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Dad won't accept his sailing daughter lost at sea

by Sail-World Cruising Round-up on 12 Jul 2013
Nina .. .
One American Dad won't give up on his sailor daughter, thought lost at sea between New Zealand and Australia. The family is from southern American state of Louisiana, and Danielle Wright's father, Ricky Wright, is preparing to mount his own search.

Danielle was just 19 when she went missing with six other cruising sailors on a voyage between Opua and Newcastle on the New South Wales coastline.

The Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand has stopped looking for Nina and the seven people aboard. It was last heard from on June 4 when around 350nm west-northwest of New Zealand's Cape Reinga.

Since the yacht went missing reports have been negative about the condition of Nina when she left New Zealand. The yacht has been described as unseaworthy by some who observed her in Whangarei, and sailed by a skipper who refused to have 'gadgets' aboard.

One of the chief criticisms was that it had no SSB radio on board. Its EPIRB had to be turned on by hand, not on contact with the water.

It has also been reported that the 21-metre-long yacht had not been out of the water for three years and experts had noted while it was moored in Whangarei that its hull was warped. It would therefore have failed the standard 'Cat-1' inspection Maritime New Zealand imposes on all locally flagged vessels leaving.

Wright has told a US media outlet he has been in talks with Texas Equusearch, a firm that specialises in searching for lost people.

'We just got through with another call,' Wright said on Wednesday evening. 'We've been talking with Texas Equusearch. They're going to head up things for us.'

Wright says one concern is that Texas Equusearch does not own a long-range patrol aircraft, like the P3 Orion which New Zealand had been using in their search for the Nina.

'He's talking with some people down there now,' he said.

'We had an hour meeting tonight and a two-hour meeting last night. We are trying to build up some contacts, scrape up some data.'

Instead of trying to buy an appropriate airplane, Wright says the plan is to raise enough money to pay New Zealand for the use of its aircraft in future searches.

Nina, built in 1928, left Opua on May 29 with skipper David Dyche III, 58, his wife, Rosemary, 60, son David Dyche IV, 17, Evi Nemeth, 73, Kyle Jackson, 27 and Wright, all Americans. Also aboard was Matthew Wootton, 35. A leader of the British Greens, he refused on environmental grounds to fly.

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