Ocean boat races halted after fatal Calif. crash

Associated Press Modified: April 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm •  Published: April 27, 2012
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Sailboat racers were grumbling Friday after the Coast Guard temporarily stopped races in ocean waters outside San Francisco Bay following a deadly yachting accident.

"We're all saddened by what happened," said Chris Larose, a San Francisco sailor who was to participate in an offshore race Saturday that is now prohibited. "But to cancel the race is overreaction. Tragic accidents occur in all kinds of competitions. We don't stop fishing boats from going out when one of them is lost."

Larose and others said they support a review of safety procedures after an April 14 race turned tragic, but they're disappointed that offshore races are prohibited until the reviews are complete.

During the race, five crew members of the 38-foot boat Low Speed Chase died when the vessel was hit by waves while rounding the Farallon Islands.

Race organizers are now holding the Offshore Yacht Racing Association Duxship Race almost entirely within San Francisco Bay. A second race, the Single-handed Sailing Society Farallones Race scheduled for May 12, will also have to adopt a similar alternative route or cancel the race entirely.

The restriction issued Thursday requires racing vessels to stay within the bay. Yacht racers are required to obtain a permit from the Coast Guard.