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Yacht may have struck rocks

Early speculation focused on the Aegean colliding with a larger vessel, but a commercial GPS device landed on an island. It's not clear if the device just floated there after the incident.

May 01, 2012|By Mike Reicher

Other sailors who had tracked their progress on Spot posted the link on his site's discussion boards, he said. Tempesta sailed past the islands Friday night and the swell was running about 4 feet — enough to potentially break a boat up on the rocks, he said.

"It is a nasty piece of little ocean there," Tempesta said. "It's deceptive just how rough it can be there."

To find out if the boat indeed struck the rocks, divers would head out to the island and search for the boat's keel or engine, Avery said.

Those two pieces are the heaviest on a boat and would likely fall directly to the bottom where the vessel was demolished.

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But such a salvage or diving operation would typically be conducted by a private party, not at the taxpayers' expense, according Groark.

"It doesn't change the way we search," he said, adding that Coast Guard helicopters flew over that part of the island and spotted nothing on the rocky land.

"They're pretty rocky and jagged," he said. "There's no beach; it's all rock."

Rich Roberts, spokesman for the Newport Ocean Sailing Assn., the race's organizing body, called the news "really revealing" when presented with it Tuesday.

"

This nails it," he said, adding that "boats have hit rocks before and were never totally demolished like this."

mike.reicher@latimes.com

Twitter: @mreicher

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