Crew in fatal yacht race shared love of racing

By Lisa Leff

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, April 17 2012 1:25 a.m. MDT

Bryan Chong, a member of the Tiburon town design review board, and Elmer Morrissey, an Irish citizen who had been living in San Francisco and knew Cahill, also signed on.

McAfee, who spoke with Bradford the day after the race, said the trouble started as the crew was preparing to round the island, the most technically challenging part of the race. Winds and high waves make navigating the turn difficult.

But while the crew was making plans for their next move, an exceptionally large wave broadsided the boat, sweeping Bradford and Kasanin overboard. Within seconds, another wave crashed into the craft, sweeping another five into the water. Only Vos, who got tangled in some lines, was still attached to the yacht when it ran aground on the rocks.

Another boat in the race that witnessed the accident radioed in a distress call. Coast Guard crews rescued Bradford and Chong, who had somehow managed to scramble up to the island's edge, and Vos, whose leg was broken.

Kasanin's body was found in the water the same day. Fromm, Busch, Cahill and Morrissey remain missing at sea. The Coast Guard called off the search Sunday night, saying the window for surviving in the cold Pacific had passed.

"We had done this many times before, and it wasn't new. It wasn't an unknown risk," McAfee said.

As well as grieving for the lost, members of San Francisco's sailing scene also are rallying around the survivors. Young worries how Vos will go on without his high school sweetheart.

"It's a very sad situation," said Dick Enersen, who grew up sailing on San Francisco Bay. "But everybody who thinks about it, and I hope most people do, know there are consequences and hazards, and stuff happens. In this case, it did."

Associated Press writers Marcus Wohlsen in San Francisco and Bernie Wilson in San Diego contributed to this report.

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