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Two Sailors Lost During DHL Race

The local sailing community is in a state of shock over the news that two sailors were lost during Saturday’s Doublehanded Lightship Race. Kirby Gale, 67, and Anthony Harrow, 72, were on the way home from the Lightbucket aboard Gale’s Cheoy Lee Offshore 31 Daisy when they simply disappeared.

As noted in the race report above, conditions were rough for this year’s DHL — high winds and big seas. According to other racers, Daisy made it out to and around the Lightbucket in company with the last few boats. But they never made it back. Possibly the last sighting of the boat was from competitors aboard a similarly-rated boat who recall glimpsing back now and then to check if a sail behind them was getting any closer. "Then, about six or seven miles out, we looked and the sail was gone," says Rob Tryon, skipper of Aaron Dunlap’s Valiant 32 Feolena. "We thought it was because we were sailing faster."

Feolena finished about 2:45, leaving only Daisy still unaccounted for. When she had not finished by the race deadline of 5 p.m., nor responded to repeated calls on VHF, the Coast Guard was contacted. They began a search Saturday night that continued through Sunday. About midmorning, they found "debris that fit the description of  Daisy" near her last estimated position. About an hour later, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office reported they had discovered the body of Harrow, still wearing his lifejacket, in a tidepool near Half Moon Bay. At this writing, Gale’s body had not been found. The search was suspended at 6 p.m. Sunday.

What happened to Daisy and her crew remains a mystery. No distress beacon was activated, there was no 911 cellphone call, no mayday was made by radio. (It’s unknown whether Daisy had an EPIRB aboard, but she did have a working VHF when she checked in with the race committee before the start). Authorities also say that, based on inspection of the debris, they do not believe Daisy collided with another vessel, although that couldn’t be ruled out.

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