Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Enda O'Coineen Lying in 14th Place in Vendee Globe But Computer Black Out Leaves Him (Almost) Out of Touch at Cape Leeuwin

22nd December 2016
Enda O'Coineen – computer black out Enda O'Coineen – computer black out

Ireland's first ever Vendee Globe racer Enda O'Coineen is in 14th Place as the 27–boat round–the–world fleet as it passes another major milestone, Cape Leeuwin, the most south-westerly mainland point of the Australian Continent. But computer problems have left the Galway Bay solo sailor largely out out of touch and reliant on satellite phone. Here on Day 44/45, he updates readers from the Kilcullen Voyager: 

'Our human capacity to adjust to new realities is amazing, whatever that may be. Like losing an arm, or a leg, or in my case computer navigation system. Something you thought you could not do without.

Now I’m nervous and afraid. As we go along the bottom of Australia and prepare for the vast unknown of the South Pacific before it meets the Antarctic. It’s also disturbing to hear that in recent days we have lost two, possibly three more boats. One due to a collision, one losing a mast, and most recently our friend Paul Meilhat of SMA with a keel hydraulic problem.

But at least there is my surprise Christmas package to look forward to on day 50 at sea. It should be somewhere south of Tazmania – though I confess to digging into the Chocolates last week during one of the storms.

After our backup system failed to work I was disorientated. I said I could not continue, particularly with the internet connection to the outside world, no weather information, news on other boats and so forth.

Now a few days later I have readjusted to the new reality and back in our “chart” around the planet. The outside world will also be spared from pictures and videos of the SORA President Elect and all the antics on board the good ship Kilcullen.

While the race is secondary to completing the objective of finishing and promoting our sponsors and the Atlantic Youth Trust. Nonetheless there is a strong desire to be in there, stay with the group, and have a respectable placing to do justice to the flag, team and boat.

There was a quiet satisfaction in passing Rich Wilson the other night on Great American IV. A deep thinking brilliant man, he has a degree in mathematics from Harvard and MIT and an impressive schools programme with 300,000 kids following his adventure.

Meanwhile rather than looking at what is not working, looking at what I have is a satellite phone, and a boat that’s functioning and we have a GPS position and paper charts. Also the race committee will allow us to get weather information by phone. We’re also constantly looking to find solutions and make do with what we’ve got. Also on the positive side with the exception of reefing problems on the main (which is very important in storms), the rest of our ship is in good shape and my daily routine and maintenance programme is never ending.

Finally, I learnt of a message from a young follower in Paris today, Milos. Sadly I'll have to wait until my computer is back up and running to see the card but thank you. It's somewhat strange to think you're all at home following this adventure and I can assure you it means a lot to me. The complexity of getting these logs to you is now greatly increased but I will endeavor to keep it up'

Enda O'C

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

nyc sidebutton flag

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
isora sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

chmarine sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating