Thursday, June 20, 2013

Forensic Search Lady Domina Pg 3

Last Contacts

Presumably, the last time anyone heard from the Lady Domina was when they radioed the Coast Guard for weather information in the half-heard conversation by Blue Pelican on May 3rd.  The Coast Guard says they don't keep track of yachts that radio only for weather.  In the meantime, the Coast Guard now refuses to answer questions posed to it by Tore Christiansen or anyone.  They say the search is in the hands of the Portuguese who are heading the search.  The Portuguese took charge of the search assuming the Lady Domina arrived in waters controlled by the Portuguese. 

Before that, the Lady Domina was confirmed "checking out" of Puerto Rico on April 5, 2013.   Before that, the Lady Domina may have been in Guadalupe on April 2nd.  Finally, the Lady Domina sailed from St. Martin on March 31st, 2013.

Photo Bill Dietrich, Lady Domina

The authorities have put out a notice to seamen requiring all ships' traffic in the area to keep a close watch for the missing yacht.  Unfortunately, the Lady Domina, which could have been valued at $1,000,000 considering her size, reportedly did not carry an EPIRB.  Nor was it equipped with a short wave radio that could have been used to call into the international marine ham network for help.  Even the liferaft strapped to a rack on the stern of the Lady Domina was a second hand liferaft retired from a  passenger ship because it was too old to be reliable.  

By: Katie Audrey Lee

Possible explanations:
From one point of view, Kati Lee's statements about going to Puerto Rico and going to the Azores directly may appear to be in conflict.   Also in conflict are the estimated times of travel.  However, the difference may have been a matter of expression.  

Experienced sailors claim traveling a route Northeast in order to sail to the Northwest destination of the Azores is the most logical route to cross the Atlantic to the Azores.  That is because wind is not the only thing that moves a sailboat.  Ocean currents also propel sailboats.  It is when one can combine wind and current that the best time is made.

Unfortunately, the Lady Domina was reported to be short one sail.  That was the main sail.  She only had her fore-sails and a hefty marine diesel to propel her. By motoring Northeast to catch the currents, the boat could conserve on fuel and make better speed by diverting to Puerto Rico first.

Kati's past employer indicated he did not think Kati had plans of stopping in Puerto Rico.  If this is the case, it explains why the Lady Domina never checked into Puerto Rico.  Under this plan, the Lady Domina may have hopped onto the Gulf Stream Current carrying it North towards the Grand Banks.  The yacht would have crossed behind Bermuda, and then caught the Azores current over towards the portuguese island group of the Azores.

Some of the mis-communications could easily be due to last minute changes of plans.  The captain of the Lady Domina may have been thinking about Puerto Rico to pick up a potential crew-member.  It may be there were concerns over weather.  Finally, the best route to the Azores, considering no main sail, may have been a matter of question, as well.

Did she leave Puerto Rico?

At this juncture, there is no evidence the Lady Domina departed the U.S. territorial waters of Puerto Rico on May 3rd, 2013.  Tore Christiansen asked the U.S. Coast Guard how it was a yacht with African registry could have entered and left the U.S. territorial waters TWICE, and the Coast Guard not be aware of the passage.  No doubt, the U.S. Coast Guard, who has ignored all of our information requests, would like to pretend the yacht never was there at all.

Was the wreckage spotted the Lady Domina?
With no clues as to the fate of the Lady Domina, people are taking another look at possibilities.  Some people who looked at the wreckage spotted by the satellite search for the Grain de Soleil say it is not possible the Lady Domina was part of the debris field located.  However, at least one person has looked at the pictures again and is reconsidering.

He posts:
"Hi, Looked a little on wrecks pictures.  The (parts) behind the wheelhouse on LD were dressed in layers of light blue hard polystyrene which were glued together with epoxy and then shaped.  This was again covered with thin white glossy fiberglass panels glued with epoxy.  The color of the polystyrene are very similar to that of the wreckage in the Azores"

Great sailors missing
Hele sommerfeldt kaspersen sits with her six year old child comforting her.  Tears roll down her cheeks.  She talks about her husband, Brian, whose mission in life was to help the less fortunate.  This has been an incredibly difficult process for all of the family members.  

The Mosteid family, too, is shattered by their missing son.  In a conversation with Geils Mosteid, Sailing Savoir Faire was told, "Anders is a good boy."  Anders thought it would be really cool to cross the Atlantic on a yacht the size of Lady Domina.

Kati Lee is described as "a dear friend".  She is a consummate sailor, having sailed with her parents as a child.  She was known to bring a cheer to every heart when you met her.  Her parents are no strangers to disaster.  Their yacht was attacked by pirates a few years ago.  Despite being assaulted, Mr. Lee kept a cool head and radioed for help.

Stian Abrahamsan's father was thinking of joining the crew, according to NRK.  Now he must grieve his missing son.  Stian is a computer expert and was on the key board every chance he got.  Those looking for the Lady Domina still hope a twitter, a Linked-in or some other message will soon appear from Stian.

Not a lot is known about Oyvind Slettvold.  He is clearly a wonderful craftsman, and he is described as being 'very sweet'.  He also has the reputation of being an experienced and skillful captain. Sailing Savoir Faire was not even able to find a confirmed photograph of him.

Hope remains

"It is not over until it is over," Tore Christiansen noted.

There is still hope for the crew of the Lady Domina.  Considering her stores of water and food, which were considerable, enough for possibly six months, one should not give up hope after only three months.  However, if they are floating in the Atlantic, or are hostages of a surprise kidnapper, one thing is sure.  Time is no longer on their side.  If something is to be done, getting rescue crews off dead center, or to work together, organizing a private rescue, or other actions, it must be done soon if it is going to be effective.  

Stating no new information was forthcoming, the Cruisers board closed the thread on the Lady Domina, today June 20th, 2013.

Grain de Soleil Mouseette

Meanwhile, with hope always strong, the families of the sailors, Guillaume Moussette, Etienne Esteulle and Franck Cousin have formed a foundation in the honor of the missing sailors from that boat.

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