Kids, Stolen Yacht Recovered Safely

The San Mateo County Times/Bay Area News Group and other news sources are reporting that the children — ages 2 and 3 –allegedly abducted by a man on a boat taken from Club Nautique in Alameda’s Ballena Bay yacht harbor were recovered safely late Friday.

The 41-foot boat was taken on Tuesday and spotted on Wednesday near Mare Island. On Friday, it was spotted by a fisherman off the coast of Half Moon Bay. It’s hull number is HUN41366C707.

Authorities said Christopher Maffei gave up without incident about 8 p.m. “after a brief exchange” with the crew on the cutter, and the kids were found safe on the 40-foot sailing yacht.

“They’re safe back on shore now,” Coast Guard Spokesman Thomas McKenzie told the reporters yesterday. “They were checked out by (medics) as a precaution. They’ll be sent back to their mother tonight.”

McKenzie said the Coast Guard spotted the boat, named “Unleashed,” about 10 a.m. and had been watching it from afar all day, because they didn’t want to “spook him and send him out to sea.”

Maffei seemed to be having troubles with his ex-girlfriend and the mother of the kids, Jennifer Hipon, in South San Francisco. She had recently filed a restraining order that had a hearing date of Sept. 21 and requests no visitation rights for Maffei with Brooklynn, 3, and Devin, 2.

The document, first obtained by KGO-7, states that Maffei “threatens to take the children from me, and says that he does not need a passport to leave the country with them.” It also notes that Maffei, who has been living in Thailand, was kicked out of a friend’s apartment the day before the children were abducted on Tuesday.

Now, maybe Alameda marinas will put some new safety plans in place, along with local authorities. While reporting on the case of the stolen boat, Alameda and other reporters uncovered news that — in addition to the missing Club Nautique vessel — several motors had been stolen from local marinas.

We will update these developments soon.

Janet Levaux