A father and his 6-year-old daughter have arrived in Australia unharmed after 26 days at sea in a tiny catamaran.
The pair, who had departed from New Zealand’s North Island, had been the subject of an air and sea search by the New Zealand authorities since Dec. 26.
The New Zealand police said the man, Alan Langdon, contravened a family court order not to take the child from New Zealand.
Mr. Langdon, 49, and his daughter, Que, left Kawhia Harbor on North Island on Dec. 17. His plan was to sail north to the Bay of Islands, also on the North Island, for Christmas, according to the New Zealand police.
Col Chapman, a child recovery agent, said he was employed by Que’s mother, Ariane Wyler, to find her around Dec. 26.
He said the couple are estranged.
Mr. Langdon and Que arrived in the southern coastal port of Ulladulla in New South Wales, more than 1,300 miles from Kawhia Harbor, on Wednesday.
In an interview with ABC television news, Mr. Langdon said a broken rudder on the 21-foot-long boat had forced him to dramatically alter his course, and he ended up on Australia’s east coast. Ulladulla, a tiny coastal village, is about 140 miles south of Sydney.
“We didn’t have much fine weather, which I was hoping for to repair the rudder,” said Mr. Langdon, who was described by the police as an experienced sailor. “Once we were in a position with no rudder, we did not have as many options.”
He said that the boat was pushed south, and away from New Zealand, and that he did not realize sailing with one rudder was going to be so difficult. Mr. Langdon said that the pair had fresh water and that Que was safe.
“New Zealand police are carefully considering the circumstances and information relating to the arrival of Alan Langdon and his daughter,” the New Zealand police said in a statement.
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