Canadian Skipper William MacBrien Rescued in South Pacific After Activating Distress Signal

Feb 29, 2024


Canadian skipper William MacBrien, participating in the Global Solo Challenge, was rescued in the South Pacific after activating his Emergency Position Locator Beacon when in distress over 1300 nautical miles west of Cape Horn. After a tense 46-hour wait, MacBrien was rescued by the cargo ship Watatsumi.

  • MacBrien was over 3000 miles from New Zealand and 1600 miles south of the remote Island of Mataroa when he activated his distress call.
  • The boat he was sailing underwent a meticulous refit in 2023, including the replacement of the keel, to ensure top condition for the Global Solo Challenge.

State of Play

  • MacBrien activated the distress call, and various teams immediately coordinated the rescue effort.
  • After 18 hours of no contact, a further distress signal from a personal EPIRB reassured the teams that MacBrien was still present and waiting for rescue.
  • The cargo ship Watatsumi eventually reached MacBrien, establishing VHF contact and ultimately rescuing him.

What’s Next

MacBrien’s condition and the circumstances leading to the distress call and his 46-hour wait for rescue are yet to be fully revealed.

The successful rescue of William MacBrien demonstrates the intense challenges and risks faced by sailors in remote and demanding solo races, underscoring the critical role of coordination and assistance in such situations.

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