Monday, December 29, 2014

10 Dead, Surviving Crew and Passengers Rescued From Ferry
Ten people died in the rescue effort of a ferry that caught fire in the Adriatic sea. The surviving crew and passengers have been removed for the listing boat.

The ferry, the Norman Atlantic, caught fire before sunrise on Sunday. The fire was extinguished over 9 hours later at about 9:30 p.m.

Photo @ItalianNavy

The ferry was traveling from Patras, Greece, to Ancora, Italy when the fire broke out. The weather made rescue nearly impossible, considering the massive winds as a winter storm barreled down on Europe. 

A local wind, called a 'Bora Wind' blew in from the Dinaric Alps.  Gusts went to 60 m.p.h. according to meteorologist, Dave Samuel.

Both the Italy and Greece participated in the rescue, but the Italian navy was instrumental in bringing some organization into the effort.

Information from the AP, and the Italian Navy via twitter were used in preparing this report.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Explosions On Burning Ferry, Gale, Make Rescue Difficult

BRINDISI, ITALY - At least one person was reported dead and others are missing as authorities struggle to air-lift 500 passengers and crew from a ferry that caught fire in the Adriatic Sea Sunday. 

A.P. photo

The ferry, the Norman Atlantic, caught fire about 13 miles from the Albanian port city of Vlore between Greece and Italy.  The fire seemed to have started on the lower decks with continuing explosions thereafter.

Initially, efforts were being made to tow the ferry to safety, but gale force winds and driving hail have made the effort nearly impossible.  Meanwhile, approximately 140 passengers and possible crew have been airlifted to safety after the nation of Italy took over the rescue effort.

"We are burning and sinking, no one can save us!" said Nikos Papetheodosiou to Greek TV by telephone.  "Please help us!  Don't leave us!"

The surviving passengers have climbed to the top decks of the listing ferry with choking smoke billowing into the night.  The Italian Coastguard said the fire had been tamed.  Cables have been attached to the ship and fire-boats to stabilize the ship while passenger and crew are evacuated.

The North Atlantic provides harsh conditions with little chance for extended survival time for anyone forced into the water.  

Sources for this article include the L.A. Times and Reuters.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Seven Sisters Found, Crew Missing, Kite Man of Berkeley

The alert went out on boatwatch and a variety of cruising and sailing websites and sailing threads:  Tom Kardos and his experimental 40 foot yacht, Seven Sisters, was overdue for it's planned November 9th, arrival date in Acapulco.

11/28/2014 "S/V Seven Sisters

Overdue at Acapulco, Mexico
CLOSED:  On November 23, 2014, a passing M/V sighted and reported the S/Y Seven Sisters, disabled, one outrigger broken, no crew aboard.  No sighting of the kayak or the inflatable that were reported to be aboard.  Position: (11°-29.0 N x 102°-16.0 W).

Tonight we hear the mixed blessings, the yacht has been found, but not her crew, Tom Kardos.  At least, this is not another missing-without-a-trace story, like the Nina and the Lady Domina.  However, finding the boat without the crew suggests a difficult scenario.

Clearly, common advice is to stay with the wreck if at all possible.  It appears as if Tom survived a capsizing of the Seven Sisters and had erected temporary shelter, although, that is speculation.  It is unknown whether the kayak or inflatable that were lashed to the deck of the Seven Sisters survived the capsizing, or whether, for unknown reasons, Tom managed to board one of them.  

Our hearts are with Tom's family and friends.  

Photo the Seven Sisters

Cushion Port Side (overturned)

Flotation Starboard Side (overturned)
Outboard Motor Well On Stern

Tom gained fame early in life by landing his hang glider on the 10 yard line at Berkeley's Memorial Stadium on October 27th, 1979, upstaging the Cal-USC football game, and the Cal quarterback who ducked under the right wing.

Thanks to Latitude 38 and it's version of 'Lectronic Latitude' for some of the information and links.

Here is the Seven Sisters, in all her glory.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tom Kardos, Seven Sisters, Overdue at Acapulco

Missing, the Seven Sisters, en route to AcApulco:

Last Known Position as Plotted On Google Earth

The following is from Boat Watch:

S/V Seven Sisters
Overdue at Acapulco, Mexico
November 24, 2014 @ 1500 UTC

We have been asked for assistance in locating the S/V Seven Sisters.

Boat Description:
Approximately 39 feet in length white hull with blue trim, dark blue sail and light blue mainsail. She is carrying a 10 foot grey kayak and 6 foot red inflatable.

Comms: Marine VHF Radio only.

POB: Thomas Kardos, mid 50's. 5'7" 165 lbs.

Last Known Position: 14° 11' N 095° 33' W, heading north to Acapulco, Mexico. If enough provisions could go straight to Cabo San Lucas.

Destination: Acapulco, Mexico. Was expected to arrive November 10, 2014.

Anyone with information regarding the S/V Seven Sister is requested to contact RCC Alameda at 510-437-3701 or

Thanks always to Glenn Tuttle who helps us keep abreast of missing and overdue boats, a personal concern, after our own misadventures in the past.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

SV Simplicity Found

We were just notified the SV Simplicity has been found.  We repeat a message we got from the cruisers network:

The S/V Simplicity made contact on the Maritime Mobile Service Network and advised they were delayed to their destination. The USCG was notified to cancel the boat watch. 

Thank you,

Glenn Tuttle - Moderator 
Cruisers Network Online

Sent from my I Phone

Peace to all sailors and thanks to those who take the time to raise the alarm when a boat is missing.  As in the case of the SV Nina, news of a missing boat is always valid, and the sooner authorities act to find the missing the better the potential results will be.

SV Simplicity Overdue From Wilmington DE to Ft. Pierce, FL. Please Advise


Photo is of the SV Simplicity which was for sale through
the Multihullcompany.  It is a Francis 48.  It may or may
not be the boat which has been reported missing.
If you have any information about the SV Simplicity, please advise the Coast Guard IMMEDIATELY.  This boat is long over due and look-outs have seen nothing of her. 

The following message was received from Glenn Tuttle, the Cruisers Network:

USCG Wilmington, and USCG Norfolk have issued a lookout for the S/V Simplicity, a 47.5 sailing catamaran. It is a 2003 St. Francis catamaran , US flagged, and skippered by Capt. Ralph Hendry. POB: unknown. Registered Home Port: Wilmington, DE. They have EPIRB, VHF, and HF and a rib dinghy.

They were last heard from in the area of 42 mi. offshore of Wilmington on Nov. 5th. They were going from Hampton, to Ft. Pierce, FL, and are now declared overdue by the USCG. There could be as many as 5 POB, but this is taken from a year old float plan

This information was verified with the USCG as of 0645 hrs EST, Monday, 10 Nov.

Any one with any knowledge of the whereabouts of this vessel, please contact USCG Norfolk at 757-398-6390.

Glenn Tuttle - Moderator
Cruisers Network Online
Punta Gorda, FL

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Serenity Crew Sam and Sharon Alleyne In Deep Sleep, but Safe

Although the details are sketchy, the 47 foot yacht, Serenity, and her crew of two,  Sam and Sharon Alleyne have been found.  A message has been posted on daughter, Teo Alleyne's face book page:

"A message from my mother who just got home. Thank you once again everyone!
"With Gods Blessing, Sam and I , survived five days, four nights at sea that had us doing almost 600 miles. 
We want to thank all those who have sent their prayers, who organized searches, or helped us in any way. 
Right now we need to rehydrate, (sic) eat some food and get some much needed rest. Will give the whole saga when I can think straight"
Teo Alleyne 

The Bg Unicorn

Sam Alleyne was the captain of the famous 'Pirates of the Caribbean' ship, The Big Unicorn.  Unfortunately, the Big Unicorn sank last May as it was being brought in for repairs.

It is unclear what happened to the Serenity. Arthur Alleyne told his daughter, Teo, they had been "drifting" according to an article published by the BBC.  Captain Alleyne said he and his wife were o.k., but they needed to re-hydrate and get some sleep.  After that, the line went dead.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

S/V Serenity, Sam and Sharon Alleyne, OVER DUE

From:  Glenn Tuttle:

Glenn Tuttle - Moderator
Cruisers Network Online

Punta Gorda, FLThe following message provided by


Would you mind putting this out on your nets covering the Eastern Caribbean in the morning?


Glenn Tuttle - Moderator
Cruisers Network Online
Punta Gorda, FL

Hi Everyone,

We have been asked for assistance in locating the
S/V Serenity. She is white, 47' fiberglass sloop with
teak deck and light blue bimini, one mast and one engine.
Vessel Comms Marine VHF. 

Arthur Alleyne

Two POB: 

 Arthur Alleyne (Capt. Sam Alleyne) 63 and Sharon Went Alleyne 59. 

Serenity left St. Lucia enroute to Barbados on Saturday morning. At 2:14pm, we received a phone call via iphone that the boat was 35 miles off St. Lucia. Vessel is long overdue at Barbados, vessel hasn't been heard from since 1415 on the 25th October, 2014, 35 miles off St. Lucia. Please contact nearest RCC or Arianne Moore at Please see the website for the full message and contact info.

Thanks and 73,


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Equusearch Founder To Hold Memorial Service For Missing Child

Tim Miller
Dickinson, Texas -- September 2, 2014 -- Texas EquuSearch encourages you to join our search volunteers this Sunday evening September 7 for a special memorial service and candlelight vigil in honor of the 30 years that have passed since 16 year old teenager Laura Lynn Miller’s disappearance and to celebrate the successful return of hundreds of missing children and adults in Laura Miller’s honor by the volunteers and members of Texas EquuSearch. 

The special event will be held at the Magnolia Creek Baptist Church located at 3535 Calder Drive, League City, Texas on September 7, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. The service, to remember Laura and all missing persons, is open to the public. 

"We are going to let the world know we will never stop looking for missing loved ones," Tim Miller said. 

Tim Miller founded Texas EquuSearch 14 years ago to assist families and law enforcement to bring home missing loved ones. Losing his daughter Laura Miller was Tim Miller’s motivation to form Texas EquuSearch and dedicate his life to helping families locate their missing loved ones. 

There will be three short talks by Magnolia Creek Pastor Brett Dutton, by EquuSearch Founder Tim Miller and by EquuSearch Senior Advisor Ralph Baird. Following the service there will be a candlelight vigil to mark the 30th year since Laura Miller disappeared. 

Laura, who disappeared from a pay phone in League City on September 10, 1984, was found deceased 17 months later in a wooded area off Calder Road in League City. Her remains were scattered in a remote area where three other females' remains were also found. This location became known as a dumping ground for victims and was later featured in the movie, "Texas Killing Fields." 

Texas Equusearch played a pivotal role in the search for the S/V Nina and her crew after they disappeared in the Tasman Sea on June 4th, 2013.  Unfortunately, nothing of the Nina has been found, though relatives remain hopeful the crew will show up on a remote island or reef.

About Texas EquuSearch -- Texas EquuSearch, a recognized 501 c (3) charity, was organized and chartered in August 2000 to assist law enforcement and families in the search for missing loved ones. Texas EquuSearch does not charge agencies or families and relies solely on donations. To date, Texas EquuSearch has conducted 1500 searches with 300 people found alive and 182 loved ones’ remains returned to families. Over 150,000 volunteers from ffected communities have joined in searches carefully managed by EquuSearch. To learn more please visit 

Contacts: Ralph Baird
 (713) 461-1784
 Charlene Wilford 
 (832) 270-6766 


Source: Texas EquuSearch 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Texas Equusearch Weighs In On Nina Search Report

The multi-state search and rescue organization, Texas Equusearch, (TES) weighed in on the Rescue Coordination Center, New Zealand's, (RCC-NZ) official "independent review" of the search for the SV Nina. Sources indicate TES representatives were dismayed with the report in general, and specifically with references suggesting TES had different objectives than the original search. The report suggests TES was interested in a recovery operation for bodies, rather than a search for living beings.

Ralph Baird from Texas Equusearch indicated the only TES objective was finding the seven sailors alive during a group phone call. Included in the search effort were Ricky and Robin Wright, parents of crew member Danielle Wright, and Ian and Sue Wootton, parents of crew member Matthew Wootton.  

The families raised over $600,000 for a private search after the RCC-NZ suspended it's official search.  The bulk of the funds were spent in New Zealand and Australia on search aircraft.

TES issued this paragraph along with the response to the report which we printed in a prior post: 

"The search for the missing schooner Nina by the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) fell short and was poorly managed according to the Families of the seven (7) missing crew, including six (6) Americans and one Brit," the release states.
"The Families do not agree with and have responded in writing to the so-called ‘independent’ review of the efforts by the RCCNZ to search for the 70 foot historic schooner Nina. The text of the Families’ summary letter delivered to Mr. Keith Manch, the Director of Maritime New Zealand follows," representatives say in the release.

A celebration of life will be held this Weekend in England for crew member Matthew Wootton.  Similar celebrations were held for the David, Rosemary and David Dyche, IV, for Danielle Wright, Kyle Jackson and for Evi Nemeth, earlier this year.

More information can be found HERE.

Nina Families Respond To RCC-NZ Report, Serious Concerns Remain

The Families of Crew On Board The Missing Sailing Vessel Nina
Mr. Keith Manch,
Director Maritme New Zealand
1 Grey Street
Wellington, New Zealand

Nina in New Zealand, photo not submitted with the letter

July 20, 2014

     We have received the Independent Report of the search and rescue (SAR) for the Nina and her crew. We respectfully send our sincere thanks to the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) for all their efforts in this lengthy and complex effort.

     Our wish is that if the crew members have indeed died, their deaths and all the extraordinary effort that went into finding them will not have been in vain. We hope to save others the same anguish.

     In this spirit, we offer the opinion that several aspects of the report are not adequately addressed and warrant further inquiry. We remain particularly concerned about the delay in launching the search and the initial selection of search coordinates. Questions about what was known from the Iridium satellite phone data, how the information was used in the first crucial days, and whether that data should have been used at all are raised by the report itself:

"analysis raises deep suspicion on the reliability of the Iridium positions". (page 36)

     Also questionable is changing the ETA in Australia. Scheduled arrival was June 10; extending that to June 25th may have been harmful. Regarding use of radar data, some research shows that small wooden vessels cannot be detected over 20 miles. Additional serious, documented concerns remain; we would be pleased to work directly with you if you are inclined to address them.

A constant concern throughout this episode has been that there was an underlying, counterproductive undercurrent of contention between us – that is, between RCCNZ and Texas
EquuSearch (TES) working with associated volunteers on our behalf. Author David Baird notes:

“The relationship between TES and RCCNZ did not start well; they did not appear to share the same objective”. (page 56)

     The report goes on to state various criticisms of TES actions, ignoring in spirit the tireless effort of people bound together by faith, determination, and courage. This is unfair, contrary to an overall attitude of fortitude and common purpose, and this attitude dominates the report.

     We cannot, however, overlook the admirable traditions of professionalism and dedication that continue to distinguish the RCCNZ. We can grow closer in our mutual goals. For example, perhaps we can exchange thoughts on expanding partnerships with private companies, as suggested by Diane Hockenberry of Iridium Communications Inc, McClean, Virginia, and DigitalGlobe, Inc., which re-tasked satellites to assist us.

     We know that in the final analysis you join with us and the mariners of the world in embracing the words of Psalm 107, forever in our hearts:

Those who go down to the sea in ships . . . they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distresses.

* *

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Nina Families Preparing Response To Search

A lengthy document was recently completed reviewing the actions of the Rescue Coordination Center, New Zealand, (RCC-NZ).  It contained glowing praise for the role the RCC-NZ played in the attempted rescue of the crew of the SV Nina, a 1928 schooner that disappeared in the Tasman Sea on June 4th, 2013.  Many people would like to see what the response will be from the families.  Are they in support of the review, or do they oppose it's findings?  What would the families like to see going forward?

The review can be found HERE.

Sailing Savoir Faire has a very strong point of view over the independent review.  However, we will not voice an opinion on the Nina search review until the families have had an opportunity to make their own response, in public.  Even then, we may delay our response because we have come very close to this search, having covered it in detail nearly since the day the Nina was reported missing in the news.

After the RCC-NZ was unable to locate the Nina, the families went to work with fundraisers so they could conduct their own search.  They raised over $600,000 from family, friends and well-wishers.  It has been first class all the way, headed up by a public-private partnership, Texas Equusearch (TES), which acts in a similar role in the U.S. that is played by non-governmental-organization in other countries.  Unfortunately, TES was unable to locate the Nina, or her crew, either.  

A lot of people have a difficult time understanding the TES mission.  While they have had successes in finding the remains of people lost and who perished, their primary successes have been in rescuing people who are alive.  They have found more than 300 people alive and about half that number of missing persons who in fact perished.  

Most recently, TES challenged the Federal Aviation Administration on a prohibition on the use of drones in the U.S.  TES has used drones to find lost people in terrain that would take weeks to search, although the FAA sent them an email note telling them not to conduct drone flights for "commercial purposes".  A judge ruled TES could in fact use drones.

 TES says the Nina search has been an effort to find the Nina sailors alive, though no drones were used.  Most of the search fund was paid to New Zealand and Australian aviation companies, making it's way into the local economies of New Zealand and Australia..  A tiny portion of funds raised were used to pay for super-technical drift analysis.  The families say they still hope the Nina will float back to civilization, or the crew will be found on a desolate island or atoll.  TES is an all volunteer organization made up in part by people grateful for the results of the many searches.

There are seven people who ventured forth on the Nina.  They are the family that owned the yacht, David Dcyhe, Rosemary Dyche and their son, David Dyche, Jr., world renown author and mathematical genius, Professor Evi Nemeth, Kyle Jackson, a former senate page and survivalist, Danielle Wright, a musician a student and a photographer, all from the United States.  Also on board, Matthew Wootton, from England.  Matthew is an advocate for the environment who took a 3 and a half year voyage around the world to learn and speak on environmental issues.  Matthew crewed on various boats and ships because he does not approve of the carbon footprint left by jets.

The Nina families have put together a comprehensive web site.  They say they hope it will comfort those who wish the Nina crew well, and provide insight to other families who are missing a loved one, no matter whether that is on land or at sea.

We wish peace to all, and fair winds.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Family Asks Time To Respond To Nina Review Report

For those who are following this blog, you might expect an immediate reaction from the writing team about the document prepared by an independent reviewer over the efforts by the RCC-NZ in the search for the 1928 schooner, Nina, and her 7 crew mates, which disappeared on June 4th, 2013 in the Tasman Sea. Of course I have read the report and I have some strong points of view which I am about to express.  Probably.

First, though, out of respect and gratitude, we think it is best to give the family their chance to say something if they want to.  What is clear is a fundamental desire from many people who would like to see search and rescue at sea improved.  Back seat drivers and Monday morning quarterbacks are always incredibly sage, until it is their time in the hot seat, at which time their present wisdom usually escapes them. At the other end of the scale, we are talking about lives.  If we don't look at how things were done we will never get better at what we do.

So, sure.  Considering nothing of the Nina was ever found, and considering the report which mostly praises the RCC-NZ, one must think, isn't there anything that could have been done better?  

What I am not going to do is parrot the lauding of the RCC-NZ as multiple publications have done without asking serious questions.  Instead, I want to congratulate the team that took over the search after the RCC-NZ halted it's search.  I want to thank the RCC-NZ for the effort that was made.  Finally, I am going to say a prayer for the sailors who are missing and perhaps through the miracle of the sea, will one day come back into the lives of their families.

If you want to read the report, you can find it on-line here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

And Baby Makes 4 - To Be Rescued

Parents who brought two toddlers along on their dream of a world cruise aboard a 36 foot sailboat are getting blistered in the media today. Mother, Charlotte Kaufman, expressed misgivings about taking her two daughters, ages 1 and 3, on the family Odyssey from Los Angeles to New Zealand in a 36 foot boat in her blog. After battling multiple storms and with 1 year old Lyra ill, husband Eric decided to pull the plug, so to speak, and call for help.

Most captains know if you call for help and it comes, it means the end of the boat. With no one left aboard, the boat becomes a hazard to navigation and is usually scuttled. That is what was done with the 36 foot Hans Christian, the Rebel Heart, the well built, ocean going sloop that had become home to the Kaufman family.

From the Kaufman blog

"We believe that most people lead lives of quiet desperation, and we have vowed to not let our lives end up accordingly. We want to squeeze out every precious drop of our existence together, because tomorrow maybe I’ll die, or Eric will die, and where will we be then?" Charlotte said in a letter to her critics published in the San Diego Magazine.

Charlotte continues, "We don’t believe in waiting for far-off “afters,” like after Eric gets a promotion, after Cora finishes kindergarten, after the girls graduate, or after we retire. No. Life is too short and too valuable to gamble on pushing your dreams off until later. We believe in going now, and doing it with gusto.

Many don't agree with the Kaufman decision to take two tots sailing on a major crossing. A relative, Charlotte's brother, 
James Moriset, said "the whole thing is nuts."  He claimed he saw the potential for all of the problems the sailing couple encountered.

Critics argue the rescue cost over $600,000.  This is a bill the Kaufman's won't have to pay, as it is time budgeted in training drills or rescue, whichever comes in first. One thing made clear, the couple was as prepared for the trip as one could be.  They popped the EPIRB satellite rescue device and both the California Air National Guard 129th rescue wing and the U.S. Navy responded.

Eric Kaufman said in his blog, "Rebel Heart allowed us to see ourselves for who we were. We learned what we really could accomplish. We learned that chasing down dreams and doing the impossible is actually quite possible, and not just for other people. We learned that we could be so much more than we thought. "

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Venezuela Remains A Dangerous Place

Many sailors have made a second home in Venezuela.  It used to be a great place to go to dodge hurricanes while enjoying some of the best that South America had to offer. 

 Hugo Chavez changed part of that.  While making life a little better for most Venezuelans, he seized private companies and private property and gave a cold shoulder to Americans.  Using the Fidel Castro approach, he set up block captains whose job it is to keep track of dissenting citizens, rather than to protect their barrios.  

Meanwhile, violent crime in Caracas has made the country one of the most deadly places to live in the world short of bona-fide war zones.  Protests have rocked the country with midnight roundups and rumors of torture, common.  

Corruption is rampant and inflation has made nearly everything more expensive in Venezuela.  Price controlled items are cheaper if they can be found.  However, corrupt people buy out price controlled items and sell them on the black market at the world price.  One of the most prized possessions today is a simple roll of toilet paper.

While citizens might be better off, they are only slightly better off, rather than wealthy from the billions of dollars in oil revenue generated every year.  At least 10 billion dollars of those profits that could go to Venezuelan citizens is given to Cuba, which sells the oil to finance domestic operations and to oppose "imperialistic thinking".

The Nicolas Maduro government, which was handed power after the death of Hugo Chavez, and then elected after silencing opposing views in the press, blames the U.S. for an alleged wild plot to overthrow the government.  Journalists have been expelled from the country and a major television station removed from the air for reporting on the Maduro regime.  Hence, visitors should obtain press credentials when reporting, while non-professional reporters should be careful what they say, lest they be accused of plotting against the government.  Social media is subject to government scrutiny.  

Still, the people of Venezuela are wonderful people who welcome tourists, as outside of oil, tourism is one of the few industries left.  

Monday, June 23, 2014

Big Mistakes Cost Bigly

Digital Globe Image
Found On Tomnod
In a perfect world everything goes perfectly.  In the ocean, when one thing does not go well, everything goes wrongly, fast.  There are a lot of things that went wrong for the crew of the Nina.  When the crew comes back, yes their return is optimistic, but possible, we will hear about all of the things that went wrong on the Nina end. 

As I sit writing this, the families are waiting on a government sanctioned report to tell us what went right or wrong in the search.   It is common sense to say something went wrong because nothing, not a single plank, life vest, raft, sail, or anything has been found of the Nina.

Sure, the Tasman Sea is vast.  She swallows boats and sailors like a voracious tiger.  But she nearly always leaves a few clues.  

While the Tasman Sea turned into the Milky Way of search patterns, the faith and hope of the families remains 10 times greater.  That is 10 times greater than most people can imagine, but my bet is with the families. 

 Sooner or later the truth of the fate of the Nina will come forth.   Some of the family members hope part of that truth will be through the voice of an independent reviewer who may shed light on why it took 21 days to start a search for a yacht that went through near typhoon sized wind and waves, that communicated several times every single day since her departure on May 29th, 2013, and which fell silent on June 4th, 2013.

Whether or not the Nina is found, the results of this report may make a difference.  They will certainly make a difference for the families who wait for word and survive on pure faith.  The results could also make a huge difference for future sailors who depend upon a search and rescue system that, in a perfect world, is always seeking better ways to save sailors, hence invites honest and hard hitting reviews.  

Until then, some family members ask the public to keep a constant watch for a boat lying low in the water and wrecks on remote reefs and islands.  

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Piracy in Panama, Beware

The following article courtesy of Noonsite, incidence of piracy
 and the Cruisers forum

By Sue Richards — last modified Apr 25, 2014 06:22 PM
This nasty incident occurred over a month ago, on March 15th 2014, however it’s taken some time to get the facts clear and verified before reporting. The boat owners who made the report have asked to remain anonymous, however they are keen to warn other Panama cruisers of the possible dangers in this area.

Published: 2014-04-25 00:00:00

Topics: Piracy 

Countries: Panama 

File photo, not the boat in the article

“This morning at 02:30 our vessel (a private cruising yacht on a circumnavigation) anchored at Taboga Island, off Balboa, Panama City, was attacked by three pirates.

“The Captain heard voices beside the boat as we slept and went up into the cockpit. One of the pirates had come aboard whilst being warned not to very loudly by the Captain, waking the other crew members. Five shots were fired from a 26' vessel (approx) with a black rub rail nearly as high as our freeboard, but none injured our crew despite holes in the fibreglass top sides just inches from where the Captain stood. They appeared young, fit and organised and they were intent on robbery at the very least.

“We were at anchor with no one else in sight, close to shore in the cut between the two islands. We had arrived at 17:00 the day before and had not been ashore.

“We responded to defend ourselves and the pirates were overwhelmed by the response. The one who had boarded jumped back into his boat when he realised they had underestimated the situation and they fled. There were no other incidents that night as far as I know.

“We left the anchorage immediately and went back too Las Playita de Amador”.

Editor’s Note: This incident took place near the southern end of Taboga Island in an isolated area, not at the Taboga mooring field. Nowhere in Panama should yachts anchor at night in remote areas without being accompanied by other yachts.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Found Sailboat In Australia Not Likely Schooner Nina

There has been a lot of hype about a mast caught in a fishing rig in the Timor Sea being from the missing schooner, Nina that disappeared on the Eastern coast of Australia in the Tasman Sea.  Part of that hype is a well written story from the Herald Sun News, Northern Territories, a publication with a sterling reputation, which does nothing more than sensationalize the remotest of possibilities the sunken yacht found in the Timor Sea is the Nina.  If the author had been doing her homework, she would have printed a more accurate headline, "Timor Sea Find Not Likely Nina".

"Not really, we are just trying to sell papers"

Sensationalist stories have hurt the Nina search before.  One of the most famous stories suggested the Nina was in horrible condition.  The authority upon whom the writer relied had never been aboard the Nina.  In fact, the authority for the story is not a shipwright, hence not in a position to make official statements about what condition the Nina is in.  Few people know, a survey was completed in 2012 in which the Nina was found to be "a sound yacht".  That story has never been made public.

The story in the Herald Sun, Northern Territories, also speaks about how massive the search for the Nina was.  If you repeat something enough times people begin to believe it.  While the search for the Nina was large, the families say there were massive errors in the search, another fact not well reported.  There is a significant likelihood the search missed the Nina and her crew because of those errors.  

The families ask all people to keep a sharp eye out for a boat lying low in the water, as well as wrecks on remote islands and reefs, debris and flotsam.  At one time that request was for boats in the Northern Tasman Sea.  Considering the currents and passage of time, the Nina could be about anywhere.

Whangarei Harbor

Authorities have been closed mouthed about the details of the mast found in the Timor Sea.  The information I have I am not at liberty to disclose at this time.  Suffice it to say, the mast found was very distinct and does not sound like it came from the missing schooner, the Nina, according to sources.  Is it possible the Nina crew found a floating wreck and salvaged a mast?  Sure, but not very likely.

We encourage the Herald Sun News, Northern Territories, and all publications to focus on things that have the potential to help the missing crew and their families.  The families have their hands full doing what authorities from many countries should have done.  Putting out sensationalist fires makes their efforts more difficult.  The truth may be just as sensational, but it is going to take someone with a lot of moxy to bring it forth.

Anything, of course, is possible.  Until divers can check the ocean floor to verify there is, in fact, a boat, and the mast was not simply blown overboard and snagged on the bottom, no one can say for sure what authorities will find.  However, speculation the found mast is the Nina is likely sensationalist journalism to sell papers and does an unjust service to the Nina sailors and their families.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

They Look For The Airliner But Not The Nina?

It is time for change.  Please sign the petition.  Ask the good boy's network to bring the crew of the Nina home!

If we told the whole Nina story, the public would be shocked.  So would some officials who, so far, have refused to lift a finger to save seven valiant lives aboard the schooner Nina.

Breaking news coming soon regarding the sunken boat found in the Timor Sea.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Have You Seen This Boat?

Many of you have written about your experiences with the historic sailboat, Niña.  It is not surprising people have stories to tell, since the Niña was built in 1928, and started winning races the first year she was launched, including the Fastnet race which years later would claim the lives of valiant sailors.  As a consolation for the 1978 tragedy, that Fastnet race was the beginning of better life support equipment, including life raft stowage and supreme construction.  Those changes may be what has given the Niña 7 the best crack at survival.

We believe the Niña is in this picture from
the David Dyche facebook page.  We are looking for a better
picture from the top down.

We are searching for a photograph from the top down to the decks.  Despite the thousands of photographs of the Niña, I have not seen a single top down pic.  Someone somewhere must have one.

Please forward to us if you have one or have seen one.  The search for the Niña continues.  It would be helpful to have a top-down profile for our satellite search which is in process.

You can send those to, please mark in the header Niña because I get a million emails a day!~

How can a crew survive this much time floating around in the currents of the Tasman Sea?  It is hard, but possible.  There is a lot of rainwater.  Turtle blood doubles as hydration in a pinch.  You can also drink your own recycled water, at least for awhile.  Fish are plentiful.  All it takes is an adventurous spirit.  The Niña crew has that in spades!

Personally, speaking for myself only, and no one else, if the Niña is still afloat, her crew is in the hands of the public.  Great effort has been spent in encouraging officials to do what they are charged to do.  The only voice left is your voice.  We encourage you to use it HERE.  You can also vote with a buck, as the private search to do the job the professionals should have done is costing an absolute mint.  The staff at Sailing Savoir Faire hopes an even better method for reaching out to people in charge will soon come into play.  Each of you has a lot to do with that.

The Niña story from the start: S E A R C H

More Information:  N I N A 7

Monday, March 3, 2014

Corrections Coming, Schooner Nina

Reporting on the missing Niña story made sense since I had been reporting on another missing yacht, the Lady Domina.  Little did I know, my casual reporting would turn into a major blog about the search for the Niña.  It has been a cherished experience, working with family members and a dedicated team of volunteers at Texas Equusearch.  As it turns out, there are plenty of errors in my postings which I will repair over the course of time.  

Fortunately, as I got closer to the source, I was able to avoid many errors, like the false report the Niña was not in good shape.  The truth is, the Dyche family made the Niña part of their lives, spending countless hours and their fortune renovating the historic schooner.  The boat was rated as being "sound" in 2012 by professionals who had been aboard her.  This is a major departure from the reports by professional journalists who repeated speculation by people who had never been aboard the Niña and lacked the qualifications to determine her condition if they had been aboard her.

One big error on my part was the inclusion of this photo in the early reports:

I probably got the photo from one of the New Zealand papers.  My error.  This is not the tender that was aboard the Niña.  Instead, it is a tender for the boat Ninita.  The tender that is aboard the Niña has pointed or "canoe" ends.  You can see part of the tender in this photograph:

The top of the tender on Nina is covered, but clearly,
the tender has a canoe or pointed end.

If the Niña did go down, she left evidence.  Kind people are watching for things that are floating or which have washed up on various beaches.  We know because people have been in contact with the families.  So far, nothing that has been found appears to have any association with Niña.  Still, we don't want lingering misconceptions, so we have included the picture of the tender here.

Some people have asked, 'are they still searching for the Niña this late?'  The answer is a resounding YES!  The families are still searching.  They are working on raising more funds and talking about how best to search remote places.  The Tasman Sea and Pacific are odd places which swallow boats up and spin them in the currents for years.  Just recently, we witnessed the survival of Jose Salvador Alvarenga who had been at sea for 13 to 14 months with no provisions.

The Ninita, sloop rigged

Another false report, again which I checked carefully before going to press, is that Texas Equusearch (TES) has a cross to bear in this search.  We know some people think the non-profit Texas based search organization is making something on the search because we get those veiled emails questioning motives.  For those who are in doubt, the record should be square.  TES volunteers take nothing.  Ralph Baird, Larry Slack and other volunteers have given relentless hours of their valuable time, at cost to family and fortune, to pass the legacy of good tidings in helping locate the missing Niña 7.  They have been troopers in doing what every one of us should be willing to do when a loved one goes missing, which is to pull out all the stops and go full bore, be of service to others.  Yes, people are that dedicated to giving themselves to their community.

If you are just coming to the search for the historic boat and want to read more, you can start here.  The families have an update page which a dedicated volunteer has helped put together for the families.  You can check it out here.

There is a lot of the Niña story which I have not been able to tell.  My silence falls well within the ethics required of a journalist.  One day, there will be "the rest of the story," as Paul Harvey used to say.  One part of the story which remains unwritten, the rescue of the crew.  While I cannot say much, I can say this:  I believe in my heart there is a strong chance this crew is floating in the Tasman Sea or washed up in a remote location.  The families ask all people in the North Tasman Sea to keep a sharp lookout, and for the rest of us to keep the crew in their blessings.