Already shaken by the deaths of five sailors in a race to San Francisco’s Farallon Islands, California’s sailing community suffered another blow and yet more agonizing self-examination two weeks later as all four crewmembers on the Hunter 376 Aegean perished in a Newport-to-Ensenada Race accident that left the boat in pieces.
US Sailing appointed a nine-member independent panel to review the loss of five sailors in the 2012 Full Crew Farallones Race in which the Sydney 38 Low Speed Chase rolled in breaking waves off Southeast Farallon Island.
US Sailing president Gary Jobson, in a May 1 conference call, spoke with the media and Coast Guard about the review and a suspension of offshore racing in San Francisco until the review is completed.
Outfitted with banks of computer monitors, oversized electronic situation maps and television screens, the secure complex on the eighth floor of the Brickell Plaza Federal Building in Miami is the nerve center for the district’s operations.
Jody Hill’s dream is to sail for the United States as a Paralympian.
Ayres, 46, rowed across the Straits of Florida through 15-foot seas for roughly 48 hours while first mate Dillon Moore, 19, bailed in a desperate attempt to keep their 9-foot dinghy from sinking or drifting into the Atlantic on the Gulf Stream in a strengthening south wind. “I figured, boy, I better raise the bar and not stop rowing until we’re either dead or we’re safe,” says Ayres, a snowbird from Onondaga, Mich., who lives aboard in the Florida Keys during the winter.
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