A U.S. flag is seen at half mast at the San Francisco Yacht Club in Belvedere, California April 15, 2012. One sailor died and four were missing after powerful waves battered a sailboat during a yacht race and tossed it into rocks around islands off San Francisco, officials said on Sunday. The eight-member crew of the Low Speed Chase set sail on Saturday as one of 49 yachts competing in the Full Crew Farallones, an annual race around the rugged island chain, according to San Francisco Yacht Club's Director Ed Lynch, where the yacht is based.
This is now a worldwide news, the above reports seems to summarized the best on what had happened: "powerful" waves caused the happening. The Vancouver Sun article was by Emmett Berg of Reuters, with Photographer Stephen Lam also of Reuters. Some more details:
The vessel Low Speed Chase, a 11.5-metre racing and cruising sailboat with a crew of eight, was one of 49 yachts competing on Saturday in a race around South Farallon Island, part of a rugged, sparsely populated chain offshore from San Francisco.
Officials said trouble began as the vessel rounded South Farallon Island on Saturday afternoon. A large wave initially swept four crew members into the ocean and when those remaining aboard tried to turn the craft around, another wave pushed the boat onto rocks, where it foundered. Local media said the second wave tossed three more people into the water.
Please refer to the article for further details. Not much information about the waves except the descriptive adjectives: a "large" or "powerful" wave swept four crew members into the sea.
The article also alluded to this:
The accident came two weeks after a monster wave smashed into an Australian yacht taking part in a round-the-world race. Four crew members were hurt in that accident, which took place 400 nautical miles off the California coast, and the Coast Guard had to be called in to help. No one was killed.
So this is the yacht race season that's not at all immune to freaque wave attacks and accidents. For us interested bystanders I guess we can only pray for the save recovery of those who are still missing and may God bless those who had lost their lives. And hope science can help to improve the safety and effective rescue efforts of the exciting sea going sports someday!