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Florida Family, Historic Yacht Presumed Lost Off New Zealand

This undated photo provided by the St. Andrews Historic Seaport and Commercial Marina in Panama City, Fla., shows American David Dyche, skipper of the 70-foot (21-meter) vessel Nina.

The search for six Americans and one British man lost in the seas between New Zealand and Australia was called off Friday after extensive aerial searches failed to turn up any sign of the 85-year-old wooden sailing boat they were traveling on.

Officials in New Zealand said the last known communication from the Nina's crew came on June 4 in the form of an undelivered text message stating that the boat's sails had been shredded in a storm.

Authorities now believe that the boat likely sank that day.

The Associated Press says the Americans included David Dyche, 58; his wife Rosemary, 60; their son David, 17; and their friend Evi Nemeth, 73.

A BBC report on the search described them as seasoned sailors:

"The Dyche family were said to be experienced sailors who had been sailing around the world for several years."

The passage from New Zealand to Australia was set to be the family's last big trip together before the younger Dyche headed back to the United States to start college, according to an earlier report in The Sydney Morning Herald. It also noted that their classic sailboat had "won the famous British Isles Fastnet race in 1928."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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