The United States Coast Guard has suspended yacht races in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Coast Guard called it a stand down, which they say will impact at least two scheduled races. The April 28, "Offshore Yacht Racing Association Duxship Race" and the May 12 "Singlehanded Sailing Society Farallons Race" are the affected races, according to the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard told NBC Bay Area they need time to review safety procedures and policies concerning yacht races. They say the hold has only been called for the next two weeks.
On April 14 a sailboat named the Low Speed Chase crashed into the rocks of the Farallon Islands killing five crew members. Three other people on the boat survived.
“The San Francisco Bay Area sailing community is one of the most vibrant, experienced, and capable sailing communities in the world,” said Capt. Cynthia Stowe, the Coast Guard Captain of the Port of San Francisco. “This temporary safety stand-down from offshore racing will allow the Coast Guard and the offshore racing community to further our common safety goals.”
Captained by James Bradford, 41, of Chicago, the 38-foot yacht was competing in the 2012 Full Crew Farallones Race when it was hit with a large wave that knocked four people off of the boat. The captain lost control of the boat during the rescue attempt to reach those crew members.
Bradford and two crew members - identified by yacht club officials as Tiburon resident Brian Chong and Nick Vos of Sonoma - were rescued by the Coast Guard and Air National Guard helicopters.
One sailor, Belvedere resident Marc Kasanin, 46, was pulled out of the water by rescuers and confirmed dead. Four others-- Alexis Busch of Larkspur, Alan Cahill of Tiburon, 25-year-old Kentfield resident Jordan Fromm and Elmer Morrisey, of Ireland, remain missing.
Hundreds of boat turned out for a memorial flotilla for the lost sailors over the weekend.
A memorial page for the Low Speed Chase has been established on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sfyclowspeed.
The sailboat was based out of the San Francisco Yacht Club in Belvedere.
A helicopter lifted it from the island rocks earlier this week.
The Coast Guard release read like this:
Coast Guard calls for offshore racing safety stand-down, works with race organizers to amend courses for the next two races
SAN FRANCISCO — The Coast Guard is working with offshore racing organizers to amend their courses for the next two offshore sailing races pending a review of safety plans and procedures in the San Francisco Bay area.
The April 28, 2012 Offshore Yacht Racing Association Duxship Race and the May 12, 2012 Singlehanded Sailing Society Farallons Race are the affected races. The Coast Guard is working closely with race organizers to implement alternative courses for the impacted races. All other races that stay within the demarcation line that runs from Point Bonita to Land’s End are not impacted.
Recent offshore accidents have highlighted the need to assess offshore race organizers’ safety plans and procedures. Races inside the bay are still being permitted per the current procedures. The Coast Guard is calling on all offshore race organizers and participants to conduct their own safety stand-downs during this period.
US Sailing, the national governing body for the sport of sailing, is conducting an independent review of Bay Area offshore racing safety procedures to provide an independent assessment of existing plans and procedures.