What Exactly Happened to the Low Speed Chase?

Rescue of One Crew Member, Screenshot from Coast Guard VideoRescue of one of three living crew members, Screenshot Courtesy of Coast Guard Video

At approximately 3 P.M. on Saturday April 14, the Coast Guard Center in Alameda, California received an EPIRB signal from near the Farrallon Islands. A 38-foot cutter named Low Speed Chase, which was speeding along in the Full Crew Farrallones Race, had just been rolled by a series of large waves. Five crew members were washed off when a large wave crashed over the boat as it was transiting around the islands. Then, when the captain turned the boat around in an effort to save them, two more people were knocked into the water by another wave. One of the initial five people was found dead in the water by the Coast Guard and retrieved. Three crew members were rescued off rocks near the accident (video here). Four people are still missing, though the Coast Guard suspended their search Sunday at 8:04 PST. The Coast Guard does not have a set criteria for calling off such searches, but petty officer Caleb Critchfield said they do so only after there is no chance of survival and an area has been covered in detail.

"The decision to suspend a search and rescue case like this is never an easy one to make," said Captain Cynthia Stowe, Sector San Francisco commanding officer. "The Coast Guard extends our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the lost crewmen and the deceased. They will all be in our thoughts and prayers."

All of the other boats in the race returned to San Francisco safely. So what happened to the Low Speed Chase?

Filed To: Adventure, Sailing

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