Sailor ready for circumnavigation of Ireland despite weather

Gary ‘Ted’ Sargent to sail around island in dinghy in aid of ChildVision charity

Sub-Arctic weather on the west coast has not deterred Dublin sailor Gary "Ted" Sargent from sticking to his departure date for a circumnavigation of Ireland in a small dinghy.

The communications professional intends to set sail from Schull, Co Cork in mid-May in a a Laser dinghy that is just over four metres long (13ft) – about twice the size of a bathtub.

While the island has been circumnavigated many times by craft ranging from kayaks to large multihulls – and by a relay rowing team last summer – Mr Sargent believes his challenge has only been tried once before.

Eight weeks

He hopes to complete the 1,500km solo voyage within eight weeks in aid of the charity ChildVision, dedicated to children with impaired or no sight and a range of disabilities.


Mr Sargent, a member of Howth Yacht Club, said he selected the Laser as it is a "very high performance boat, but with gear that is easily replaceable".

On a training run between Howth and Skerries, he achieved 50km in three hours 41 minutes – and that with a cup of tea halfway.

A support rigid inflatable boat (RIB) and shore team of volunteers will have spare parts provided by one of his sponsors, and he will wear a helmet with built-in VHF communications.

A tracking device will monitor his progress, he will be equipped with action cameras, and he says his only missing piece is a “waterproof kettle”.

Mr Sargent estimates that he will need 5,000 calories daily, as Laser sailing is intensely physical.

The record for the smallest keelboat circuit was set by brothers Kevin and Colm MacLaverty in a six-metre (18ft) Waverley class keelboat in 1961.

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins is the former western and marine correspondent of The Irish Times