By Rob Wolfe, Portland Press Herald
NORFOLK, Va. — The three boaters who were feared lost off Mount Desert Island last month were pulled from their 40-foot sailboat near Norfolk, Virginia Nov. 19 according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Charlotte Kirby, Nathaniel Davis and Wilfredo Lombardo were reported missing on Nov. 16, setting off a Coast Guard search that was ended two days later when they radioed off Montauk, New York, at the tip of Long Island, to give their location.
A Coast Guard official said that a cargo ship, the Jaguar Max, rescued the trio off the coast of Virginia. The ship’s crew reported that the sailboat had lost its mast and its occupants were donning lifejackets.
At the request of the Coast Guard, the 750-foot ship had diverted course toward the sailboat and subsequently made visual contact with the boaters. But it had to hold off on picking them up until the next day because of high winds and seas.
The sailboat, a 40-foot Beneteau called Dove, was abandoned after the trio was rescued.
Kirby, Davis and Lombardo set out from MDI sometime the evening of Nov. 15 or early Nov. 16 without telling family members exactly when they were leaving or where they were headed.
A mysterious 3 a.m. 911 call on Nov. 16 prompted a Coast Guard search via boat and plane that covered thousands of nautical miles.
On Nov. 18, family members managed to reactivate a communications system and GPS and get in touch with the sailors, and the search was called off. The boat was about 90 nautical miles south of Montauk.
After picking up the three boaters, the cargo ship told the Coast Guard that it would return to port on Nov. 22, according to Wargo. Port records indicate the ship stopped at Newport News, Virginia, that day.
In a brief phone interview with the Portland Press Herald Sunday afternoon, Davis, who goes by Nat, confirmed that he and his friends are back on shore.