#sailorofthemonth – As we move into 2013 with The Gathering gaining strength, and the prospect of an Irish Diaspora Centre in Dun Laoghaire Harbour becoming a realistic prospect, it's appropriate that the first Afloat.ie "Sailor of the Month" in 2013 should be Gordon Maguire. He has successfully carried the best reputation of Irish sailing to every corner of the world, but although now based in Australia, he maintains strong links with home, with his many successes shared by Ireland's maritime community.
In the first week of January 2013, Gordon Maguire celebrated 53 straight weeks of exceptional achievement. The 63ft Reichel Pugh sloop Loki, aboard which he is sailing master, had been confirmed as overall champion in the Australian Blue Water Points Score. This has to be the ultimate test of offshore racing enthusiasm and dedication, as it's a seven race season-long series with no discards, culminating in the Sydney-Hobart Race.
While defending champion Loki may have had to concede the Hobart race win this time round to the 100ft Wild Oats XI, she was a very solid second, and well ahead of her nearest challenger in the Blue Water Series. As for conceding that one win to Wild Oats, it was the only time throughout the series that Loki had done so. In the second-longest race, the 384-mile Sydney to Gold Coast Race, Loki had been on top form for a convincing overall win. And of course her successful progress through the season of 2012 had been launched with her stunning victory in the tactically-demanding December 2011 Sydney-Hobart Race.
Gordon Maguire's four years of growing success with a mixed amateur-professional crew aboard Stephen Ainsworth's Loki speaks volumes for his exceptional talents as a helmsman, his inspiring ability as a leader, and his high qualities as a team member. Added to his record as a champion round the world racer and a winner in many other events, it is the latest chapter in a remarkable success story for Irish sailing.