost last weekend

April 20, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Friday night, sailors took a moment to remember the lives lost in last week's yachting crash. There's also a plan in the works to retrieve the shipwreck itself. We've learned the boat called the Low Speed Chase will be retrieved from the Farallon Islands early next week.

Racers on dozens of boats paid tribute Friday evening to those who were lost, before setting out on a race in Tiburon. It's been a somber week for the Bay Area's yachting community after last weekend's accident that lost five crew members of the Low Speed Chase.

The Tiburon Fire Department's boat shot an arc of water into the air. It was part of the moment of silence in the first yacht race in the bay since last weekend's fatal sailboat accident. It has prompted some second thoughts from at least one sailor in this race.

"There's a lure and a danger, in fact I feel a little funny tonight, after this happened," said John Zeitz, a boater.

Zeitz tells me he didn't know any of the crew of the Low Speed Chase personally, but they were all familiar, because of the camaraderie amongst the close knit boating community.

"I think the whole sailing community is very distressed about people dying, it's just not a typical experience," said Zeitz.

The Low Speed Chase remains marooned out on the rocks on the Farallon Islands and there are sea lions and other wildlife surrounding the yacht. The Farallons are a wildlife sanctuary. So to retrieve the 39 foot boat, Ballard Diving and Salvage told ABC7 they have secured the necessary permits for the job and will likely use a large helicopter to pluck the boat off the island early next week.

Dragging it off with another boat could cause the Low Speed Chase to break apart and the fiberglass pieces could then be dangerous for the animals.

Back in Tiburon a starting gun fired from the roof of the Corinthian Yacht Club kicked off Friday evening's race of about 30 boats. For racer John Arndt, this tribute, put the risks of racing into a new perspective.

"As you think about going and sailing and being a lot of fun, and you do it for the fun and the recreation, that's why you get out there on the water because you really enjoy it, and it's difficult when you have this in the background," said Arndt.

Friday was a bit of a preview to what's expected to be a larger tribute planned for Saturday evening. The Tiburon Fire Department tells ABC7 they're getting ready for a flotilla of boats to be from around the bay for that event.


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