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April 14 2005

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April 14 - Tom Green

We had a sad episode during the initial shakedown cruise as we returned past California.  We reached Point Conception on April 14 which is known for its difficult weather conditions.  They call it the Cape Horn of the Pacific.   We decided to wait at Cojo Bay, just before Point Conception for better weather.  We talked briefly on the radio with a small sailboat that was also waiting out the gale.  The next day we invited the skipper Tom Green of 25’ Chasing Dreams over to tie up and visit.  We had lunch and talked for a few hours.  He was retired from the coast guard after an accident and had been sailing for three years and now was heading back to Fresno to look after his aging parents and make plans for a larger boat.  The next morning Brad called him at 3:30 AM to notify him of our departure as conditions looked favorable before the winds build in the afternoon.  He called us back on the radio at 06:30 to tell us that his plans had changed and he was going back to Santa Barbara to meet his father and take his boat up north another day.  He called again at 08:15 to ask for our cell number to stay in contact and hear how we were making out.  At 9:46 AM Brad heard a notice from the Coast Guard about an abandoned boat and then later there was another notice of a possible “man in the water”.  We radioed Coast Guard and they confirmed it was Tom’s boat.  They had 2 helicopters and a C-130 as well as several boats, volunteer and Coast Guard to do 9 searches but none was successful.

It appears to us that soon after pulling anchor from Cojo Bay he accidentally fell overboard and was not able to get back in the boat.  He was not wearing a harness whenever we had seen him, and his sailing clothing would have interfered with swimming even though we were told by the Coast Guard that he was an excellent swimmer.  He sailed with a lot of confidence and perhaps had a little too much to take safety serious enough.  Considering the sheltered spot I don't believe the weather to be a factor.  We talked several times to the Coast Guard and after a week we talked to Tom’s parents but nothing turned up.   This is a sad reminder of how unforgiving the sea is.