The past three or four days have 'not been good' for Ireland's first entry in the Vendee Globe Enda O'Coineen (IRL) Kilcullen Voyager-Team Ireland has suffered a knockdown in a storm and has lost some communications equipment.
'Like everyone else in this part of the fleet we experienced two bad blows one after the other, I recorded up to 50kts at one stage. The first storm was bad and then about ten hours later the second one and during it I took a very bad knock down and the boat was on her side for about five minutes. When I hear about some of the other competitors I know I am not on my own. I am devastated for some, I don't want to hear about boats running into things. You never know what is going to happen, it is in the lap of the gods. I will say a few prayers at Christmas.'
O'Coineen is among a group five boats approaching the longitude of Cape Leeuwin, the SW tip of Australia with in order Fabrice Amedeo (Newrest-Matmut), Alan Roura (La Fabrique), O'Coineen (Kilcullen-Team Ireland), Rich Wilson (Great American IV) and Eric Bellion (CommeUnSeulHomme).
O'Coineen has been forced into a back to basic approach to navigation and routing on Kilcullen Voyager in 17th place. He lost two places when he took time out routing to the north to avoid the worst of the hard weather after being knocked down for five minutes. The Irish skipper reports that he now has no useful computer output after his main computer screen was damaged by water. He has a problem with the configuring of his back up computer which, it is understood, will not boot up. And so he has resorted to GPS fixes and paper charts.
“I am sailing in the dark to a certain extent. What I did to recuperate was to sail north towards Perth. I thought it would be a nice place for Christmas. I changed my mind. I effectively stopped for two days. But yesterday I got myself a little bit back together and I headed and south and east and now I am going east,” O'Coineen said today, adding “Spirits are good right now. You go through highs and low points, in the day, in the cycle and over the week. I have certainly had a couple of tough days and have had a lot of damage. Our shore team are trying to find a solution.”
Video from December 15: