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Atlantic Ocean: Norwegian Yacht Missing - Now Safely Arrived in Ireland

By Sue Richards last modified Sep 26, 2011 12:17 PM

Published: 2011-09-26 12:17:31
Topics: Safety and Medical
Countries: Azores , Bermuda , Ireland , Norway , Portugal , United Kingdom

As reported by Sail-World.com Cruising Round Up

Crew who "vanished" in Atlantic get heroes' welcome in Ireand
Mon, 26 Sep 2011

The two-man crew of a yacht that had gone missing during a transatlantic voyage were last night settling down for their best night's sleep in weeks (see "missing" report below).

New Zealander Frank Cooper (62) and Norwegian Arvid Moe (69), owner of the Golden Eagle, arrived safely in Portmagee, Co Kerry, yesterday afternoon - 36 days after they had set sail from Bermuda.

The pair had no idea there had been a massive search co-ordinated by the Valentia Coastguard after their yacht vanished in the Atlantic en route to Crookhaven in west Cork, sparking a massive search operation by Irish, British, French and Norwegian coastguards.

The 10-metre vessel had fallen victim to Hurricane Katia during its transatlantic crossing.

But miraculously the vessel managed to survive and arrived in port yesterday, battered but still afloat.

"When we saw the houses on the hill and figured it must be a fishing village, we were very glad and very lucky to get here," Mr Cooper, an experienced seaman, told the Irish Independent last night.

Although he had no doubt they would reach shore, he did not know if that meant they would be docking at a safe port or arrive at a rocky cliff.

He added: "We couldn't run the engine at that point because we were rolling and only had a little bit of diesel left and there were strong currents and strong winds out there."

The two men were treated like celebrities in Portmagee last night and owner of the Moorings restaurant, Gerard Kennedy, marked their arrival with champagne while his staff prepared a warm meal for the adventurers.

Mr Moe, a retired ship's engineer, bought the boat in the US Virgin Islands and hired Mr Cooper to help sail it back to Bergen in Norway. They embarked on their journey on August 21.

"The whole burden of it was on my shoulders but my experience stood to me," Mr Cooper said.

by Majella O'Sullivan, Independent.ie

"Missing" Report - Posted 22 August 2011

New Zealander and Norwegian missing in the Atlantic
Wed, 21 Sep 2011

Another yacht has gone missing, this time a Norwegian yacht in the Atlantic. A wide-spread search is underway, co-ordinated by the Irish Coast Guard off the south-west coast for a yacht with two crew on board, a New Zealander and a Norwegian. They are missing on a voyage from Bermuda to Crookhaven in the County of Cork in Ireland.

The 10m (33ft) sloop, Golden Eagle , crewed by a 69-year-old Norwegian and a 60-year-old New Zealander, left St George in Bermuda on August 21st. It was due in Crookhaven, west Cork, last Thursday.

The vessel is registered in Bergen, Norway. On Saturday the skipper’s family contacted the Norwegian coast guard when he failed to make contact with them as they had expected, given his estimated time of arrival in west Cork.

The Norwegian Coast Guard then contacted Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre which alerted the Irish Coast Guard and a major search operation was launched for the vessel at the weekend.

Bermuda chief maritime operations controller Denis Rowe said that the last contact that Bermuda had with the vessel was via VHF radio, which has a radius of 40-50 miles, as it left the British dependency. However, Mr Rowe said that Golden Eagle was equipped with a 406MHz EPIRB (emergency position indicating radio beacon), which is activated as soon as it comes in contact with water and sends a signal via satellite to the nearest coast guard service.

"An EPIRB is a great piece of equipment to have on a boat and the fact that it has not been activated so far is a good sign," Mr Rowe said, adding that yachts crossing the Atlantic were frequently delayed and end up diverting to alternative ports.

The Bermuda centre, the Irish Coast Guard, the UK Coast Guard and the Portuguese Coast Guard on the Azores are on the alert for the vessel with long-range information tracking being used to plot its possible route.

An added concern is that the sloop may have been caught in the tail end of Hurricane Katia in the first week of September before it was due to make a landfall in the Republic on or about September 11th.

Declan Geoghegan of the Irish Coast Guard confirmed that the Sikorski helicopters based at Shannon and Waterford carried out a sweep off the Cork coast, while the long-range fixed wing Air Corps Casa also joined in the search yesterday.

Four Naval Service ships on fisheries patrol and drug interdiction duties are also on the lookout for the yacht, while freighters and cruise liners crossing the Atlantic have also been alerted and are sending out radio messages for the vessel.

Mr Geoghegan said the Irish Coast Guard had also contacted air traffic control in Shannon requesting all airliners to keep an eye out for the vessel which would be visible to aircraft flying between Europe and the Americas.

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