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Point Conception Carnage

Point Conception is notorious among coastal sailors. A combination of unusually strong winds and large seas can make rounding the point very difficult. In fact, it’s not at all uncommon for boats to wait days — even weeks — for a good weather window. But some boats don’t wait.

"Point Conception has been the sad recipient of several lost and/or abandoned sailboats over the past several months," writes Central Coast resident Jeff Chamberlain.

This ferrocement boat foundered at Point Conception a few months ago. This is all that’s left.

© Jeff Chamberlain

"This is all that is left of a ferrocement sailboat that went up on the point in the middle of the night several months ago. A Coast Guard bulletin at the time had some good photos taken out of a helo door of the boat laying over on its side in the rocks on the outer point. These days, this is all that is left, a tangled mess of rigging, some spars, and the engine. Debris was strewn for miles down the coast in the weeks following the grounding.

© Jeff Chamberlain

"In the last month, the above sailboat was reportedly towing the below sailboat north when the two boats were caught in a southerly gale.

© 2009 Jeff Chamberlain

"Before it was over, both ended up on the beach. As of two days ago, this is what the scene looks like.

© Jeff Chamberlain

"I have no idea what efforts have been organized to remove these vessels, but some time has passed and no one seems to be setting any speed records cleaning up the mess."

Do you have any information on these wrecks? Email LaDonna with any information.

If you have a Conception rounding in your future, a few common tactics may help it go more smoothly:

  • Whatever you do, don’t be on a schedule.
  • A foggy morning can be a sign that winds will be calm all day.
  • If the weather is hot, the wind will likely blow your socks off in the afternoon — and perhaps for several days straight. Your best bet is to wait till things calm down. (Refer to the first tip.)
  • If you’re headed north, tuck into Cojo to wait for that precious window. If you’re headed south, hang out in Port San Luis till things clear.
  • As soon as conditions mellow, get your butt in gear and go like hell! This is often in the middle of the night, so be ready.

Share your Conception tips with LaDonna at the email above.

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Bruce Stone and Power Play romp along in some decidedly Bay-like conditions on Western Long Island Sound.