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Old 20-04-2007, 17:12   #1
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Sailboat goes down entering harbor

Sailboat sinks after hitting jetty.

Sailboat hits Newport jetty, sinks - News - MSNBC.com
Search Continues For Man Missing From Crashed Sailboat - KNBC-TV - MSNBC.com
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Old 21-04-2007, 02:54   #2
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William Eugene Ott, 61, of Phoenix, Arizona.
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Old 21-04-2007, 11:46   #3
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I live in San Diego; that's only a day or two sail up the coast. Here's a picture of it:

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That guy must have been knocked off his boat long before it hit the jeti. No one would go in on an approach like that. You basically enter with the seas to your stern, so you need to head towards the beach, getting into about 30' of water or so, before turning to port and riding the roller coaster in.

Dana point is even weirder; you have to enter on a beam reach, so you're getting rolled all over the place in heavy weather, with two jetis coming up on your sides, the beach barely 50 yards away, and waves that are breaking to port. Coos Bay is worse, by far, but the Southern California ports can be tricky sometimes too.
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Old 21-04-2007, 12:10   #4
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The Wedge . . .

. . . If Mr. Ott did indeed sail his small vessel too close to the west jetty at Newport Beach, it would have been like flying a small airplane into a box canyon. Without enough sea room to approach the entrance between the east and west jetties, you're putting yourself in extreme jeopardy if you then have to try to work your way up and around the end of the jetty to enter Newport harbor.

The west jetty angles out beyond the surfline, and is the source of the notorious Wedge. As the swell reflects off of the west jetty, it combines with the swell that is going to make it to shore, thereby amplifying the resuling wave before it breaks. Supposedly by a factor of three, so a four-foot wave becomes a twelve-foot wave.

Bodysurfing the Wedge has been almost a rite of passage in Orange County for a long time - it is not advised for the timid. Numerous people who should have known better have been condemned to wheel chairs for the rest of their lives after getting planted head first on the bottom at the Wedge.

If Mr. Ott was at the helm when his boat went on the rocks there, he was in a desperate situation, to be sure. I imagine he probably was, but the speculation in the story that he may have already been separated from his boat it just as likely.

Below are some links to sites offering info on The Wedge:

Surfline | The Wedge Surf Camera, Surf Travel Info and PhotosBodysurfing at Newport Beach |

Outside OnlineThe Wedge Photo, The Wedge photos, Phillip Colla

Bodysurfing at Newport Beach | Outside Online

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Old 21-04-2007, 12:51   #5
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I've bodysurfed the Wedge and survived. Feeling the thump of the breaking waves shake the ground as we walked up 1/2 block from our car was unsettling. But the rides were scary fun. Of course, I was in my twenties, and had the stupidity and courage necessary to risk life and limb for adrenaline.

I can't imagine coming in that close on purpose. Must've been separated from his yacht before it approached. No eye witnesses?
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Old 25-04-2007, 11:50   #6
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update

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Old 25-04-2007, 13:49   #7
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Interesting, deep down I guessed he was not on that boat when it hit the breakwater. In that wind and seacondition, he was off that boat somewhere between Cabrillo and the westend of Catalina. Closer to the mainland than the island.
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Old 25-04-2007, 15:28   #8
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Entrance to Newport Harbor . . .

. . . In a photo taken from the bluffs on the Corona del Mar side of the Newport Harbor entrance last week, it is obvious that the breakwaters can't always make the entrance into the bay passable. The following is from 'Lectronic Latitude of April 20.

April 20 - Newport Harbor

Photo Mark Templin
©2007Latitude38PublishingCo.,Inc. Today's Photo of the Day of the day was taken yesterday by Mark Templin, and demonstrates that although the entrance to Newport Harbor is benign almost all of the time, yesterday would not have been a good day for the Orange Coast College Shields - or any other boats - to use the entrance buoy as a rounding mark. And we can only imagine what the surge must have been like at the transient docks. On the other hand, it was a great day for surfers - until the wind later whipped up to 30 knots.

This photo is over the southern/ocean end of the east jetty, so the breakers beyond and to the right of the jetty in the photo are in the entrance itself, between the east and west jetty, which is further right in the photo and out of the frame. It is the area near the end of the longer west jetty, on the outside of the entrance, that the small vessel went on the rocks.

Below is a Maptech frame of the Newport Harbor entrance.

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