A US Sailing independent review panel looking into the deaths of five sailors in the Full Crew Farallones Race in April has released preliminary findings and recommendations.
The panel presented the information to the new San Francisco Bay Offshore Racing Council, which includes local race organizers and yacht clubs, on May 22.
The preliminary recommendations are:
1. Enhanced training of sailors in seamanship and piloting, including understanding of wave development in shoaling waters and safe distance off a lee shore.
2. Once-a-season training seminars in appropriate safety gear and mandatory skippers' meeting for offshore races.
3. Assurance of compliance with existing minimum equipment requirements, including post-race inspections.
4. Improved race management, including accountability for boats on the course, crew members' information, compliance with Coast Guard Marine Event Permit conditions, and improved communication with sailors and the Coast Guard.
5. Consistency of protocol and requirements for all Bay Area offshore races.
“We are heartened by the seriousness with which the council has set priorities and assigned tasks to meet their mandate,” panel chairwoman Sally Honey said in a statement. “We believe they are off to a good start in achieving more consistency between the various organizing authorities and making offshore racing safer for all.”
US Sailing will release a full report from the panel in June.
US Sailing also is looking into the deaths of four sailors in the Newport-to-Ensenada Race April 28.