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One-armed NI sailor back on dry land after epic voyage to see daughter wed

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Marie Crothers welcomes her husband Garry home after his solo journey

Marie Crothers welcomes her husband Garry home after his solo journey

Marie Crothers welcomes her husband Garry home after his solo journey

A one-armed sailor has enjoyed his first full night of sleep in days after an epic solo voyage across the Atlantic.

The last few days were among the toughest for Londonderry man Garry Crothers, who sailed the 3,600 miles from the Caribbean one-armed and navigated the busy shipping channels just south west of Ireland in his yacht named Kind of Blue.

"You sleep as and when you can," Garry (64) said. "Once you get to he south west of Ireland, about 200 miles, it all goes pear shaped, all the shipping. You get about one hour max at a time."

He added: "Thought processes go out the window. You get tired and have to think things through and think them through again."

On Saturday a small flotilla of boats accompanied Garry from Greencastle, Co Donegal, down the River Foyleto his home town, ending a more than month-long journey from the island of Saint Martin.

He was greeted by wife Marie, with daughters Oonagh and Amy, among the well-wishers, including Derry Mayor Graham Warke.

His goal was to make it back for Oonagh's September wedding and he did it in plenty of time. As family and friends partied into the late hours to mark his safe passage, Garry went to bed.

The former Merchant Navy man, who lost his left arm following an accident, is the vice-chair of Foyle Sailability, a charity that helps those with disabilities experience the joy of sailing. Charity secretary Ken Curry said his friend might well have circumnavigated the globe if the Covid-19 pandemic hadn't hampered his plans to dock at any port. So the Culmore man made for home alone.

"It's a feat best done by a three-person crew to share the workload, and get some sleep, said Garry.

"There were a few bad storms but there was little point in worrying. To do a journey, you're aware of the difficulties that lie ahead, and you just have to deal with that."

Belfast Telegraph