SAN MATEO COUNTY -- With a fleet of boats, helicopters and airplanes, the Coast Guard and the California Air National Guard are searching for four people, including two children under age 8, whose boat was taking on water possibly 65 miles from Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay.

Late Sunday night, the Coast Guard did not know the names of those in the lost party, where they started their journey, where they were headed, or their location when they called in distress at 4:20 p.m. Sunday afternoon, said Coast Guard Lt. Heather Lampert.

"They told us they were taking on water and their electronics were failing," Lampert said.

Around 5:30 p.m., the group reported it was forced to abandon their boat. They didn't have life rafts or survival suits on board, she said, and were trying to make one out of a cooler and life preserver ring.

It was the last the authorities heard from them.

The 29-foot sailboat was beset by strong winds and rough seas; warnings about the conditions had been out all weekend, Lampert said.

"It's not nice weather out there," she said.

The group's navigation system was failing, but the caller thought they might be 65 miles off the San Mateo County Coast -- much further out than most sailboats would go. Lampert said it was unclear how a boat of that size would end up that far away from shore, if it did.

"That's what we're trying to figure out right now," Lampert said.

Read Katy Murphy's Oakland schools blog at www.IBAbuzz.com/education. Follow her at Twitter.com/katymurphy.