(CNN) -- Authorities say they have rescued two young children who were allegedly abducted from their California home and taken by their father on a stolen sailboat.It should not be a crime for a dad to take his kids out on a boat. I don't know the full story here, but the news media treated this as if the police and Coast Guard had rescued the kids from a life-threatening stranger abduction. They were just sailing with their dad, against the wishes of a bitter and possessive ex-wife.
The stolen sailboat was spotted sailing off the Monterey Peninsula on Friday, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
The father, Christopher Maffei, was taken into custody, the Coast Guard said.
Earlier Friday, authorities said the 41-foot sailboat, dubbed the Unleashed, was spotted between Pillar Point and Monterey and was being followed by Coast Guard aircraft.
Maffei, 43, is accused of abducting his 3-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son from the South San Francisco home of the mother, Jennifer Hipon, on Tuesday, according to police.
The children's parents had been involved in some type of custody situation, according to South San Francisco Police Department Sgt. Bruce McPhillips, but he said he did know the specifics. Maffei did not live with the children.
Update: A reader questions whether there is a custody dispute that is part of this story. Of course there is. A guy going for an unauthorized joy ride on a yacht does not make national news. This even make a UK story:
She told reporters that she was at a courthouse filing custody documents on Tuesday when Maffei went to her house and took the children from her elderly mother.MSNBC reports:
The children's mother, Jennifer Hipon, was anxiously awaiting her childrens' safe return at her South San Francisco home. She said that Maffei, whom she had dated in the past, had recently returned from Thailand, and had wanted to see his children.So this whole story started when the dad wanted to see his kids, and the mom gave him the run-around. He went to see his kids while the mom ran off to court to get an order preventing him from seeing his kids.
She agreed, but added that he had seemed increasingly anxious to be near the kids. His zeal to see the children scared her enough to seek a restraining order against him, she told NBC Bay Area on Friday. She was at the courthouse in Redwood City on Tuesday seeking that order, when she said Maffei went to her home on James Court about 3 p.m.
The core problem is family courts that issue orders preventing dads from seeing their kids. If the mom understood in the first place that she had a legal obligation to let the dad see their kids, then none of this would have happened.
Update: One of the San Fran TV stations had this story again leading the 11pm news. They treated it as a huge rescue story. There was no rescue. The kids were safe with their dad on a yacht, even if the dad had not done the paperwork for renting the yacht.