A motor-sailor with a high-tech top has vanished into the Atlantic ocean after departing Marigot Bay on the Northeast Caribbean island of St. Martin. The yacht, the Lady Domina, was heading for the Azores on March 31st, 2013, to pick up a crew member. From there, the yacht was scheduled to motor to Norway.
The internet plays an important role in the search for wayward yachts. Using high-tech devices, sailors have learned how to extend the range of wireless internet signals. News of a missing yacht travels quickly in sailing circles aided by shortwave radios. Sailors the world over watch for missing craft which sometimes show up in port, the captain unaware he has been reported missing.
The internet also provides a sense of intrigue about the Lady Domina. Here is a posting seeking crew from 2011:
"Female Crew wanted for atventure trip in the carebbean With ,75" sailboat This is not a race , but adventure, The point of this trip is not to make money on the ship,but too enjoy,and explore islands and met new people and cultures . no sailing experiense needed. I am from norway 183/85 blond 43 easy going ,likes the good things in life."
Often a yacht is found in places far from the captain's stated course. This happens when bad weather or mechanical failure force a course change, and sometimes when the captain changes his destination at the last minute without advising family or friends.
Tore Christiansen, a Norwegian fluent in English, learned of the missing yacht from a Norwegian sailing internet bulletin board.
"Is there any of you who know Lady Domina or Slettvold and can help with some information? How the boat is equipped?" the poster asked in Norwegian.Christiansen began making inquiries on the English-language sailing site the Cruisers Forum and other web sites. Meanwhile, Bill Dietrich, who authored Retire Onto A Sailboat, had by chance, taken the only known photograph of Lady Domina. Dietrich was preparing for his "vacation" from living on a sailboat when a Norwegian newspaper asked permission to use the photograph.
Lady Domina Looking Forward
New technology makes finding missing yachts much easier. An Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) alerts search crews to a yacht's location by satellite. Many sailors carry a satellite telephone not limited by cell areas, since these units are now affordable. While a sailor can grab these items at the last minute, they were reportedly not part of the equipment on board.
However, the Lady Domina had a commercial-grade black life-raft lashed to the aft rail in a white canister, plus a handled VHF radio and a hand-held GPS. She also appears to have modern navigation equipment including radar.
2009 Message From Kati Lee
Regarding Attack Against
Her Parent's Yacht
Venezuela, 10 miles from Puerto Santos - Attack on British Yacht
By Sue Richards — last modified Jan 21, 2009 08:54 PM
My parents, Peter and Betty Lee, were attacked on their yacht "Raven Eye" after leaving Puerto Santos on the 5th July 2008.
A pirogue with 6 men aboard approached the boat (whilst they were underway). One man was in military uniform. Peter proceeded to slam and try to sink the boat but shots were fired.
The men boarded "Raven Eye", shooting and stabbing the family dog. They tied Peter on deck with a gun pointing at him and went down below and held Mrs Lee with 2 guns pointing at her face. They took US$300, a laptop computer, tool boxes, the SSB radio, outboard motor, ripped the microphones from the VHF, ripped the compass out, tried to take the radar and forward looking sonar but they were fixed too well, and left the boat a complete mess. They also tried to take Mrs Lee's wedding ring, but she could not get it off and in the process cut her hand severely.
After the attack my parents had no means of communication at all so Peter took the decision to get out of Venezuelan waters to Trinidad.
The case is now in the hands of the authorities and the British Commission.
PEOPLE NEED TO BE AWARE.
If anyone has any advice or know of people we can contact, we would be grateful.
S/V Lady Domina
S/V Lady Domina
Facebook provides a last, perhaps tell-tale glimpse, of the future of Lady Domina. Crew member Kati Audery Lee:
" On my way, there may be trouble ahead, there may be moonlight and love and romance, so let's face the music and dance". Hopefully we'll be in the Azores in 3 weeks."With Lady Domina now 60 days over-due, ships are keeping a close watch for her. By chance, two other sailboats, Grain de Soleil and Team 2 Choc were reported missing in the same area where Lady Domina should be at the same time The first of these boats set off it's EPIRB on April 28th, 2013, while battling heavy seas. The three man crew remains missing. The Team 2 Choc was located, likely by watchful sailors, when the boat arrived in the Azores piloted by an exhausted single handed sailor.
At this point, no one really knows what happened to Lady Domina and the five souls on board. Some say she did not carry adequate fuel for the 2,200 nautical mile trip and is floating around the Atlantic. Others speculate fuel stores were adequate, but the trip could easily take 40 to 60 days depending upon weather, currents and other things Mother-Nature.
The Color Is Not Close To The
Black Hull Of Lady Domina
S/Y Lady Domina
May 1, 2013
Subject: Distress Relay Alert / Communications Search
All Ships in the area of Atlantic Ocean – St. Martin to the Azores
There has been no communications with S/Y Lady Domina after its departure from St. Martin on April 1st.
Position: Between St. Martin and the Azores
Boat description: 75 foot sailing yacht, with dark blue/black hull, white strip, red bottom.
There are 5 people on board.
Assistance Required: Communication Search on VHF and Sharp Look Out. Any information regarding the route and estimate of arrival to the Azores.
Instructions to Ships: – Ships enroute are requested to help keep a sharp look out and report any sightings to MRCC DELGADA
– Ships with other vital information about the distressed vessels situation are invited to inform this rescue centre ASAP.
– Ships enroute are requested to do communications search on VHF on a regular basis.
COORDINATING RCC: MRCC DELGADA
TEL: +351 296 281 777
Fax: +351 296 205 239
Lady Domina Looking Aft
Adding to the intrigue is a report of a one-sided conversation from "Blue Dolphin":
Boat "Blue Dolphin" entered this post on Cruisers Forum:
On the one hand, the name "Lady Domina" is very distinct, unlike some yacht names. On the other hand, the report indicates the registration number of the yacht does not match the registration number of the missing Lady Domina.
Photos of Debris Found Near Floating Yacht Hulk
The partial hulk of an upturned boat found during the search for the Grain de Soleil does not resemble the black hull of the Lady Domina. The majority of the yachting community remains optimistic Lady Domina will turn up soon, with crew unharmed. Such is the lifestyle of the cruising community. In the event someone spots the yacht, firstname.lastname@example.org has asked to be immediately notified.