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  #31  
Old 02-25-2013
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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.

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  #32  
Old 02-25-2013
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Re: Sailboat missing off CA coast

Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
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.

MedSailor

I do apologize for bringing up the possibility that this may be a hoax. As bad as that would be, it would actually be preferable in this situation, considering the conditions out there and what little safety equipment these folks seem to have with them. Considering that no one has reported this family missing does make one wonder, especially since a member of another family (the cousin/nephew) was also on board. If they were making a longer trip, it would be more understandable since they may not be expected to arrive anywhere yet.

As for remaining calm during the radio call, I made the comment because I personally would not sound that calm when faced with getting into those seas with a cooler and a life ring and two small children. The offshore weather report for that day was seas 14-20 feet, subsiding to 9-15 feet, with a gale warning. I do admit that others may be calmer, including my husband -- who, like most good captains, keeps his head during stressful situations.

The fact that they have a bearing on the radio signal does make it seem more probable to this is unfortunately a bonafide tragedy and not a hoax. I do have a question about the bearing of the signal. Can the USCG determine the distance or just the bearing? I'm guessing only the bearing? Thanks for any clarification.
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Old 02-25-2013
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Sailboat missing off CA coast

Distance an bearing by using more than one shore station to triangulate the signal.
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Old 02-25-2013
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Re: Sailboat missing off CA coast

VHF must work better in CA. 15-25 NM is about the max here in the PNW with a 55' stick in open water.
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Old 02-25-2013
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Re: Sailboat missing off CA coast

Fyi, just spoke with a guy here, who has been involved in the search effort. They seem to think it is a hoax, as well. As they checked with all the marinas in the area and haven't been able to identify the boat. He said they have to search in the event it is not a hoax, of course. He also said, if it is a hoax, they will be trying to locate the originator, as it's costing a lot for this search.
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Old 02-25-2013
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Re: Sailboat missing off CA coast

If it is a hoax giving the localization of the signal and the bad weather it will come probably from a ship or big trawler. It they have AIS maybe it is possible to nail the bastard...and I very much hope that is the case. If they get the guy and charge him the costs he is going to work the rest of his live to pay the bill
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Re: Sailboat missing off CA coast

Yeah, they said the signal came from 45 miles out. Which didn't make sense, since none of the marinas know the boat, etc. That, and the claim they were using a cooler and a life ring to make a make-shift raft, makes it sound shady.
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Re: Sailboat missing off CA coast

Boy, if it is a hoax, they really are trying hard. The news reports say they called an hour before the mayday to tell them that they were in distress and taking on water. Now if a drunk person grabbed the mic and said some stuff, that's really really bad enough. But if they intentionally made multiple calls over at least an hour, that elevates the crime to "hoax in the first degree" which, according to Judge MedSailor carries a much higher penalty!

Either way, I predict nothing good will come of this.

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Old 02-25-2013
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Re: Sailboat missing off CA coast

If my boat were taking on water and I didn't have a life raft I would stay with her until the cabin top was awash especially if the water is 50F. I think most people would - especially if they had their wife and 4yo offspring and another kid along.

Now with that scenario the time would have been long past when there was any possibility of using an installed VHF radio to transmit a mayday. The batteries would be six feet underwater and shorting out through the sea water circuit and the radio would be flooded.

So a handheld VHF would be the transmit device.

A handheld is generally 5W max. In 40 years of using VHF I have never had anywhere NEAR performance that allowed comms using a handheld at 40-65 miles.

Based on this I am inclined to think that there's something "off" in the story somehow. Hoax? Perhaps.
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Re: Sailboat missing off CA coast

Feeling sick about those kids.. I'd think that if it was a hoax perpetrated aboard a larger vessel the CG could pinpoint that vessel with radar or whatever..

The real improbable thing is how did a daysailor get 60+NM offshore, and if it's a truly a boat on an 'offshore' trip how could anyone take their family (and others') out there this time of year with no safety gear??
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