Ex-helmsman sheds light on yacht tragedy

The man who used to helm the US yacht which crashed, claiming the lives of two Cork sailors last weekend, has given a further insight into the sequence of events that led up to the tragedy.

Until 18 months ago Adam McAfee was a core crew member of the 11.5m Low Speed Chase and following Saturday’s disaster he spoke to the boat’s owner James “Jay” Bradford, 41, who was on the vessel when it was struck by massive waves.

Mr Bradford told him the trouble started as the crew was preparing to round the Farallon Islands, the most technically challenging part of the race.

Mr McAfee said that, according to the boat’s owner, as the crew was planning its next move the boat was hit by a wave which blew Mr Bradford and Marc Kasanin overboard. The next wave threw Cork men Alan Cahill, 36, and Elmer Morrissey, 32, into the water along with Americans Jordan Fromm, 25, Alexis Busch, 26, and Bryan Chong.

Only the eighth member of the crew, Nick Vos, 26, remained on the boat as it was thrown on to the rocks, as he became entwined in the boat’s lines. He suffered a broken leg.

According to Ron Young, Blarney native Alan Cahill had been hired by Mr Bradford to skipper the vessel and would have been behind the wheel during the race.

James Bradford and Bryan Chong were both recovered alive from water and Nick Vos was rescued from the stricken boat. Marc Kasanin’s body was recovered from the water. The remains of the other four are still missing, with the US coastguard calling off its search because the window of “survivability” had passed.

Glounthaune native Elmer Morrissey’s parents Michael and Ena were due to fly back into Ireland from abroad last night.

Along with his British-based sister Kelda, they were then expected to fly on to San Francisco.

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