Monday 20 February 2017

In Doldrums but dolphins keep me afloat

Galway's solo round-the-world sailor Enda O'Coineen reports from his yacht 'Kilcullen Voyager' on his progress and how he is finding the journey so far

Enda O'Coineen

Published 20/11/2016 | 02:30

Enda O’Coineen is trying to make it back to New Zealand. Photo: Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI
Enda O’Coineen is trying to make it back to New Zealand. Photo: Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI

It's now two weeks since I stepped off the land, to circumnavigate our planet in the Vendee Globe Challenge. I became a 'drop-out' from what some describe as the 'normal' world. The atmosphere with friends and family was emotionally charged as I finally cast off from western France.

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It's now hot and almost windless as I move towards the Equator. The contrast to being on land could not be more complete or extreme, here all alone. Ashore there were massive crowds. An elaborate send-off ceremony included my daughter Aisling spontaneously dancing a jig on the deck of my boat for Prince Albert of Monaco live on French national TV, supported by musicians Micheal and Cormac O hAlmhain, who had travelled from Inisheer.

Once afloat I experienced total and sudden isolation. Physically, I was drained by the preparation and my shoulder, damaged in a spectacular somersault over the handlebars of my bike a few days before. How would I ever have the strength, physically and psychologically, to do it?

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