Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Latest Stories

In his latest update from the Atlantic Ocean, Solo sailor Enda O'Coineen tells how he took a call from President Higgins as he crossed the Equator on his long voyage back home from New Zealand

The President of Ireland's Office called on the Sat. phone. As per SOB I answered " South Atlantic Residents Association. How may I direct your call"

Confused, the man almost hung up until I got him back and clarified my mistake. I should, of course, have said the " North Atlantic Residents Association… " - since we have just crossed the Equator.

The crossing was a truly magical moment, early Friday 16th March after 48 days at sea. King Neptune and his Court who gave us a personal audience and a warm welcome, having remembered us from the outward journey.

Then President Higgins came on the line and congratulated us on the voyage. This was indeed a great honour - not just for your humble skipper but all our partners, friends and those who have supported the project.

tqlking with president
Enda talks with President Higgins

For those who have followed our ship's log through our Journey thanks for your interest. The Sunday Independent will be publishing the next Log so rather than my regular ' guff ' for those following the adventuure, I write about something special. Without shame ask to support. something incredible.

It can be small or large to help the Atlantic Youth Trust Charity We've had everything from £1 - £40,000 donated by individuals and companies so no amount is too small and it makes a difference.

To be clear, 100% of all funds will go to the Atlantic Youth Trust. And for the record the ATLANTIC Trust has not paid 1 cent towards the branding and promotion contributed through the Vendee. The Kilcullen Team Ireland Ocean project has in fact helped raise funds and profile both on the island of Ireland and internationally.

For me it is an honour to play a role in this initiative and thankfully, as business has gone well I have been able to support it financially myself. My late father, Lord rest him, always said " You should put something back in" here

I have been honoured to promote this charity. Will you actually do something? Now?

Atlantic's mission is clear to connect young people with the ocean and adventure.

As a child I was always in trouble at school and ' difficult" . I was fortunate to be selected to go on Asgard 1, a sail training vessel and it changed my life. Mind you many might say I am still difficult and in trouble - perhaps - one of another kind but this in not for me to judge.

Anyway Asgard II was lost, as was NI's vessel and the island of Ireland at the same time found itself rudderless in a tough recession. There was no appetite to rebuild.

It has been a tragedy for maritime youth development. We had no certified vessel or professional structure integrated to the education system to take youth to sea, introduce them to careers in the maritime and personal development.

As is often is the case with tragedy comes opportunity. Here the Atlantic Youth Trust saw is a once in a lifetime to look around the world with a 'clean-sheet" to see who did it best. Generous seed-funders came in and ATLANTIC in an independent project surveyed 16 countries and held Town Hall style meetings around Ireland to harvest views and build concensus for the best solution and value in a 30 year plus project,

This is a World Class, Youth Development Tallship. It will be professionally run but supported by a large Irish and Global volunteer based structure. Essentially the Maritime dimension to the Irish diaspora story - appropriate to think of on this St Patricks Weekend,

No matter who a child is, from any part of Ireland, they would have the opportunity to taste the ocean and adventure on this ship.

In our global research the New Zealand model stood out. With climate similarities in the South Island and similar populations. ATLANTIC their template, they are incredibly helpful and we have had several exchanges.

The economic model shows a massive return on investment for youth at risk, those following careers at sea, marine industry development, even tourism promotion and much more,

Incredible progress has been made. Teams in NI and ROI are working on details to move forward but the project urgently needs smart seed funding and public support to keep going. See www.Atlanticyouthtrust org.

Also some great member trustees have got in behind the organization and mission. Thee are led by the Chairman Peter Cook, David Beattie, Sean Lemass, John Killeen, John Coyle, Jerry Dowling, Sean Lemass, Gerard O'Hare to mention just a few It is a professionally run charity. Neil O'Hagan is the CEO and ite offices are kindly sponsored by Irish Lights, the North-South navigation authority.

You'll find ways to donate online here

ATLANTIC have gifts small and large for all donations over £30 and I am happy to consider any corporate speaking type activities in return for a donation to the Trust.

Now, in theory the circumnavigation is complete. The Equator marks the beginning of the End in what has been an extraordinary adventure and very tough challenge. Also TEAM Ireland Ocean want to keep going and would like people to get in behind Gregor McGuickan's entry in the Golden Globe Around the World Challenge and Joan Mulloy in the FIGARO this year and Nin O'Leary's Vendee plans with IOR.

However its not over. Now its north through the Doldrums, the North Easterly Trade Winds past the Caribbean and up the North Atlantic leaving the Azores High to starboard to finish in early April. Now that's an excuse for a great party.

But please pleaae make a contribution to the ATLANTIC Youth Trust. Every bit counts. 

Published in Vendee Globe

Ireland’s solo star Enda O Coineen has successfully rounded Cape Horn through the weekend in his combined-resources Open 60 Team Ireland/Soufle du Nord writes W M Nixon. In doing so he has transformed his sailing conditions from a severe 49-knots plus nor’wester west of the Horn in his final miles in the Pacific Ocean, into more gentle conditions as he shapes his course into the Atantic.

In traditional maritime parlance, the Galway veteran has “doubled the Horn”. And the extremes of weather relatively late in the season have tested his skill and resolve even further after an often very rugged passage from New Zealand.

Ireland’s Cape Horn pioneer Conor O’Brien – sailing with a crew in the 42ft Saoirse in 1924 – rounded Cape Horn in relatively benign conditions early in December. But in his much later approaches to Cape Horn, it was like winter for O Coineen.

The latter half of February is already getting late in the preferred time window, and as he neared “The Big One”, the Irish skipper and boat were tested again and again. Now this ultimate of headlands is safely astern, and though there are still thousands of miles to sail to his finish port of Les Sables d’Olonne, the most demanding hurdle of all has been safely negotiated.

Published in Solo Sailing

In the coming 24 hours, Enda O’Coineen is on course to sail solo around the notorious Cape Horn as he endeavours to complete his solo sailing lap of the planet.

Enda restarted his voyage in late January a little over a year since his Vendée Globe challenge came to an abrupt end, when his mast came crashing down some 180 miles south of New Zealand.

Having sailed more than half-way around the world from Les Sables in France, Enda was determined to finish what he started.

Initial plans to repair his boat changed when the opportunity arose to combine his efforts with another retired Vendée Globe team and merge as Le Souffle du Nord Kilcullen Team Ireland, with the mission to sail back to France and unofficially finish the race.

This weekend will be only one of a few recorded times that an Irish sailor has rounded the southern tip of the South American continent.

Enda OCoineen Cape Horn

Speaking about historic event, Enda O’Coineen said: “Cape Horn is one of, if not, the most feared pieces of land to round on the planet. And it is certainly living up to its reputation as I approach with 60kph winds and roaring seas hurtling me towards the great cape.

“This will hopefully be the coldest and wildest weather I will encounter as I then turn north and start the final leg up the Atlantic Ocean and into Les Sables d’Olonne to finish what I started.

“It’s hard to explain why I put myself in this position, alone, cold, and exhausted as the bottom of the earth but as any sailor or adventurer knows as soon as you reach your destination and accomplish your goal you quickly forget about the hardship.”

Enda added: “Right now I am living on the edge, moment by moment. Having the joint backing of two teams and flying both the Irish and French flags is an honour. The work of Le Souffle du Nord and the Atlantic Youth Trust keeps me motivated during the lows.”

The timing of the rounding coincides with summer in the Southern Hemisphere, but the latitude and converging seas make Cape Horn a daunting prospect year-round.

For live tracking of Enda’s voyage visit

Published in Solo Sailing

As reported yesterday, in Dunedin, New Zealand, Enda O’Coineen set sail alone with the objective of sailing non-stop for 13,000 miles through the Pacific Ocean, around Cape Horn, and back up the Atlantic to Les Sables d’Olonne in France.

This epic voyage will see Enda complete the Vendee Globe race course after he was forced to retire from the race when he lost his mast on New Years Day in 2017 some 180 miles south of New Zealand. In a historic first, two Vendee Globe teams and pooled resources and joined teams to complete the voyage. French entrant Le Souffle du Nord limped into New Zealand a few days before Ireland’s only entry with serious structural damage to their hull. The French boat has now been rebuilt and Enda will sail it alone, back to France and then onto Ireland. The voyage is expected to take approximately 55 days and Enda is likely to face some extreme conditions as he sails through the Southern Ocean.

Speaking before his departure Enda said:  “It is an honour to now sail under a joint French - Irish flag. Le Souffle du Nord – Kilcullen Team Ireland represents an amazing coming together of two teams. While I never wanted to have to drop out the Vendee Globe, it has added to the adventure. Just a few weeks ago a group of delegates from France and Ireland met in Auckland to wish us well and to also take a closer look at the Spirit of Adventure Trust model. It is an incredible youth development model and has played a central role in the development of New Zealand’s maritime industry, it is for those reasons that the Atlantic Youth Trust is working to replicate it.”

Published in Vendee Globe

Galway Bay's Vendee Globe sailor Enda O'Coineen left the port of Dunedin in New Zealand this morning local time under a cloudy sky and a wind from 10 to 15 knots in his new boat and is bound for France.

As previously reported this week, the Irish sailor was accompanied by six young people from the Spirit of Adventure programme for his long voyage to the starting line in Les Sables D'Olonne.

Published in Vendee Globe

New Zealand’s Otago Daily Times profiles  Enda O’Coineen as he prepares to complete his interrupted circumnavigation of the world.

Enda’s dream looked as if it had come to an end last year when Kilcullen Voyager-Team Ireland dismasted on New Year’s Day 2017 off Dunedin, halfway through the Vendée Globe.

But after regrouping back home, plans were set in motion to resume the round-the-world route with a new IMOCA 60, and another Vendée dropout, Souffe du Norde Kilcullen Team Ireland.

First came a circumnavigation of New Zealand begun before the end of last year and completed last month — a shakedown of sorts before Enda embarks on a two-month solo voyage from Dunedin to Les Sables.

“I’m officially out of the race so we’re going to unofficially re-enter and finish it,” he says, adding about his planned departure this Friday 26 January: “You’re never really ready to go but on Friday I'll wake up and just set off. I’ve known since last year I needed to do this and so here I go.”

The Otago Daily Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Solo Sailing

Westport’s rising sailing star Joan Mulloy visited her home town of on Wednesday December 20th with legendary sailing veteran Enda O’Coineen, and delivered a fascinating talk at the invitation of Mayo Sailing Club reports’s Clew Bay Correspondent. Seeking sponsorship, she told a packed room of well over a hundred interested guests and friends about her sailing adventures and plans, and the national and international publicity this would bring.

Melding her engineering background with her love of sailing, she has already achieved a string of successes in the highly competitive racing scene, and is one of Ireland’s most promising offshore sailors. As part of Team Ireland, she is now planning to be the first Irish woman to participate in the Solitaire du Figaro, the gruellingly competitive 1600 nautical mile four-stage race, in which she will be competing against some of the world’s best solo offshore sailors.

"Having worked at the top level of ocean racing for over 5 years, the time is right for me to take the helm” she said. “Being part of Team Ireland brings a level of professionalism, structure, and experience that will greatly enhance my campaign."

Her enthusiasm quickly spread to the listeners, and it wasn’t long before the first sponsor stepped in. Then Vendee Globe and Mini-Transat veteran Enda O’Coineen, who is now mentor to Joan, gave insights into the race he was forced to abandon in New Zealand and now plans to finish as a personal goal.

westport crowd3Enda O Coineen racing the Vendee Globe

As he explained, disaster sometimes leads to more fame than success, and he is using his experience and insights to help young sailors launch their careers and achieve success on the international stage. He urged the local community to support Joan at the grassroots level, which is the platform that helps secure the confidence of major sponsors. To learn more about Joan, or to become a sponsor, visit:

Enda also talked about his work with the Atlantic Youth Trust. The plans to replace the sail training ship Asgard II are progressing, if slowly, and support for this is needed.

Not surprisingly, the event drew attendees from all around the west coast. Some of the best-known adventurers in Connacht came to hear what’s new in the world of competitive offshore racing, and the mulled wine reception in advance of the talks gave everyone a chance to get up to speed with the latest developments.

Jaimie & Mary Young, of Killary Adventure Centre were in from Connemara. Jaimie is preparing his Frers 49 Killary Flyer for his next venture to the Arctic, and fundraising is always of interest. In the meantime, he is managing an expansion of the Adventure Centre, with the addition of The Killary Lodge due for completion in June 2018.

Alex Blackwell, Irish Cruising Club and Rear Commodore of the Ocean Cruising Club for Ireland, said he liked the gentle pace of a nice cruiser, but could appreciate the subtleties of wanting to go faster than the next boat, even when cruising in conversation with Matt Molloy. Matt, an avid sailor and musician, listened attentively but made it clear he had never ever had any ambitions to take up blue water racing. He too preferred to stop along the way, and smell the roses.

westport crowd3It might have been the countdown to Christmas, but in Westport people wanted to hear about top level Solo Racing

On the subject of roses, Jarlath Cunnane wanted to know if Enda shouldn’t be planning to prune roses instead of sailing across oceans now that he’s a grandfather. Enda said there was plenty of time for that, but right now he’s on a mission to finish what he started; after that, he wants to apply his knowledge to helping the up and coming young sailors, like Joan, who need to break into this competitive field. Then Jarlath asked detailed questions about the construction of Enda’s boat, which caused Enda to suggest that Jarlath may be thinking about building one himself.

Daria Blackwell, Rear Commodore of the Ocean Cruising Club, said she liked stopping along the way rather than passing anchorages by in a blur, but that following the passionate racers like Enda and Joan online was great fun.

Students from GMIT and NUI Galway came to fuel their imaginations and hopes, sensing that if Joan was able to muster the courage and the support, maybe they could too. The Galway crew that competed with success in the Fastnet Race were soaking up the details of the process of building experience and fundraising.

Joan’s childhood friends from Mayo Sailing Club’s excellent sail training programme came out in force to support her. Joan recognized those who had given her the first taste of offshore sailing, including John Lamb on whose boat she made her first exit from the protective safety of Clew Bay – and loved it. Ex-Commodores of MSC Rory Casey, Paul Murphy, and Damien Cashin arrived to lend their support, as did many other members.

westport crowd3Duncan Sclare, Commodore Mayo SC, is himself a solo sailor

Current Commodore Duncan Sclare, himself a single-hander, joined in the praise. He also invited everyone to attend the next talk by Mini-Transat sailor Tom Dolan on the 25th of January.

Mayo Sailing Club is a happening place, that’s for certain – and not just on the water. MSC welcomes new members at its clubhouse in Rosmoney. Members literally “get out there”, and so can you. No prior experience is required. No boat is needed. Visit here

Published in Solo Sailing

Is Ireland about to mount a challenge for the America’s Cup?

No so fast — the photo above is just Enda O’Coineen posing with the Auld Mug as it sits prude of place in the clubhouse the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland.

Former Vendée Globe contender O’Coineen was invited to the home of this year’s America’s Cup winners yesterday (Friday 24 November) along with the rest of Kilcullen Voyager Team Ireland as they paused their summer circumnavigation of New Zealand.

The trip comes ahead of O’Coineen’s ‘unofficial’ completion of his previously abandoned solo round-the-world effort, as he joins the race to Les Sables from 25 January.

But first comes a return to Ireland next week for the launch of Kilcullen Voyager Team Ireland’s Schools Adventure programme, a workshop on using ocean adventure in education, a reception hosted by the French ambassador — indeed a packed calendar of events in the run-up to Christmas.

Meanwhile, with an offshore specialist like O’Coineen in charge, and a strong Irish contingent in the current Volvo Ocean Race who might feasably lend their talents, maybe an Irish America’s Cup team isn’t such a pipe dream after all…

Published in Vendee Globe

Ireland's 2017 Vendee Globe competitor Enda O’Coineen reveals a 'marriage' of two former Vendee Globe campaigns; his own with the French IMOCA 60, Le Souffe du Nord.  The Galway Bay solo sailor also confirms – from his boatyard base in New Zealand – that he intends to fulfill his dream of circumnavigating the globe and 'unofficially' finish the solo non–stop round the world race almost a year after a dismasting brought his voyage to a halt.

Greetings from Christchurch, New Zealand. It's Spring here, the birds are singing and all our KIWI friends are gearing up for Summer. 

Following a ‘rebuild‘ our IMOCA 60, “ Souffe du Norde Kilcullen Team Ireland” - has come out of the yard and is due for launch today – Tuesday. Early morning it involved closing the highway, then through a large mountain tunnel leading to Lyttleton, a commercial harbour with ‘depth’ and still in a bit of a mess from the earthquake a while back.

On launching, we plan some trials and then a training leg up along the coast. Then a hop to the North Island and Wellington, the Capital, around to Tangaroa and then Auckland.

Leaving the boat secure, I am then heading back to the Irish Winter and the magic of Christmas. Then in January, we sail from Auckland back around to Dunedin and Otago Bay. Hence to complete a circumnavigation of New Zealand. Could this be a first for an Irishman? Perhaps Afloat’s Mr William Nixon can advise?

After that, it’s the ‘ Big One” and will be non-stop singlehanded to Les Sables D'Olonne and hopefully “unofficially” finish the Vendee – around the World with ‘One Stop’ – taking in a lap of Kiwiland!

Originally, after 60 days at sea, I ended up in Dunedin with no mast and a broken spirit. Such is serendipity, that The Souffe du Nord boat was broken almost in half and had a good mast. She had something big and soft, probably a whale – and arrived in the same place.

Our teams seemed destined to marry. For me it was clear on first sight. For them the courtship took a while. Interestingly our meeting point was the same place that Ernest Shackelton set out for the Antartic – 100 years previously to the month…

No less than 11 teams dropped out on this leg. Essentially you take the risks and accept the consequences. That said, it was a massive blow after such a period of intensity, to be suddenly mastless and cast adrift from a fast armada powering through the Southern Ocean was dramatic and a downer.

Then my ambition switched to survival and to get safely back to land without calling the rescues services some 200 miles out. And now that has become a simple desire to complete the circumnavigation and finish the race " unofficially” in Les Sables D'Olonne.

Last February, on returning back to Ireland - other than a few immediate talks, I went back to work ( to pay for it all). Most offers were resisted - and I could have easily dined out on my disaster story all year. As you know, in Ireland sometimes to fail is more successful that success itself.

Many people kindly wish you on – which is great – but deep down they always secretly love you to see fail. It brings great satisfaction. Human nature makes many feel great and superior when others fail. And, sure is it not great to give people this small joy? Cheers to the begrudgers and those who begrudge the begrugers – may they both self-extinguish!

Kilcullen voyager IMOCA 60'Oversize' – The IMOCA 60 Kilcullen Voyager/Le Souffre du Nord arrives at the boatyard ready to be launched
Originally, I was going to acquire the Souffe eu Nord Mast and their boat was to be written off. However, in the end, it made sense for me to work with them to fix their boat and sell my hull.

So now both teams have merged on an equal basis and we share the costs. The boat, was owned by a group of French businessmen based around Lille. And while keeping the partnership, it made sense for Team Ireland to take over the ownership. They have built a support group of almost 2,000 – they are passionate and a lot of fun. Their skipper, hired–in for the event Thomas Ruyant is a great sailor. However, he simply wanted out and became a bit scared of the boat, and is currently doing a two handed trans-Atlantic, the TJV.

With a courtship period, defined by logic, with ceremony and fanfare in Lille, I have been appointed their “Ambassador”. After some soul-searching they decided that they really wanted to finish.

Amongst other things, this involves taking a stuffed Hummingbird to Dunkirk. It joins my bottles of whiskey that have accompanied me on my voyage – one of which is promised to Prince Albert in Monaco who is a whiskey collector - and the other he has agreed to auction off with is in his castle for the Atlantic Youth Trust.

And why the Hummingbird? As legend has it, there was a forest fire in South America. And a flock of Hummingbirds would dive into the ocean and carry water in their beaks to dump on the fire to save the forest. Needless to say, the birds failed miserably but their message is that if everybody “does a bit” we have a chance to save the world. Go figure!

And, should you wish to understand our Souffe du Nord partners more, you can meet them when they come to Dublin on the 30th November. We have a party with the French Ambassador and at the same time announce the Atlantic Youth Trust schools programme and a workshop on using ocean adventure as an education tool in schools.

We are also working to assist Joan Mulloy from Team Ireland Racing, Gregor McGuikian also from Team Ireland Racing and to work also with Nin O'Leary of Ireland Ocean Racing, a great project.

Nin was to come on the leg up to Auckland but at the last moment had some issues at the last moment and will now likely come on the leg from Auckland back around to Dunedin/Otago.

We were fortunate to be able to facilitate Stewart Hosford of Ireland Ocean Racing of getting hold of Great American IV. Ireland is such a small place and there is a powerful logic for all involved in the sport, and the development of ocean sailing, to work together,

These ocean projects are incubating professional sailing teams. It's ‘baby steps’ for the moment and it's necessary to focus on one step at a time and sure who knows where the journey may lead? A circumnavigaton of some more Pacific countries and Atlantic islands on route?

Published in Vendee Globe

Solo sailor Enda O'Coineen rejoins his Vendee Globe yacht Kilcullen Voyager this weekend some 11–months after its dismasting off New Zealand on New Year's Day. That's according to the Irish Times Sailing Column this morning here. The 61–year–old flies who flies out to Christchurch today told the newspaper he wants 'to finish what I started'. 

As reported at the time, O'Coineen spent five days in January sailing Kilcullen Voyager just 240 miles under jury rig (when his best days 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'.

The Irish Times has much more on the story here.

Published in Vendee Globe
Page 1 of 6

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

Howth Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

corkweek sidebutton
tokyo sidebutton
roundireland sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

chmarine sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating