End of NY2SY challenge

Niall Iain in the Alliance Trust. Photo: Leila Angus
Niall Iain in the Alliance Trust. Photo: Leila Angus

An accident leading to back and head injuries have resulted in the end to the first attempt of the NY2SY challenge.

Niall Iain MacDonald had left New York harbour on Thursday, June 5th, and began his 3,400mile solo row home to Stornoway, but ran into bad weather five days later on Tuesday, June 10th.

And on Friday, June 13th, at around 4pm, a rouge wave caused Niall Iain to fall in the ‘Alliance Trust’ ocean rowing boat.

Writing on the NY2SY Facebook page, Niall Iain explained: “I had just finished stowing my oars and was getting ready to get into the cabin and get some sleep when I was hit by a wave on the starboard beam caused me to lose my balance and fall.
“This wave just caught me unawares and the boat seemed to just drop down straight off the back of it, instead of sliding down, and this sudden jolt threw me into one of the oar storage stanchions, where I hit my head, and then I fell backwards into the foot-well of the boat.

“It all happened very quickly and I knew instantly from the pain in my lower back that I was in trouble.”

Niall Iain called the UK Coastguard to explain his situation, who in turn contacted their US counterparts. A rescue mission was raised, although bad weather ruled out a helicopter evacuation, and at around 11pm the US Coastguard Cutter ‘Sailfish’ picked Niall Iain up and transferred him to land and medical help.

A series of test in hospital have found no lasting damage to Niall Iain’s back. He is now in New York and looking to recover the ‘Alliance Trust’ rowing boat which has been drifting since Friday.

And Niall Iain also announced that NY2SY will not happen again in 2014: “I clearly need time to recover and it would be foolish to carry on when I wouldn’t not be 100% fit,” he wrote.

“I also have to consider other ocean rowers who may want to undertake this route in the future and my actions could have implications for their attempts or even ocean rowing in general.”

You can read more about Niall Iain’s accident and current situation on Facebook ‘Ny2sy: Solo North Atlantic Row’