The 2012 Full Crew Farallones Race turned disastrous the afternoon of April 14 when the 38-ft Low Speed Chase was hit by two powerful waves and crashed into the rocks along the Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco.
At 1500 hours, a particularly violent wave broke over the boat, sweeping away four of the experienced eight-man crew on board Low Speed Chase. The captain and owner, James Bradford, turned the boat around to retrieve the MOBs, and shortly thereafter a second wave caused the boat to smash into the rocks, dislodging the remaining crewmembers.
Bradford and fellow crewmembers Brian Chong and Nick Vos managed to stay above water by clinging to rocks nearby until the Coast Guard rescued them only a few hours after the accident.
Later that day, the Coast Guard recovered the body of Marc Kasanin, 46, of Belvedere, CA. A local professional artist, Kasanin was also a seasoned sailor, and often showed his passion for sailing in his paintings.
Alexis Busch, 26, of Larkspur, CA; Jordan Fromm, 25, of Kentfield, CA; Alan Cahill of Tiburon, CA; and Elmer Morrissey of Ireland remain missing.
After more than 30 hours of searching over 5000 square miles, the U.S. Coast Guard suspended their search, stating that the “window of survivability” of the four missing sailors had passed based on the harsh nature of Pacific waters.
The Full Crew Farallones Race, which spans nearly 60 miles around the islands, is known for its rough conditions meant for only the most seasoned sailors, like the crew of Low Speed Chase. Still, serious accidents are rare in this well-respected event and the conditions were not out of the ordinary on the day of the race.
As for the four missing sailors, Alexis Busch was the daughter of former San Francisco Giants executive Corey Busch. She was also the first batgirl in Major League Baseball. Her boyfriend, Vos, survived the accident. The couple had been dating since high school.
Jordan Fromm had been a member of the San Francisco Yacht Club since he was a child, and grew up in their youth sailing program. He wanted to open his own business restoring yachts.
Born in Ireland, Alan Cahill was a boat craftsman who lived in Marin County. He leaves behind a wife and two children.
Elmer Morrissey was also born in Ireland and lived in San Francisco.
SAIL offers its deepest sympathy to the sailors’ family, friends and the San Francisco-area sailing community.
Photos by Brant Ward/San Francisco Chronicle