Sunday 23 July 2017

Irish sailor still stranded after mast snaps during round-the-world race

Enda O’Coineen, of Galway, is stranded off the coast of New Zealand on his boat ‘Kilcullen Voyager’. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Enda O’Coineen, of Galway, is stranded off the coast of New Zealand on his boat ‘Kilcullen Voyager’. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Gavin White

Irish sailor Enda O'Coineen is battling to make his way back to dry land.

The 60-year-old Galway native is stranded 265kms from Dunedin after the mast on his vessel 'Kilcullen Voyager' broke on New Year's Day as he competed in the Vendée Globe round-the-world yacht race.

Enda O’Coineen, of Galway, was towed to safety
Enda O’Coineen, of Galway, was towed to safety

He has now travelled a further 55kms after being blown off-course 310km from New Zealand.

Mr O'Coineen has built a makeshift mast, although he is struggling to steer the boat towards the port on New Zealand's southern island.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, he said: "I just have to be patient. I'm outside of all of the rescue areas. I've enough food to last me for quite a period of time, so I have to wait for the winds to become more favourable.

"I've no mast, so I've rigged up a temporary jury rig, and I'm trying to get to New Zealand waters."

Mr O'Coineen said he was not calling for an emergency rescue and had turned down an offer of help from a Russian survey ship which was 230kms away from him.

"I'm not in any distress. I have enough food, but I just have to be patient. I'm not calling the rescue services. The hull is strong," he said.

"I am worried about a southerly wind that is due to meet me in about 18 hours that could take even further away, but at the moment there is an unusually light breeze.

"I have limited steering, and that makes it difficult."

Mr O'Coineen was attempting to be the first Irishman to sail solo, non-stop around the world in the Vendée Globe race - in the process promoting the Atlantic Youth Trust Charity and a schools programme.

Irish Independent

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