Safe return for missing boaters

Published on June 24th, 2022

The saga of for two 65-year olds missing as they set out to cross the Atlantic from the USA has been resolved when they contacted the Coast Guard to inform them of their safe status and return to Hampton, VA.

The overdue boaters, Yanni Nikopoulos and Dale Jones, were approximately 80 miles east of Chincoteague, an island along Virginia’s Eastern Shore region, on June 24, 2022.

The pair reportedly were struck by lightning after sailing through inclement weather. After rigging a spare sail, the pair sailed to Virginia.

Nikopoulos and Jones departed from Hampton on June 8 for the Azores on their the 40 foot Endeavor Kyklades. However, they contacted Jones’ daughter on June 13 via an Iridium phone, reporting bad weather, a lost sail and mast, and were headed back to Hampton.

Jones’ daughter contacted the Coast Guard on June 17 to express her concern about not hearing from her mother, and when they did return to Virginia around June 20 as expected, the Coast Guard initiated search procedures.

“We are extremely happy to learn Yanni and Dale are found and are safe,” said James Cifers, operations unit watchstander in the Fifth District Command Center. “It is truly wonderful the pair will be reunited with their friends and family soon.”

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