A US Sailing independent review panel released the report on its investigation of the April 14 sailing accident that occurred during the Farallones Race out of San Francisco.
The accident resulted in the deaths of five sailors on the sailboat Low Speed Chase.
The crew of eight aboard Low Speed Chase encountered larger-than-average breaking waves when rounding Maintop Island, the northwest point of Southeast Farallon Island. These waves capsized the vessel, a Sydney 38, and drove it onto the rocky shore. Seven of the eight crewmembers were thrown from the boat into the water. Only two of those sailors in the water made it to shore and survived.
As a result of the panel’s research and analysis, they determined that the primary cause of the capsizing was due to the course sailed by Low Speed Chase, which took them across a shoal area where breaking waves could be expected. During the course of the analysis, multiple track lines from other racers that day were obtained and are provided in the report. It is noted that the Low Speed Chase was not the only vessel that crossed or sailed very near this shoal area.