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Six months later, missing schooner Nina's families just won't give up

by Nancy Knudsen on 10 Dec 2013
Skipper David Dyche, 58; his wife, Rosemary, 60; and their son David, 17 on board Nina, missing presumed sunk,during their dream circumnavigation SW
They still won't give up. It's six months since the disappearance of the schooner Nina between New Zealand and Australia with six Americans and one English crew on board, but the families still haven't given up.

Among them were two teenagers, a retired University of Colorado professor and a British Greens politician. The skipper was known to be an excellent sailor and no shred of evidence has ever been found that the sailing boat sank.

So the family and friends are still adamant that the seven crew of the Nina could be still out there, caught in circulating currents or slowly drifting towards Australia.

Even though the official search for the Nina was called off by New Zealand's rescue authorities months ago, loved ones of the missing are dedicating months and thousands of dollars to the effort, conducting their own searches of the sea between New Zealand and Australia.



Others scour satellite imagery from afar for any object that might resemble the 70-foot-long boat, which set sail from New Zealand's north island bound for Australia on May 29. Texas EquuSearch Mounted Search and Recovery continues to hire planes to fly over the search area whenever it gets a satellite image that looks promising.

The final message retrieved from the boat's satellite phone system, sent June 4, stated 'storm sails shredded last night' and 'now bare poles.'

Those on board were, or are, the professor Evi Nemeth, Capt. David Dyche III, 58; his wife, Rosemary, 60; their son David Dyche Jr., 17; Kyle Jackson, 27; Danielle Wright, 19; and Matthew Wootton, 35.

'The boat was well provisioned, you can eat fish and there are ways to get water (from rain, primarily),' Nemeth said.

The son of Evi Nemeth, Laszlo Nemeth spent nearly two months in New Zealand over the summer helping look for the Nina.

Ricky and Robin Wright, whose daughter Danielle was onboard the Nina, have set up operations on Norfolk Island in the middle of the Tasman Sea and have flown hundreds of miles offshore every day in a quest to find their daughter and the others stranded on the 85-year-old boat.

Thousands of others inspect satellite images provided for free by DigitalGlobe and helps tag objects in the pictures on a crowdsourcing website -- tomnod.com -- run by the Longmont-based company.

This has resulted in two 'suspicious' targets being sighted, but by the time aircraft could reach the spot they would have drifted away.

Ralph Baird, a volunteer with Texas EquuSearch, said it's entirely plausible that the Nina's crew is still alive half a year after they were last heard from.

'Yachtsmen have been at sea for three years and lived off the ocean,' he said. 'As long as you have fresh water, fish and shelter, you can survive.'

So the families do what they can, and wait. Below is another of the 'suspicious' images:

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