There has been a staggering amount of Monday morning quarterbacking in the wake of the tragic loss of Kirby Gale and Tony Harrow, whose Cheoy Lee 31 Daisy disappeared during the Doublehanded Lightship Race on March 15. Most of what has appeared on internet forums is the usual drivel from people who don’t know what they’re talking about. But we’ve been surprised how many actual ocean sailors have been weighing in, some with real-world logic, others with vehement condemnation of race management, the Coast Guard, the YRA (who didn’t even run the race), "liberals in America" — and just about anyone else in finger-pointing range.
Folks, this is a sad enough situation without the blame game. We urge everyone to keep a cool head and base your opinions on the known facts. Also please remember three things in particular: 1) Unlike boat rides in Disneyland and other controlled environments, the ocean, and particularly just outside the Gate, is natural and wild. There is no guarantee of safety; 2) Anyone who races in the ocean — or anywhere else — is 100% responsible for deciding whether to start and/or continue that race; 3) In more than 30 years of publishing Latitude 38, we have yet to encounter anyone in the local sailing community who would do anything to purposely hurt another sailor — or who would not immediately aid a sailor in trouble if they could.
We will be following any new developments in this story and will certainly have more on the loss of Daisy in both ‘Lectronic Latitude and in next month’s issue (including several interesting letters, one from the boat’s former owner). And we certainly hope and expect that, in time, lessons learned from this incident will make sailing — in the Bay and ocean — safer for everyone.