Rescuers are holding out hope of finding six Americans and one Briton after their vintage sailboat went missing in early June off the coast of New Zealand. After sweeping searches by a reconnaissance plane hundreds of miles out to sea came up empty, maritime authorities have shifted their sights to coastlines in the country's northern shores and islands. There, they are scouring beaches from the air, looking for the ship's life raft or debris that may have floated ashore, if the ship broke apart. The Nina, a historic wooden racing schooner built in 1928, went incommunicado on June 4, Maritime New Zealand said, having left port in Opua days before. It was headed for Newcastle, Australia, when it encountered stormy seas.
"Records show that conditions at the last known position for the vessel, on 4 June, were very rough," Maritime New Zealand said. Winds of 50 mph with gusts of 70 mph must have battered the Nina, while 26-foot waves tossed it about. The sailing yacht is equipped with a tracking device, a satellite phone and an emergency buoy, which is meant to deploy automatically when a ship takes on water, but none of them have been heard from for more than three weeks. For two days, a plane combed an area of ocean half the size of the Mediterranean Sea. Rescuers issued alerts to vessels in the area, asking for help in finding the Nina. None reported having seen her.
They have yet to see any sign of the ship or its crew...
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