The two novice sailors we reported as missing on Monday were found later that day by the Coast Guard C-130 searching for them. Zeb Tryon, 21, and Chris Reuter, 18, were spotted aboard their newly purchased Coronado 27 off Pismo Beach and were later escorted into Port San Luis. Their voyage was terminated by the Coasties, who also cited them for not having PFDs, flares and a sound making device. The pair told a local news station that they would fix the problems and continue with their northward journey to Santa Cruz. Thankfully, the weather along the coast looks pretty benign over the next few days.
Tryon admitted that they "didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into" when they spent their $2,000 savings on the boat and headed out to sea. Indeed, video shot onboard during the trip shows Tryon holding a copy of Sailing for Dummies. While we’re all for young people having adventures, a little common sense goes a long way.
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We love to give credit where it’s due, so we’re compelled to compliment Channel 7’s I-Team reporter Dan Noyes, yet again, on his incredible coverage of the persecution . . . oops, prosecution . . . of Bismarck Dinius in the death of Lynn Thornton. Dinius happened to be sitting at the helm of a ghosting O’Day 27 on the pitch-black night of April 29, 2006, when, out of nowhere, a speeding powerboat slammed into its starboard quarter, exactly where Lynn Thornton, 51, was sitting. The powerboat rode up and over the cockpit, slammed into the mast — bringing it down — and into the stanchions on the port side before sliding back off. Thornton was fatally injured in the accident, and the Lake County District Attorney has since campaigned to put the entire blame on Dinius instead of the man behind the wheel of the powerboat: Russell Perdock, who just happens to be the number two man in the Sheriff’s Office.
Since picking up the scent of the story, Noyes has been relentless in investigating what appears to be a deeply rooted good ol’ boy network in Lake County’s law enforcement system. He’s spoken to a number of interesting people the Sheriff’s Office undoubtedly hoped would keep their traps shut: A number of witnesses who saw the sailboat’s lights on (a key point of the prosecution’s case is that they were off) but who investigators declined to interview, the guy who not only saw Perdock at a bar earlier in the evening but also raced him on the lake (Perdock says he was home — his ex-wife says he wasn’t), and the inside source who reported that not only was Perdock reassigned to a lower-profile position in the department just after last month’s hearing but that the District Attorney’s investigator in the crash just happens to be a member of the same tiny Masonic Lodge Perdock belongs to.
We have little doubt that Noyes’ report on Friday’s upcoming hearing will be any less detailed and compelling. One interesting part of the report will undoubtedly be the glaring absence of Deputy District Attorney John Langan, who has been the lead prosecutor in the case. Instead, D.A. Jon Hopkins himself has stepped into that role. We don’t know whether the change was made due to Langan’s apparent ineptitude — he told Noyes last month that he didn’t know that a critical report in the case existed, even though it was "in his office" — or because the case has garnered much more attention than expected and Hopkins wanted to be front and center. Regardless, Hopkins has made it clear that he wants to drop the charges against Bismarck Dinius — until his team can "finish" their investigation, at which time he plans to recharge him!
We don’t know about you, but it sounds like some good ol’ boys are trying to stall in hopes that the media attention will cool off and they can do what they intended the entire time: ruin an innocent man’s life in order to save one of their own.
But many Lake County residents are tired of what they say is rampant corruption in their area. A former Sheriff’s Department employee has planned a protest against several of the key players, particularly Sheriff Rodney K. Mitchell, for this Friday morning before the hearing begins at 9:30 a.m. "We need to get the corrupt officials out, and the honest ones in," she said. "We hope that will be Lynn’s legacy." The protest will begin at 7 a.m. outside the courthouse in Lakeport and we hope anyone in the area with an interest in this case will join them. If you have questions or need directions, email us and we’ll put you in touch with the organizer.
Despite our gloomy economy — or perhaps because of it — there is no shortage of cruisers preparing to head south this year with the annual Baja Ha-Ha cruisers’ rally. Although the entry deadline is not until September 10, 82 boats have already signed up for the two-week rally (Oct. 25 – Nov. 7) which will take them from San Diego to sunny Cabo San Lucas.
As the above photo indicates, Rally Committee volunteers have been hard at work assembling entry confirmation packets which will be mailed out today. Inside, each boat will receive an official Ha-Ha burgee, tips on transient berthing along the California coast, a wide variety of special offers from the event’s 30 sponsors and more.
You’ll find complete details on this year’s event on the website, including a roster of current entries. The online sign-up process takes only about 15 minutes. And if you’re looking to crew this year, be sure to register with our free online Crew List, which is constantly updated. Our annual Mexico-Only Crew List Party — where potential crew mix and mingle with skippers in need — is scheduled for September 9 at Alameda’s Encinal YC, 6 to 9 p.m. Could this be your year to Ha-Ha?