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Crews still searching for missing skipper off the L.A. County coast [Updated]

May 24, 2010 | 10:06 am

The U.S. Coast Guard reported no sign Monday of a missing man whose sailboat ran aground off the coast of Venice Beach with no one on board.

[Updated at 2:25 p.m.: The Coast Guard suspended its search about 1 p.m. Monday, officials said.]

Air and sea rescue teams continued to search the waters between Catalina Island and the shoreline of Los Angeles County, said petty officer Christina Bozeman, a Coast Guard spokeswoman.

The boat’s skipper, Tom Kirschbaum, 55, of Los Angeles, was reported missing after his 30-foot sailboat ran aground about one mile south of the Santa Monica Pier, authorities said. Officials later pulled the boat ashore.

Kirschbaum, an experienced sailor, was reported to have left Catalina at 9:30 a.m. Sunday en route for the mainland. The skipper’s wife, Gayle, told The Times that Kirschbaum had completed a race to Catalina and was scheduled to return Sunday to Marina del Rey.

“He was very sensible,” she said. “If it was too rough, he wouldn’t go.”

Authorities reported high surf and gusty wind conditions Sunday, but it was unclear if they played a part in his disappearance.

-- Patrick J. McDonnell and Rich Connell