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Follow-Up on Sunday’s Tragedies

As we reported in an update on Monday’s story about the loss of three sailors on Sunday, the couple who fell off the Ranger 33 Barcarolle near Ocean Beach were Jeff and Beth Easterling of El Sobrante. A few more details have come out since the initial report, most notably that Jeff Easterling had owned Barcarolle for 25 years and that they both appeared to be wearing PFDs at the time of the accident. Jeff was found wearing his when his body washed ashore Monday morning on Ocean Beach, and a PFD was found near Beth when she was recovered. It’s unknown if it was washed off her or if she was holding it. Barcarolle has since been salvaged from China Beach and is now sitting in an area boatyard. She’s missing her mast, keel and rudder, and most of the starboard ports have been blown out. We can’t believe she’s anything but a total loss.

Sadly, the search for Tom Kirschbaum of the Marina del Rey-based International Folkboat Feral was terminated Monday afternoon with no sign of Tom. Having known him to be one of the most safety conscious sailors we’ve ever met, his loss has come as a shock. In fact, we can’t believe he was out that day without wearing his PFD and harness, as we never knew him to go without them, regardless of conditions. If that was the case — and we will never know with any certainty — it’s a sobering reminder that all safety gear has its limits.

UPDATE: Tom Kirschbaum’s body was found off Long Beach today. Reports are that he was wearing his PFD and harness. The coroner will be performing an autopsy.

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