Friday, January 10, 2014

Seven Facts About Schooner Nina Few People Know

There seems to be a bit of confusion about the Nina search.  For anyone new to the blog, 7 sailors, Matthew Wootton, Danielle Wright, Professor Evi Nemeth, Kyle Jackson and the Dyche family, David, Rosemary and David Jr. set sail across the Tasman Sea.  They encountered a terrific storm and have not been heard from since.  That was on June 4th, 2013, so it has been awhile.  So why are people still looking, and what can you do to help?

Ricky and Robin Wright, photo

FACT NOT FICTION #1  The search was started late.  By the time the authorities got around to actually launching an aircraft to look for Nina, the potential search area had grown to a size slightly smaller than the Milky Way!

FACT NOT FICTION #2  Despite claims the search was "the largest search in the history of New Zealand", low probability areas were not searched at all and a few high probability areas were also not searched.

FACT NOT FICTION #3 Landlubbers and even most sailors can't envision how a crew could survive 7 months on a sailboat without provisions.  Experienced sailors like John Glennie who have actually been in the area say long term survival is possible.  Water is obtained from the frequent rain storms in the Tasman Sea.  The boat becomes a floating reef attracting a large variety of fish.

FACT NOT FICTION #4  If the Nina were really afloat, they would have jury rigged sails and rescued themselves.  Actually, the last text message indicates the sails had blown out.  Fuel for the newly installed engine was in limited supply.  To be sure, Captain Dyche and crew are doing all they can to save themselves, but if the weather was bad enough to blow out professionally made sails, and dis-mast the Nina, it has been bad enough to shred a jury rigged sail and mast system.  They don't have many sail lofts in the middle of the Tasman, eventually even the most ingenious crew will run out of material for masts, rigging and jury built sails.

FACT NOT FICTION #5  If the Nina survived the storms she was in, surely she would have floated to shore by now.  Maybe true, though some boats including an oyster barge last year have taken a year to float through the reverse circulating currents of the Tasman Sea.  If the Nina has floated to land, the question, what land?  There are thousands of small islands and reefs off the Australian coast.  The families ask ALL SAILORS, PILOTS, FISHERMEN AND CRUISE SHIP PASSENGERS AND CREW to please be on the lookout for the Nina not only in the ocean, but while passing remote landfalls.

FACT NOT FICTION #6  The remnants of the Nina were found off of Fraser Island, Australia.  A piece of the transom was seen with the letters "INA".  No one really knows if the remnants of the Nina were seen off of Fraser Island because the person who spotted the board with the letters "INA" didn't fish it out of the water.  Robin and Ricky Wright, parents of 19 year old crew member Danielle Wright, did a very thorough search of the area and found lots of flotsam, none of it appearing as the Nina.  IF you spot anything that appears to be the remnant of a boat, please fish it out of where ever you found it.  If you need assistance, the Australian Coast Guard or the New Zealand Coast Guard should be called, depending upon where you are.  

View Larger Map

The letters "INA" fit nicely into the word "Marina".  There are several marinas in the area.  The family expresses their deepest thanks to the person who provided the tip, and ask each of us to help solve the mystery of the Nina.  If you are not near the Tasman Sea, you can help by reminding people the search is still in progress; making a donation to help with the huge cost of search flights; if you are blessed with two hands, putting them together and asking for a higher power to reveal where the Nina is might prove to be the miracle that everyone is waiting for.

FACT NOT FICTION #7  While the families wish they had more support from the various RCC agencies, including a radio broadcast asking mariners to be watchful for a low lying craft in the water or evidence of a landing on remote islands, as well as support from the U.S. State Department and the NGA in satellite searches and rescue exercises while naval ships are in the area, the families remain extremely grateful for the efforts made by the various agencies. 

 Because the families have been hard at the search since the official search was suspended on July 5th, 2013, the families especially, Ricky and Robin Wright and Ian and Sue Wootton,  are in the best position to know what tactics would be most helpful in determining the location of the missing schooner, Nina.  The Texas Equusearch Lead Search coordinator Larry Slack,  Exeutive Search Advisor, Ralph Baird and their team also have a keen sense for the next best steps in finding the Nina.  However, neither the search team nor the families would ever want their requests for help to be misunderstood as a lack of gratitude for the efforts that have been made.  In analyzing the search efforts to date, their sole purpose is to find the Nina by identifying missing pieces in the puzzle, which should not be confused with a lack of appreciation for what has been done or a hidden desire to find fault out of spite.

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