Saturday 22 July 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 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

Enda O'Coineen

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.

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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