Sunday 20 January 2019

'It took me two months to recover' - Irish dad-of-three who won gruelling race is up for Sailor of the Year award

Conor Fogerty won the race after he sailed from Plymouth in England to Newport, Rhode Island, USA.
Conor Fogerty won the race after he sailed from Plymouth in England to Newport, Rhode Island, USA.
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

An Irish man who won the gruelling OSTAR after sailing singlehandedly across the Atlantic Ocean is in the running for this year’s Sailor of the Year award.

Conor Fogerty from Howth Yacht Club got a hero’s welcome when he returned home last June 26 after sailing for 21 days at sea, completely alone.

The OSTAR is one of the toughest races in the world, testing sailors to sail upwind, against prevailing winds and currents, from Plymouth in England to Newport, Rhode Island.

Four boats sank during the race; one of the boats was rescued by the Queen Mary; and one washed up on a Kerry beach.

But 46-year-old father-of-three Fogerty told that his tactical decision to take a more northerly route for the race, clinched the trophy for him.

“The great thing about getting the recognition and winning the OSTAR is that I won it on handicap, and I won my class. With all that happening it’s great that I’ve been nominated for Sailor of the Year.”

Fogerty was nominated last year as well, but was pipped by Olympic silver medallist Annalise Murphy.

“I was nominated for winning the Caribbean 600 last year. Annalise obviously was a worthy winner with her medal.”

“21 days at sea by yourself going upwind is tough. It’s not just 21 days, it’s 21 of 24 hours because the weather will decide when you’re going to get an hour’s sleep or 20 mins sleep.”

“It’s the toughest race I’ve done to date. But we've realised that I definitely need a nutritionist to revise me on my diet. I was eating a lot of freeze-dried food to keep the boat light, and I was just rehydrating food."

By the time Conor arrived on shore, he was weak and sleep-deprived.

"It took me two months to recover from a health perspective. The next time I do something like that I’ll have the advice of a nutritionist.”

“I was very tired because of my sleep pattern on board, but the adrenaline when you arrive carries you on for a few days.”

“You have to be 100pc committed to this. You can’t decide you want to go single-handedly offshore sailing and hope for the best.”

You can vote for the nominees of the Sailor of the Year award here

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