Thursday 23 November 2017

'I'll finish round-the-world epic,' vows sailor hit by disaster

Enda O’Coineen with the Dunedin Scottish Fiddle Club at a farewell before sailing from Otago to Auckland. Photo: Otago Daily Times
Enda O’Coineen with the Dunedin Scottish Fiddle Club at a farewell before sailing from Otago to Auckland. Photo: Otago Daily Times

Ed Carty

An Irish sailor forced out of a solo round-the-world race has vowed to complete the epic challenge.

Enda O'Coineen was towed to safety from the Southern Ocean, hundreds of miles from New Zealand, after the mast on his 60ft racing yacht snapped in a squall on New Year's Day.

The entrepreneur (60) from Galway spent the last 10 days considering whether to complete the Vendée Globe race route.

He is now considering a restart at the same spot where disaster struck.

Although he is officially out of the race, it would be the first single-handed circumnavigation by an Irish sailor.

"It's a personal goal and I would never live with myself for not at least trying to complete the objective," Mr O'Coineen said.

His racing yacht Kilcullen Voyager was battered by 35 knot winds on January 1, snapping the mast in two.

Out of helicopter range and 180 miles from the nearest fishing vessel, Mr O'Coineen was forced to cut the huge mast off the deck to stop it putting a hole in the boat.

He was picked up five days later by the Lady Dorothy fishing trawler from Dunedin on New Zealand's south island and towed to safety.

"Having now got over the initial devastation of losing the mast and having to retire from the race, I'm getting excited about what lies ahead," he said.

"From an early age I've been drawn to adventure and completing this trip will be the ultimate for me. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and following what I've just been through I can confirm they weren't lying."

In 62 days he completed 13,151 nautical miles.

Irish Independent

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