The Australian frigate HMAS Ballarat will be within helicopter range of Ile de Amsterdam at first light tomorrow (Thursday) and will commence operations to pick up Gregor McGuckin, one of two Golden Globe Race skippers dismasted during a fierce storm mid-way across the South Indian Ocean last Friday.
The second skipper, Indian Naval Commander Abhilash Tomy, who sustained serious back injuries when his yacht was rolled through 360° by 15m high seas, will remain in hospital until the arrival of the Indian Navy Frigate INS Satpura on Friday, when he will be transferred by helicopter for ongoing medical treatment and return to India
HMAS Ballarat will proceed back to Fremantle with McGuckin who remains in good health, arriving there on 2nd or 3rd of October.
From Commander Abhilash Tomy, reported by Indian NavyTweet: "The sea was unbelievably rough. Me & my boat Thuriya were pitched against nature's might. I survived because of my sailing skills, the soldier bit in me and my Naval training cut-in for that fight - Very thankful to Indian Navy & all who rescued me" Capt. Dilip Donde, Abhilash Tomy’s manager, reported today that Thuriya’s skipper can now stand and is eating and drinking, but requires complete rest. He will be evacuated from Ile de Amsterdam on a stretcher.
Capt. Donde also announced plans to salvage Tomy’s yacht Thuriya, left drifting in the Indian Ocean when he was recovered by the crew of the French Fisheries Patrol ship Osiris on Monday. The plan is for the Indian Navy to tow Thuriya to St Paul’s Island some 40 miles north, and leave a crew to make repairs and sail her to land.
McGuckin’s yacht Hanley Energy Endurance was also left drifting when the Osiris crew picked him off the yacht. In a statement today, Neil O’Hagan, spokesman for Team Ireland said “During the controlled evacuation of Hanley Energy Endurance, McGuckin was instructed to leave the vessel afloat. The French fisheries patrol vessel Osiris instructed McGuckin that scuttling the vessel would be in breach of international maritime regulations. Hence, McGuckin removed all debris from the deck that could become separated, secured all equipment on board, and ensured the AIS beacon was active. The power source to the AIS device is solar panels which should remain active without any outside assistance, reducing the risk to other vessels.
Precautionary steps were also taken to ensure the relatively small amount of fuel onboard is secure.
Meanwhile, the eight remaining Golden Globe Race skippers continue to race eastwards. French leader Jean-Luc Van Den Heede sailing the Rustler 36 Matmut, passed the Cape Leeuwin longitude on Monday and is expected to arrive at the Boatshed.com film drop point off Hobart on October 3rd or 4th.
Hanley Energy, sponsor of heroic Irish sailor Gregor McGuckin, have issued the following statement on his situation.
Sponsor Hanley Energy statement:
‘’We are pleased to confirm that Gregor and Abhilash Tomy are currently safe on Ile Amsterdam. Gregor is in good health and Abhilash is being looked after by medical professionals.
We understand that Gregor’s yacht, the Hanley Energy Endurance, was dismasted in a storm while attempting to reach his fellow competitor Abhilash Tomy, who had sustained injuries after being capsized. In a remarkable display of seamanship, courage and fortitude, Gregor managed to build a jury rig and hand steer the Hanley Energy Endurance within 30 miles of Abhilash’s yacht for four days in order to be on site to assist with the rescue.Hanley Energy would like to commend Gregor on his outstanding and heroic efforts to come to the aid of his fellow competitor. He is truly an inspiration, and our priority now is to ensure his safe return to Ireland.
The Australian naval vessel HMAS Balarat is due to arrive 02.00hrs (06.00hrs local time) tomorrow (Thursday 27th September). The ship will then set a course for Perth, arriving on approximately 2nd or 3rd October. We understand that Gregor will spend time in Perth with his family before returning to Ireland.
Hanley Energy would like to thank everyone on the island, and all involved in the rescue operation for their extraordinary generosity, hospitality, and professionalism thus far.’’