Niall Iain Macdonald continues today (Friday June 8) to make progress in his NY2SY Solo North Atlantic Row – after a broken rudder on his boat ALBA threatened to end his challenge for good.
Niall Iain’s boat, ALBA, sustained the damage on Monday night in heavy weather, leading the adventurer to believe that was it all over.
Unable to repair it himself, Niall Iain briefly considered continuing his row with only the oars for steerage but after discussion with his shore-based support Leven Brown – and with more than 3,000 miles still to go – decided against it for safety reasons and called for help.
The US Coast Guards came to his aid on Wednesday. Niall Iain said he had gone “from the lowest low to the highest high”
When the Coast Guard cutter Diligence arrived, a crew came to him on a RIB to assess his situation. Niall Iain explains:
“They seemed to think that they could repair the rudder so I was taken across the the USCG cutter 'Diligence' where they began to to work on my rudder.
“Meanwhile, I was greeted by Chief Mess Officer Pedersen, Executive Officer Chapman and Commander Sommella and several of the crew. I was given a hamburger and some fries to eat and they kept me updated about the repairs they were carrying out.
“After four hours, they had the rudder ready and we went back across to ALBA to get it fitted. It needed some adjustments but I now have a working rudder that will allow me to continue my row, just when I thought it was all over.
“The crew of the USCG cutter Diligence were all very kind to me and all I was ever asked was ‘what do you need?’ and ‘How can we help?’.
“I am truly indebted to them all for what they did and thank you doesn't seem enough. They basically saved NY2SY. I must give a special mention to Damage Control Assistant Drew Daniels who oversaw the repairs to the rudder and wanted to make sure that everything was OK and that I was happy before they would depart the scene. He and his crewmates did an amazing job.”
He said it had been “an intense and emotional 24 hours – but I am able to carry on with my row”. He added: “I need to get the boat sorted, and my head also, and then I will get back on the oars and get rowing again.”
Pictures courtesy of (and with thanks to) the US Coast Guard.