Alan and Que Langdon could reach Australia on the catamaran: recovery specialist

Alan Langdon and his daughter, Que Langdon.
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Alan Langdon and his daughter, Que Langdon.

The yacht Alan Langdon and his daughter, Que, are on could definitely make it to Australia, says the man tasked with finding them.

The boat is believed to be a 6.1-metre Wharram design catamaran, painted white, with white sails and the number T878 in black on the sail.

Langdon and six-year-old Que left Kawhia Harbour on December 17 and haven't been heard from since.

Child recovery expert Col Chapman – also a sailor – was initially sceptical about the catamaran, but now he and Que's mother want a search started from Australia.

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Chapman's learned more about the boat and no longer agrees with New Zealand authorities that making the Kawhia-to-Australia trip would be "foolhardy".

"The thing's damn incredible," Chapman said.

"The manufacturer says that he would sail it to Australia and it's been sailed across the Atlantic.

"No offence to your authorities, but I think they're coming at it from a land perspective rather than an experienced sailor's perspective – which is what Alan Langdon is."

Police said on Wednesday they hope Langdon will make contact when he arrives at his destination.

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Chapman thinks he's headed for Australia and could be as little as four days away from landing there.

Que's mother, Ariane Wyler, agrees.

"Absolutely … I know Alan, and I'm totally convinced that he's capable of doing that," she said.

She wants Australia to pick up the search as soon as possible.

"I think time is crucial," she said.

"I miss my daughter heaps, and I love her and I want to hold her in my arms ASAP. It's been far too long that I haven't been able to."

New Zealand authorities have stopped actively searching, though Chapman has flown to New Zealand and is in Kawhia doing "fact-checking".

"We can't blame the New Zealand authorities because they've searched thoroughly. They've searched New Zealand. She's not here. They can't just keep doing it," he said.

"What we'd like, though, is for New Zealand to make a request of the Australian authorities to continue the search and rescue over there."

If Langdon and Que land in Australia, Chapman said, they could easily be absorbed into a community.

The case has reached saturation level in New Zealand, Chapman said.

Everyone – including his taxi drivers and staff at fish and chip shops – knows the names Alan and Que.

Police searched a large area in an attempt to find the pair.

It ranged from the western coastline of the North Island, from Wellington to Cape Reinga, and the eastern coastline from Cape Reinga to the Bay of Islands.

There have been a number of unconfirmed sightings of similar vessels in the upper North Island area, but none of any significance since the New Year.

Interpol has been notified of the missing boat and its occupants on the chance that they are sailing to Australia or the Pacific Islands.

The inquiry file will be maintained by the Waikato CIB and a response is planned for positive sightings or information coming to hand.

The search has been managed by the Waikato Police Search and Rescue and the Auckland Police Maritime Unit with support from the Rescue Co-ordination Centre of New Zealand, Coastguard and the New Zealand Air Force.

A Givealittle page has been set up to help Ariane Wyler with the costs of the private search.

 - Stuff

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