I often get asked, so whats next?, where you off to this time? and recently the answer has been, nothing at the moment, just focusing on my studies and getting my Masters finished. But secretly I am always on the look out for the next adventure.
So, a few weeks back I saw a poster online for a trial to join a crew to compete in the Round Ireland Yacht Race. A Wicklow farmer, David Ryan, was planning on chartering a Volvo Open 70 for the race and he was organizing a selection process to offer 3 remaining places to compete his crew. A quick online application and I was entered, then came a selection day in Howth Yacht Club. I arrived early to get my bearings and suss out the competition and after a safety briefing we went afloat with a mix of experienced and novice sailors in small racing yachts. A couple of hours flying around the Irish sea got me back into the swing of the crew roles as our skipper put us through our paces.
A quick bite of lunch and an interview with the man himself and some of his team. I went all in and gave a good account of myself trying to sell myself and leave them in no doubt that the crew needed me! But in all honesty I had no idea what they were looking for, but I left happy that I could do no more and it was up to them to choose from the dozens of candidates. And then the wait…
I was told to expect an email that evening so as I traveled home I awaited the beep of my phone, it never came. At home on the couch my hopes faded as the clock ticked by so by the time I hit the hay I was resigned to the fact that I missed the mark. The next morning I rolled over to check my phone, all just junk emails, a quick check of my spam folder, empty!
By lunchtime I was starting to get over the disappointment and refocus on my upcoming exams, which I should be studying for right now! So when my phone beeped in the middle of the afternoon and I checked to see I had an email from David Ryan I was surprised. Half way down in bold read “you have been selected” Holy S#!t I got a spot on the Line Honours Ireland crew.
It felt like I had won the lottery on Christmas eve, the excitement of winning mixed with incredible anticipation. I was going to get a chance to sail and race on a 70 foot carbon fibre racing yacht over a 700 mile lap of Ireland. When I paddled around Ireland 2 years ago the 2012 Round Ireland Race took place and as I passed Donegal I overheard Green Dragon, a previous Irish entry into the Volvo Ocean Race, call into the Coastguard radio station with a position report. My eyes looked to the horizon to catch a glimpse of her as she flew by and my mind ran with thoughts of being aboard mixing it with the pro sailors riding the breeze and taking line honors as first boat across the line less than 24 hours later, completing the lap in less than 4 days, 90% faster than my paddled powered adventure.
Now that day dream can become a reality, over the coming 50 days I need to get ready for one of the toughest off shore races on the planet in one of the fastest mono-hull yachts to take to the oceans.