The Galway sailor Enda O’Coineen’s dream to become Ireland’s first sailor to sail solo around the world were shattered when his vessel got into trouble on New Year’s Day. The mast from his 60 ft vessel Kilcullen Voyager snapped leaving him stranded off New Zealand.
The 60 year old was 59 days into the grueling Vendée Globe race around the globe when the mast snapped during a severe squall around 180 nautical miles south-east of New Zealand. O’Coineen luckily escaped the incident uninjured but the damage to the boat forced him to withdraw from the competition.
While lucky to be alive he is extremely devastated about the race. He had battled through over 13,00 nautical miles dealing with severe weather and electrical issues.
But the struggle is not yet over and now out of the race his priorities turn to survival and to get his vessel safely to shore.
He’s been in contact with his technical team, the New Zealand coastguard and the race directors. He’s drifting south of New Zealand and has enough food for a few weeks. With southerly gales forecast he’s hoping the winds will blow him towards the coast where he can find a safe port.
Talking to RTE Radio One’s Sean O’Rouke he said “I am focusing on survival. I want to be self-contained and get myself to safety. I have enough food to last a few weeks. I’m just waiting for the right wind, it’s a matter of patience.”