Halcrow sends mayday after mast breaks

Andrew Halcrow has been forced to call a halt to his second attempt at circumnavigating the globe after the mast on his yacht Elsi Arrub broke in harsh conditions.

The “devastated” sailer from Burra was struggling in poor weather west of Cape Horn when the incident took place today.

Mr Halcrow is unharmed but still on the vessel as he waits to be rescued by the Chilean coastguard service. It is understood that a naval vessel has left Punta Arenas and is now on her way to pick him up.

It is not known whether the Elsi Arrub can be saved at this stage.

Mr Halcrow’s wife Allyson said conditions had been extremely poor.

“It’s horrendous. It’s very, very strong,” zhe said. ” Winds are easing a little bit now. Very strong winds at very high speeds. He’s fine under the circumstances.

“I’m not exactly sure what’s happening but at the moment I think he understands that whatever comes to get him can’t take Elsi Arrub. I don’t think she’ll be towed.”

A statement on his website www.elsiarrub.co.uk says: “During the midst of a huge storm just West of the Horn Elsi’s mast broke. It is with huge regret that Andrew has had to call mayday.

Thankfully, he is safe whilst being devastated by what has just happened.”

Mr Halcrow left Shetland in November and was well over three months into his voyage, this time taking the westerly route.

His previous attempt to circumnavigate the globe, heading east, ended in December 2006 when he was rescued off the south-west coast of Australia after suffering a burst appendix.

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