Local News

Coast Guard suspends off-shore racing permits

Thursday, April 26, 2012
Some disappointed by off-shore racing ban The Low Speed Chase washed ashore on the Farallon Islands

The Coast Guard is taking steps to insure nobody else gets hurt two weeks after a fatal yacht racing accident at the Farallon Islands, suspending all permits for off-shore racing. But while everyone wants safety, some in the boating community think a race ban is an over-reaction, especially with the official start of the boating season two days away.

The president of the Offshore Yacht Racing Association of San Francisco Bay says it's difficult to say if this is a good move by the Coast Guard.

"We already have very extensive and strict safety regulations within our organization that are far in excess of what the coast guard requires, but I can see the other side where five people died, we're not sure why, let's take a deep breath and find out before we go do something similar," Andy Newell said.

"Our initial reaction was one of surprise everybody was planning on going on this race. Once we understood what was happing, I think it makes a lot of sense," said Harmon Shragge, a racer.

Shragge was in that race about 30 minutes behind the Low Speed Chase. He believes the offshore suspension also has to do with the impending America's Cup race.

"We have to have a racing community both in the bay and out of the bay that is safe and the Coast Guard is really watching and it's going to be one of the biggest jobs certainly in this area that they've ever had," said Shragge.

A race this weekend will be affected by the suspended permits. The Duxship race will be held, but the race will only go as far out as Point Bonita.

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