27 Sep 2011

Missing yachtie reaches Ireland

5:16 am on 27 September 2011

A New Zealand yachtsman feared missing in the Atlantic Ocean sailed into port in Ireland on Sunday.

Frank Cooper, 62, was hired by the 70-year-old owner of the Irish yacht Golden Eagle to skipper the yacht from Bermuda to Bergen in Norway, leaving on 21 August.

An air and sea search was launched for them when there had been no communication and they did not arrive as expected.

Mr Cooper described the trip as dicey because of the weather - which included two hurricanes.

He says they had been unable to communicate for much of the journey because of an equipment failure and their rigging was also badly damaged.

Navigation equipment also failed and Mr Cooper described how the pair used a handheld GPS to plot their location, and had to approach the Irish coastline with great caution.

He says they were unaware of the search mounted for them and, despite the problems, were never in any real trouble on the trip, which could take up to 40 days to complete.

Mr Cooper will stay in Port Magee in Ireland for the next few days before completing the journey to Bergen.