On April 4th, the RC/PRO of the Duxbury Lightship Race in Northern California (33 miles to the Dux Reef buoy, then SF Approach buoy, then Finish), took the unprecedented action of abandoning the race at the start due to a forecast of light wind. The decision to abandon was made in the middle of the ongoing furball with the USCG over the perceived safety issues related to ocean racing in the Gulf of the Farallones. Those issues have been covered in SA threads here and here.
In the background, there have been calls for the resignation of the President of the OYRA for his part in contributing to the cancellation of the race. Last night I received this letter in support of John Liebenberg’s letter in the May edition of Latitude 38 decrying the decision to abandon a race in contravention of Rule 4 of ISAF which leaves the decision to race up to the skipper. (4 Decision to Race: The responsibility for a boat’s decision to participate in a race or to continue racing is hers alone.) As a member of the Delicate Balance crew, I wholeheartedly support the opinion expressed in this letter, and strenuously object to the position taken by the PRO in Latitude 38 which said “I’ve gotten a lot of grief from people, and they’ve had valid points. I made what I felt was the best decision based on the information I had at the time.” In our opinion, that statement displays a startling lack of awareness about the nature of ocean racing. The following letter, submitted to you with the permission of the author, is a vote of no confidence in the leadership of the OYRA and the Duxbury Lightship PRO.