After reporting their boat was damaged in rough seas, a married couple from Virginia vanished while sailing to Portugal.
The US Coast Guard reported Tuesday that two Virginia Beach retired men, Yanni Nikopoulos (65) and Dale Jones (2,700 miles from the Azores Islands), went missing.
Jones and Nikopoulos left Hampton on June 8, aboard their 36-foot sailingboat Kyklades. They were heading to Mid-Atlantic Archipelago, approximately 800 miles west from mainland Portugal.
Five days into their adventure, the pair told Jones’ daughter that heavy weather battered their sailboat and they were returning to Hampton early, the Coast Guard said.
According to officials, the pair were approximately 460 mi east of Virginia Beach at time of the call.
On Friday, Jones’ daughter reported to the Coast Guard that she had not heard from them and was concerned for their well-being. No date was set for their return, but Jones’ daughter expected them to be back by Monday, the Coast Guard said.
“We have not received any signs of distress, however, we encourage the public to keep a sharp eye out for Yanni Nikopoulos and Dale Jones,””Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Pulliam was the Search and Rescue Coordinator at the Fifth District Command Center.
Two overflights were conducted by HC-130 Hercules pilots to locate the boaters missing. The Coast Guard also issued an emergency marine information broadcast alerting boaters.
To help find the couple, the Coast Guard works with Canadian authorities as well as officials in Bermuda and the Azores.
“In situations like this, where there are so many unknowns, our coordination efforts need to cast a wide and intentional net,”According to Chief Brian Gainey (command duty officer), “We’re tracking cell phone and radio pings as we work with our counterparts in Bermuda to accurately determine the most intelligent search area for our air crews.
“It’s a lot of detective work, but it’s all in service to finding these two individuals and bringing them home to their families.”
Anyone with information about the couple’s whereabouts is encouraged to contact the Fifth Coast Guard District.
A LinkedIn profile associated with Nikopoulos indicates that he worked as a Marine mechanic before his retirement.
Jones worked previously for a furniture rental business. Jones has two adult daughters.
Jones shared images on her Facebook Page from Jones’ elaborate party at her house that she had organized with her daughters for her 65th and retirement celebrations.
Nikopoulos received a T-shirt with the picture of a sailingboat and the words: “Yes, I Have A Retirement Plan.”
Jones posted a two-week old video that showed a strong storm while Jones was docked at their sailboat.
“The wind was so strong it leaned the boat to port side,”Sie wrote. “I guess it’s a little taste of what to expect on occasion.”
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