Re: Sailboat missing off CA coast
Very little chance of a hoax in my mind. If the coast guard heard the signal (as they claim) rather than "received a report" then they know where the signal came from. They have good quality radio direction finding equipment. If the call came from SF bay, or from a marina, then it would be a different story.
As to the other reasons it may be a hoax, I would say that the same person who doesn't have a raft, and doesn't have a GPS IS the same person who might also might go out in the winter (not knowing better) and might be in a boat that may not be sound.
God be with them is right. This sport can be very safe, or very dangerous, and a few key elements separate the two.
"True, your boat will outperform mine to windward, but my boat will always outperform yours at anchor." --MedSailor