A YACHT bound for Ireland which vanished in the Atlantic has just four days of supplies left for its two-man crew.
A huge search operation by the Irish, British, French and Norwegian coastguards again failed yesterday to find the 10-metre yacht Golden Eagle, which disappeared en route for west Cork from the Caribbean.
There are increasing concerns the yacht and its two-man crew may have fallen victim to Hurricane Katia during its transatlantic crossing.
The yacht left Bermuda in the Caribbean on August 21 and was sailing to Crookhaven in west Cork.
The apparently stricken vessel has an experienced crew of a 60-year-old New Zealand man and his 69-year old Norwegian friend, who had left Bermuda after arriving from the US Virgin Islands.
Efforts to contact the vessel on marine radio frequencies have, to date, failed and the Irish Coastguard and Defence Forces are now assisting an international search operation.
Defence Forces' spokesman Cmdt Neil Nolan admitted searchers face a daunting task.
"We are dealing with a huge area -- our maritime patrol aircraft is able to cover a lot of that area in a relatively short space of time and, of course, assets on Naval Service vessels are well able to identify vessels from some distance off.
"But it is a difficult task considering the little detail that is available," Cmdt Nolan said.