A 31-foot sailboat named Daisy disappeared during a charity regatta outside the Golden GateBridge on March 15, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Daisy, a Cheoy Lee Offshore 31 with a two-man crew, had fallen behind the 39 other boats during the 25-mile course of the 27th Annual Doublehanded Lightship Race. The race course began beside the Golden Gate Yacht Club’s race deck on the city’s Marina Green to a navigation buoy about 12 miles offshore and back. Daisy managed to round the buoy, but afterwards other participants said they lost track of her sail. When Daisy failed to pass the finish line or contact authorities by 5 p.m., the Coast Guard radioed the vessel and began a search when they received no response. The skipper of the boat, 68-year-old Matthew Kirby Gale, had spent $1,200 on a new marine VHF radio and GPS, according to the report, so it seemed odd they wouldn’t use it.
The next day, boat debris such as an icebox, rudder, and wooden planks were found near where Daisy was last seen, and a few hours later the body of crewmember Anthony Harrow, 72, was found washed up on Half Moon Bay wearing a life jacket, according to the report. The Coast Guard suspended their search later that day when it was determined that Gale could not have survived the inevitable hypothermia.
Rough seas had been forecast on race day by the National Weather Service. Winds were 20 to 25 knots and gusting into the 30s according to other race participants, with seas estimated at 10 to 12 feet.
“It was a nasty day. I wouldn’t have gone out in it,” said Tex Hax, owner of a 45-foot sailboat that didn’t participate in the race. “My first thought is that they could have called the race.”
Gale’s body has yet to be found, according to the report.
- Elizabeth Ellis