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The Mystery - PB'r falls overboard, boat's aground at Cat?

2202 Views 15 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  JSea
Ok guys, somethings amiss here and I can't quite figure it out... maybe one of you can? By now, I'm sure you've all seen the story on the news or in the paper, now, here's the mystery... The subject PB'r is running from MDR to Newport solo, common sense says a boat as large & as well equipped as the Heather would be running on autopilot... now, the solo skipper falls off the boat just past Palos Verdes with the boat headed in a southernly direction towards Newport... the mystery... how does the boat turn nearly 90 deg and then stay on that course for approximately twenty plus miles, crashing into the island near Avalon with both engines running???
In this day & age of technology, with autopilots slaved to extremely accurate GPS inputs, how does this occurance happen??? Let's hear some theories & guesses... Thank God no one else was killed or injured, was this King Neptune's wakeup call to solo skippers?

PS - here's an even more scary & possible scenario - a powerboat leaves either Dana Point or Newport, autopilot dialed in via GPS to Avalon harbor, solo skipper, skipper has heart attack or falls overboard, powerboat plows into harbor at speed... you can imagine the resulting carnage!

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maybe the autopilot was still on course from MDR to PV?

Does the Coast Guard do a full report on PBer non-injury accidents like they would for a party boat?

How about someone post a chart?
Probably did'nt make the turn around the point yet, thus pointed right at the island. Luckily it did hit the island, otherwise no one would have known he fell off! As for the NB to Avalon scenerios, that has happened many times....the long time harbies there have told me the war stories!
Why would anyone be checking their prop(s), or to see if something was
tangled under the boat, while the boat is running at a good speed?

That I just don't get.
I don't care how many hours on the water you have,
or what kind of certifications or licenses you have.

Parker 2320 'FloMar'.
I was wondering why I hadn't seen some questions from PBers until I remembered this Board.

Story sure is fishy. Think the guy does not want to appear more foolish than he was. Or maybe insurance questions.

Having made those runs both to Cat and to Newport so many times, here's my version: the man leaves MDR and he is heading for his first waypoint off Pt. Vicente on autopilot. Remember he says he is heading to Newport. He feels engines bog down, some drag. May be fuel filter, air filter, or maybe a lobster trap, or more likely a hoop set-up left out there, or maybe nothing. I've been hooked around the outdrive twice by abandoned or runaway hoops.

You would think he would shutdown right away, but he may have kept running so that the trap line, if that what was causing the drag feeling, would be up and out away from the boat and he could see it. He opens transom door and steps out on the swimstep (first photos of boat from air show transom door open). He attached a line to a cleat to hold onto, sort ersatz safety line. Maybe he had a hoopnet or an illegal trap (plenty of those out there). Maybe he tried to cut it. In either case, swell throws him off balance and in he goes. Drag is too great for him to hold onto the line (remember he claims he grabbed hold of a trailing line; some ragboaters have that but a yacht???.) The boat going in circles and then straightening out direct to Cat!!! - sorry, I can't buy that. He was on autopilot. And now he is emotionally wrestling, according to LA Times story, whether to retire or continue his legal career of defending sexually abused children, LMAO. Yeh, he made all that money defending sexually abused children. That the dude has a strong will to live and is a class A survivor - for certain.

Fish the Tides - Freddie
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autopilots do strange things for no apparent reason sometimes.....mine doglegs at the same place every time i travel by it(off santa maria river).... my last boat had an old wood freeman that dogleged at a different part of the coast EVERY SINGLE TIME it went by it(off radar domes of cambria).... magnetic anomolies affect units different...john
So are you saying the dogleg could have flipped him over or
were you just stating the technical aspects of an autopilot?

Parker 2320 'FloMar'.
Take the vessel out of gear when you need to pee over the side!

My Three Sons
Funny you should bring this up. My parents were at a big shin dig at the Long Beach Yacht Club Saturday night and there were a bunch of skippers claiming BS on this story. Seems a bit fishy to me as well. But I guess anything is possible. Maybe an insurance deal but I would think of an easier way of doing that than falling in the water!

Oh I hate this board! I didnâ??t even remember to look here for posts.
Maybe God fiddled with the autopilot settings?

The OC Register reported that he immediately put the boat up for sale (supposedly the damage is not that bad) and that he has accepted Jesus Christ back into his life and will devote the rest of his days to helping his fellow man.

I am being completely serious about this. He is convinced this incident was God calling him back into the fold.
Dave hit on the real story. The Coast guard reports the vast majority of male drowning victims are found with their zippers down.

This guy is very lucky!

Same goes wih those who fall over the edge into the Grand Canyon.

"So are you saying the dogleg could have flipped him over or
were you just stating the technical aspects of an autopilot?"

no john, i'm not speculating on how he fell off his boat....just offering an explaination on how a boat can change course with nobody on it

"with the boat headed in a southernly direction towards Newport... the mystery... how does the boat turn nearly 90 deg and then stay on that course for approximately twenty plus miles, crashing into the island near Avalon with both engines running???"
Maybe he meant for his boat to keep going till it ran out of fuel, Maybe he jumped off at the bouy thinking he could grab on knowing he told everybody his float plan including his brother, Maybe his bro knew exactly where to find him.

My bumper sticker says "I stop to Pee"

Maybe baby,
MORE info.

I was just told by Larry Derr he witnessed the boat leave MDR on THAT morning.
He said the boat came flying out of the harbor and up the channel.
He also told me the boat almost took out a number of the skulling boats and never stopped to look back.
I was also told the individual looked physically OUT OF IT aka . .
I'm sure you can put 2 and 2 together.

It was hard to hear during our conversation with Duck calls and shotgun blasts in the background. :eek:

Parker 2320 'FloMar'.
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