The storied 50-foot schooner Niña, once considered one of America’s greatest ocean yachts, disappeared on the brutal Tasman Sea
The 85-year-old staysail schooner Niña, a fabled 50-foot (LWL) ocean racer that once was the flagship of the New York Yacht Club, disappeared without a trace on the stormy Tasman Sea with its American owner, his wife and 17-year-old son, and four crewmembers.
In the summer of 1983, as a young journalist at the Newport (R.I.) Daily News, I was assigned to cover the America’s Cup races. I knew nothing about sailing or the America’s Cup, but it sounded a lot better than covering town hall meetings.
Like many residents of Oriental, N.C., Michael and Diane Paling came for the sailing. The town sits amid eight navigable creeks near the confluence of the Neuse River with Pamlico Sound (and the Intracoastal Waterway). Some sailors say Oriental is the northernmost spot in the United States where you can sail all year. And the 2,700 registered sailboats outnumber residents 3-to-1.
Acrylic Painting by Keith Reynolds
The sea is quiet, its surface glassy. A square-rigger sits becalmed, wreathed in a light haze. A tugboat barely breaks the mirror surface; the only clue to its movement is the bow wave and a stream of gray smoke from its stack.
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