The storm that’s kept us on the ground for the last several days finally passed through overnight, so we were able to put two planes in the air today.

Those flights were aimed at specific search areas, based on results from our image processing and the work of our ocean surface drift modelling team. We had found two possible sightings of Tenacious in the imagery, and went out to look for it.

The first possible sighting was off the coast of Monterey, California. This image was captured by a NASA ER-2 overflight. The target was found by our image analysis team. We sent a flight out this morning that flew a search pattern over the area into which that boat would have drifted.

The second possible sighting was out past the Farallon islands, Jim’s intended destination on Sunday two weeks ago. This target was spotted by the volunteers working on the Amazon Mechanical Turk search, and was vetted by image processing experts who confirmed that it was the right size and shape to be Jim’s boat. As for the Monterey target, we put a plane in the air and flew a search pattern over the area into which we would have expected the boat to drift since the image was captured.

Neither of our flights found Tenacious. It was an excellent day for spotting, and we were able to see other craft and even wildlife — large submerged whales and orcas or dolphins at the surface.

We’re confident that the imagery shows sailboats, and that those boats are similar to Tenacious in size and shape. We flew thorough and careful searches. It’s highly likely that these were ordinary boats on the water, and in no distress. They weren’t Tenacious.

It’s good to see the results of our image processing and drift modelling turn up targets for our flight team. We still have imagery in the pipeline, and will put planes in the air as our analysis turns up new targets. Today’s results are disappointing, of course, but the search is still underway.

Thanks to those of you who got the science done, who arranged for the search flights, and who piloted or spotted on today’s flights.

We have updated with a list of possible targets from the RADARSAT images taken January 31st and February 3rd.  RADARSAT images are 12.5 m per pixel, so the boat should be about 1 pixel. Maybe not the best images, but we thought it was worth a try.

Maria Nieto-Santisteban & Jeff Valenti