unhappy birthday

I have stayed quiet publicly about the loss of Low Speed Chase, which happened almost a year ago, on April 14, 2012.

It was just too close, too deep, too tragic, and for a while too overwhelming to write about it here. As the anniversary of their deaths approaches, I feel the sadness again, and look forward to a gathering of friends of Low Speed Chase on Sunday. Over the course of the last year, the accident has inspired many who knew and didn’t know Marc, Alan, Jordan, Alexis and Elmer, to review their own safety plans, to learn about lee shores, wave science, safety equipment, and to talk about it with their friends and family.

While those of us close to the people lost still mourn them, we also saw amazing action among and outside of our small community. Committees were convened to review safety standards in racing, to revise existing races, and make recommendations to the sailing community. Brian Chong, a survivor of the race, took the time to write his account of the accident, revealing what we all were afraid to hear, but also needed to hear in order to understand, and begin healing. Ted Elliot, bereft at the loss of his dear friend, corralled a group to plan a memorial in three days in which hundreds attended on the water, even more on shore, and was covered by the international sailing community and national news. Ashley Perrin took significant action when she brought ISAF’s safety at sea course to San Francisco. She researched the people and resources she needed and with the help of the San Francisco Yacht Club, started what has become internationally sought after training for those who plan to go off-shore.

It’s important to me now as we begin our next sailing season to remember a few things.
1. Love your friends. Love your family. Tell them. Spend time with them.
2. Never stop learning.
3. Ask for help. Remember the power of the community and how often it can rise up to an occasion.
4. Render aid, in whatever way you can, be it out on the deep blue sea, or shoreside.
5. Sail safe, and make sure your crew does too.

-Paige Brooks

Title inspiration thanks to The Smiths