A Goatstown sailor has returned home to a hero’s welcome after attempting to be the first Irish man to sail around the world solo non-stop.
Gregor McGuckin (32) set sail in France on 1 July for the 30,000 miles Golden Globe Race, which is most commonly known as the ‘Mount Everest of sailing races’.
There was an enormous storm on 21 September, 82 days into the race, and Gregor was forced out of the competition when his boat suffered serious damage.
His yacht, the Hanley Energy Endurance, was rolled over twice, causing the two masts to snap in half.
His fellow competitor in the race, Indian naval commander Abhilash Tomy, who was also capsized and dismasted in the storm, suffered a very serious back injury and was unable to move or steer his yacht.
In a truly remarkable feat of seamanship and heroism, Gregor battled the storm for a brutal four days and nights to get close to Tomy and attempt a rescue.
Gregor said: ‘’When I heard that Abhilash was in serious trouble I knew immediately that I had to do what I could.
“With the jury-rig on the Hanley Energy Endurance, I was only able to hand steer, which meant I had to be on deck in order to make any progress towards Abhilash. The weather conditions at this point were still appalling.’’
A French fisheries patrol vessel, the FPV Osiris managed to get to Tomy before Gregor did, who then sailed to evacuate Gregor from his yacht to prevent the need for a second rescue mission.
McGuckin and Tomy were treated at the medical centre on Ile Amsterdam in the southern Indian Ocean and Gregor was taken to Perth in Australia to recover.
Gregor’s sponsor, Director Dennis Nordon of Hanley Energy Managing, said they are “absolutely thrilled” to have Gregor home safely.
“All of us here are indescribably proud of his bravery in unimaginably tough circumstances, and we are looking forward to continuing to support his endeavours.”