The father of an 18-year-old on board the missing American schooner Nina believes it may be just days from making port in Australia.
Ricky Wright’s daughter, Danielle Wright, is one of seven people on board the 84-year-old wooden vessel, which was on its way to Australia from Opua in the Bay of Islands.
The crew have not been heard from since June 4, when Nina was about 370 nautical miles west-northwest New Zealand.
Mr Wright told news website KATC that he estimated Nina was currently just four or five days from making port in Australia.
He based this on a satellite phone message from the vessel which had only recently been received because it took weeks for the US government to authorise its release due to privacy laws.
The message said Nina had passed through two storms in early June and had damaged sails from high winds but was still making headway at 4 knots per hour.
“My prediction is they are making 3 knots, and the storm pushed them north of where they thought they would be,” Mr Wright said.
“The main search area was south of where they are.”
The storms had limited the boat’s ability to make speed and manoeuvre as it worked against the currents, he said.
“To put it in perspective, it’s like sailing from the Mediterranean to the Bahamas.
“Everyone follows the same course along the trade winds. They are doing the same thing, just against the prevailing winds.”
An Air Force Orion is today performing another aerial search for the vessel, which the Rescue Coordination Centre expected to take about five hours and to extend as far west as the Middleton and Elizabeth reefs in the Tasman Sea.
Previous search efforts have been unsuccessful and searchers have also battled with the weather.
Along with Ms Wright, Nina’s American owner David Dyche, 58, and his 60-year-old wife, Rosemary were on the vessel with their son David, 17.
British man Matthew Wooton, 35, maritime technology expert Evi Nemeth, 73, and an American man named Kyle were travelling with the family.
The vessel’s emergency beacon has not been activated.
Today’s efforts will bring the total area covered by the search to almost 700,000 square kilometres.