O’Coineen attempting to complete single-handed world voyage

Solo sailor rejoins Vendee Globe yacht 11 months after its dismasting off New Zealand

Solo sailor Enda O’Coineen will attempt to complete his single-handed round the world voyage this month when he rejoins his Vendee Globe yacht some 11 months after its dismasting off New Zealand on New Year’s Day.

O'Coineen spent five days in January sailing Kilcullen Voyager just 240 miles under jury rig (when his best day's run while in full racing trim was 395 miles) trying to make the coast of Dunedin. He succeeded without having to call for aid from the rescue services, but admitted his dream of circumnavigating the world was "shattered".

Since then he has been pondering his option,s and nearly a year later the 61-year-old goes to Christchurch on Friday “to finish what I started”.

Accompanying him are two other Irish offshore sailors who both harbour Vendee Globe race ambitions. Joan Mulloy of Co Mayo and Nicholas “Nin” O’Leary from Cork Harbour will complete an initial test leg around New Zealand with the Galway Bay sailor.


Meanwhile, O'Leary sailed into Dún Laoghaire on Wednesday on another IMOCA 60 from Brittany in France. The 2006-New Zealand built yacht represents O'Leary's move on to the IMOCA circuit having completed both the Fastnet Race and Middle Sea Race onboard Alex Thomson's IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss this season.


Sailing under the burgee of new racing entity Ireland Ocean Racing (IOR), O’Leary’s team manager Stewart Hosford said: “The acquisition of IOR’s IMOCA 60 is a sign of our confidence in our team and our investors. We are fully confident we can produce great success both with Nin, and new up and coming Irish sailing talent.”

Tom Dolan is lying in 30th place after Wednesday’s start of the second leg of the Mini-Transat from Gran Canaria. The Co Meath sailor broke from the 56-boat fleet to hold well to the east, seeking stronger favourable winds running along the African coast

Irish Volvo Ocean Race sailors Damian Foxall and Annalise Murphy will be rivals to Capetown in Sunday's 6,000-mile second leg of the round-the-world race. Foxall, who won the first leg of the race into Lisbon on Vestas 11th Hour Racing is a 2012 race winner. Murphy, the 2016 Olympic silver medallist, in her first foray offshore, was last in the seven boat fleet on leg one onboard Dee Caffari's Turn the Tide on Plastic.

Tough season

Royal Irish Yacht Club skipper Michael Boyd has won the Royal Ocean Racing Club's (RORC) season's points championship, retaining the title for a second year. It led Boyd's yacht Lisa, a First 44.7, also to the club's Boat of the Year award.

"This has been a tough season; winning the championship in a Fastnet year makes it even more of a challenge,' said Lisa's owner Nick Jones. "Our goal was to defend our win in 2016 and to be awarded RORC Yacht of the Year is beyond our dreams. Michael [Boyd] has been an inspiration, especially to the young crew."

In Cork Harbour, Conor Phelan's "Jump" won nine of 10 races in the CH Marine Autumn League to make a clean sweep of Class One IRC last weekend.

David O'Brien

David O'Brien

David O'Brien, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a former world Fireball sailing champion and represented Ireland in the Star keelboat at the 2000 Olympics