Wednesday 26 July 2017

Stranded Irish sailor returns to civilisation 'standing on the deck smoking a cigar' as he finally finds dry land

Yachtsman Enda O'Coineen with the damage to his yacht, the Kilcullen Voyager. Photo: RNZ / Lydia Anderson
Yachtsman Enda O'Coineen with the damage to his yacht, the Kilcullen Voyager. Photo: RNZ / Lydia Anderson
Enda O’Coineen, of Galway, was towed to safety
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

An Irish sailor has finally returned to dry land after being rescued by a New Zealand fishing boat after a broken mast left his sailboat stranded at sea during an around-the-world race.

60-year-old Enda O'Coineen drifted for five days in the Southern Ocean after his boat was damaged after a squall, but was towed into Dunedin harbour overnight in New Zealand after being picked up off the coast of Otago.

O'Coineen and his boat, The Kilcullen Voyager, were competing in the Vendee Globe race.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand, The Spirit of Adventure Trust Otago's regional coordinator, Tony Cummings, said that the sailboat arrived back to shore just before 1am local time.

Despite the damage done to his boat, Cummings said that O'Coineen was still upbeat.

"Actually in very, very good spirits, very tired and actually standing on deck smoking a cigar, like a new father," Cummings said.

O'Coineen has been 62 days on his own at sea in what he described as a "lifetime dream" and he also became a grandfather during his time away.

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