Yacht death inquest blames human error

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In 2009 the wreck and sinking of the 24.4-meter racing yacht Shockwave lead to the deaths of the owner Andrew Short and the navigator Sally Gordon. The maxi was tuning up for the Sydney-Hobart Race when it foundered on the rocks of Flinders Islet, off Port Kemba, in New South Wales. The deputy state coroner has now concluded that human error was to blame for the accident and that nothing further could be done at this time to prevent future such accidents. She is quoted in the Illawarra Mercury as saying, “Unfortunately, due to miscalculation and prevailing conditions of the ocean and winds, it resulted in this tragic outcome,” while summing up her findings at Parramatta Local Court yesterday. Further details on the accident and the investigation are available at the link.

The Cruising Club of Australia had previously determined that no single factor contributed to the accident, but that police should be notified ahead of time if there was going to be a yacht race in the vicinity so that they would be aware in case assistance was required by the racers. Early speculation had centered around the theory that something had prevented the crew from properly observing and plotting a GPS position, which would have allowed them to avoid the well-charted island and surrounding reefs.

By Ocean Navigator