More than 24 hours after the IMOCA 60 masters fleet departed St. Barts in the Caribbean, Enda O'Coineen has started the Transatlantic race and lies some 300 miles behind the race leader.
O'Coineen had to repair a faulty sail drive delaying departure of the Irish yacht, Kilcullen Voyager. Under rules of the race O'Coineen availed of a race condition that permits entrants to start within five-days of the official start time.
The solo Irish sailor will race from St. Barts to Port La Forêt, a distance of 3,400 miles across the Atlantic. Race tracker here
The Galway sailor was not the only boat battling setbacks. Forced to abandon the idea of participating at all is Frenchman Yann Eliès who will now deliver his boat back to his home port of Lorient instead of racing across the Atlantic.
Press release from Enda O'Coineen below:
We can do the Impossible, but Miracles take a little longer
Monday 7th, 0830 hrs Currency House Kilcullen departed St Maarten for St Barths and successfully joined the race. This is in accordance with the rules that allow entrants to start within 5-days to allow for unforeseen events such as the one Currency House Kilcullen encountered.
On Wednesday 2nd December the team left St Maarten for St Barths. While hoisting the mainsail the Sail Drive unit ceased working.
Later it transpired that the sail drive was not serviced and reassembled properly. It had hardly been used since departing Gosport in October.
With Mike Stark, CEO of Currency House Bank on board, his first voyage on the vessel, it was disappointing but he was philosophical. And in the spirit of the event, under sail only, the yacht made it to St Barths and completed the pre-race scrutinising. There were few outstanding requirements requested, including propulsion...
The Sail Drive on these yachts is a custom built part so fixing it was not going to be easy. In fact some said it was impossible.
Parts suppliers in Croydon were mobilized, traffic congestion on London’s M25, was overcome, and transatlantic flights caught. Jay Vahey an English-Irishman dropped everything and flew from Portsmouth, Pete Durkan aeronautical engineer and skilled fabricator made a custom part. Merf Owen the original designer of the yacht was involved and an amazing West Indian mechanic (Carl), a crane company owner (Percy) IYS and an electronics specialists (Andrew Rapley) all supported the team at marinas led by Brian Dehler with a positive ‘can do’ nothing is impossible approach. Teamwork and problem solving at its best.
Having completed emergency repairs, the Skipper has declared his confidence in the yacht and preparations and is very appreciative to everyone for their massive support. Speaking about the last week Enda O’Coinnen said:
“While I am on my own at sea, its a massive team effort and I am really appreciative of the support of Currency House Bank and everybody who has pitched in. Murphy’s Law was in action where ‘What Can Go Wrong - Will Go Wrong’, - and Murphy was an optimist - seemed to be to rule since arriving in St Maarten.”
Now Enda must focus on the race, a simple sail across the Atlantic during December.