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Round-the-World Sailing: 'You’ve Reached South Africa & You’re Nearly Home!'

28th December 2018
Fergus and Kay Quinlan from Kinvara Fergus and Kay Quinlan from Kinvara

Hello and welcome to my weekly Podcast …. Tom MacSweeney here ….

The Christmas and New Year festive period is a time for memories – or so it is traditionally said – and there are a few which were brought to my mind from what I have been hearing “over the Christmas….” as that beloved description goes.

Gregor McGuckin’s abandoned yacht still afloat and nearing Australia with a cargo of Irish whiskey aboard, which story has been exciting some attention since the Golden Globe Race organisers announced salvage interest in the boat – or the whiskey – reminded me of how I first came to love Jameson when crewing aboard NCB Ireland in the Whitbread Round the World Race. In the cold climes of the Labrador Banks – or thereabouts – shivering in the damp cold air on deck watch, despite all my thermal clothing – the discovery as a newcomer to that crew of a cargo of Jameson being carried aboard for some public relations purpose… and the content of one of its bottles being dispersed to those members of the crew wishing to warm up, via Irish coffee if I remember correctly - and which included me - may not have been what was intended but induced in me a love of the liquid which, over the years since has, in my view, handsomely paid off the manufacturer, irrespective of their ultimate purpose for the seaborne cargo!

And then, another memory was brought to me by two intrepid round-the-world sailors Fergus and Kay Quinlan from Kinvara recalling what it was like to arrive into a closed yacht club on Christmas morning…in Cape Town …. No wonder Fergus laughed when he was told there that – having reached South Africa, they were nearly home in Kinvara…. Only the Irish weather was waiting for them….

Listen to the podcast below

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Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for He also presents the maritime radio programme This Island Nation on community radio stations around Ireland.

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