Final report on deadly sailboat accident released


The final report on the April 14th accident confirms the panel's preliminary report. The 38-foot-yacht "Low Speed Chase" was taking part in a round the Farallones race, when it was struck by a wave in the relatively shallow water or shoal, on the lee or downwind side, of the southeast island. Seven crew members were washed overboard. Five of the seven died and U.S. sailing investigators found the cause was an error in judgment on the part of the helmsman.

"I think the cause of the accident was that the Low Speed Chase chose a course that put it on a lee shoal and she was just too close to the Farallon Islands," said John Craig from U.S. Sailing.

Craig was a member of the panel and is also on U.S. Sailing's Board of Directors.

He says the panel is recommending better training for skippers, uniform safety regulations for racing outside the Golden, better safety equipment including harnesses, and better communication.

He told us the VHF radios that are use by the boats use to talk with each other are just not adequate when it comes to trying to reach from the Farallones back to the race committee in San Francisco. He added the recommendations would not have had an effect on the outcome of the April 14th accident, but could save lives in future accidents.

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