A Derry yachtsman is about to complete a one-month, 3,500 mile epic voyage from the Caribbean to his home on the Foyle, having been stranded on the Dutch island of Sint Maarten due to the coronavirus crisis.
Culmore man Garry Crothers is a member of Lough Swilly Yacht Club and Foyle Sailability, and his epic voyage is all the more amazing as he lost an arm following a serious motorcycle accident in 2007.
Garry also has a special incentive for getting home safe, as his presence will be required to walk his daughter Oonagh down the aisle when she gets married in September.
Garry’s original plan was that his other daughter Amy and regular shipmate Ken Curry would fly out to Sint Maarten to help him sail home, but when all flights were cancelled due to the virus, they couldn’t make the trip.
It began to look like Garry was marooned.
This left him with a stark choice: sail home on his own, or shut down in isolation on the island for the duration of lockdown.
Garry decided to strike out for home on his own – he set sail from Sint Maarten on 1 June and his yacht Ovni 435 Kind of Blue is now off the coast of Ireland as he plans his approach to Derry passing Tory Island and Malin Head.
En route, Garry has been in constant radio contact with Ken Curry and technical experts from Lough Swilly YC for advice on battling breakdowns in the yacht’s heating system and other technical problems.
Thankfully the trip has been relatively trouble-free and Garry is expected to sail up the Foyle, accompanied by a flotilla of his local fellow yachtsmen, very soon.