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Authorities locate lost schooner

DEC. 7 — The Alvei, an 87-year-old, 92-foot steel-hulled schooner was voyaging from New Zealand to the island nation of Vanuatu at the end of November when it failed to arrive, as expected, on the NorthIsland Dec. 1, according to a report in The ship’s crew had not contacted authorities to explain a delay.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force was called in to sweep the area with a long-range Orion aircraft, and a smaller search craft was deployed Wednesday, flying between New Zealand and Norfolk Island. On board was skipper Evan Logan, three U.S. citizens, four Australians, and a New Zealander.

Finally, the Orion spotted Alvei just north of New Zealand yesterday and made contact with the schooner, according to the report.

The owner of Alvei, Henk Meuzelaar of Utah, said he had full faith in his skipper to bring the ship back safely.

“He has not been off the boat for the past 20 years or so,” Meuzelaar told Sail-World. “He has gone through cyclone conditions.”

Mission coordinator Mike Roberts said the voyage of Alvei was smooth, with moderate weather conditions, but there were no reported sightings or radio contact.

“The vessel is not known to keep regular scheduled radio communications and there was enough cause for concern to begin a search to determine her status,” said Roberts in the report.

The skipper Evan Logan — who works with a charity organization in Vanuatu delivering medical supplies to remote clinics — had written in his log that he was hoping to be in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands by mid-November and at the northern end of South Island by Christmas.

Julia Lang from the Rescue Coordination Center of Maritime New Zealand stated in a report by ABC News that everyone on board is safe, but since there is little wind, Logan believes it will be another eight to 10 days before they make it to New Zealand.

“We’re very keen to find out why no maritime radio contact [was] made,” said Lang to ABC News.

— Elizabeth Ellis