WEST COAST RACING FATALITIES SPARK INQUIRIES
On April 28, a sailboat taking part in the Lexus Newport to
Ensenada Yacht Race was lost, along with her four-person crew.
That followed an April 14 tragedy, also in California, where five
sailors lost their lives during the Full Crew Farallones Race, off the
coast of San Francisco. At press time in May, both accidents were
under investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard and US SAILING.
For an update, visit www.BoatUS.com/magazine
season upon us,
it’s a great time to
do a thorough inspection
of your boat.
One simple way to make sure
everything is covered is to get a
Vessel Safety Check offered by
the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the
United States Power Squadrons.
The VSC program, now sponsored by BoatU.S., is a courtesy
safety examination of your boat.
Volunteers will also make recommendations for gear and practices
to help make your boat safer. To
get a VSC, visit www.safetyseal.net
STEVE LIBERT WAS 13 when he first heard about the explorer René-Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle, from his
history teacher, but the story stuck with
him, especially the bit about La Salle’s ship
the Griffin. Finished in 1679, the Griffin (or
Le Griffon, si vous preferez) was one of the
first European ships built in the New World.
In September of that year, La Salle left the
ship to explore by canoe, a journey that
would eventually lead him to the Mississippi
River and to claim the surrounding land
for France. After riding out a storm near
Mackinac Island, the Griffin sailed for the
Niagara River, never to be seen again. Libert,
now 58, remembers the teacher ending the
tale of the wreck by saying, “Maybe one day
someone in this room will find it.”
And maybe someone did. Libert, who
lives in Virginia but summers in Charlevoix,
Michigan, believes he’s found the wreck of the
Griffin after decades of searching. His quest
gathered interest as he spent summers div-
ing from his 18-foot Achilles inflatable, relying
on historical documents to focus the search.
While he admits that more work must be done