The Kilcullen Voyager helm was forced to cut the rig free to protect the hull after dismasting some 180 nautical miles south-east of Dunedin in New Zealand — ending Ireland’s first ever challenge in the round-the-world solo yacht race at the half-way point.
In his final race log, the 60-year-old businessman described how the incident left him “shaken and struggling to get back to New Zealand”, with no motor on board and many miles from rescue.
However, 40-knot winds over the last few days helped to push his drifting vessel into range of a Dunedin trawler, on board which he was expected to reach land this morning (Friday 6 January).
Speaking to the Press Association ahead of his arrival, he confirmed comments from his last log that he wants to complete the race course, even if he is formally out of competition.
"It's a real possibility to finish what I started but it's a massive undertaking to do the repair," said Afloat.ie’s Sailor of the Month for December. "But I'm nervous about saying I'm going to do that.
“Doing that, resourcing it, making it happen, there's a lot of sacrifice for the family and all of that but that's one real alternative I'm contemplating."
Replacing the rig is one of three options open to O’Coineen, which include shipping the broken boat home, or leaving it behind.