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A young Irish sailor is making her mark Down Under after swapping the shores of Skibbereen for the bright lights of Sydney.

Self-described “home bird” Mia Connolly had only spent a week outside of Ireland before upping sticks for Australia six months ago.

But she’s since put her years of experience as a pitman and trimmer — both in student yachting and later on such vessels as the J92 Jostler and Royal Irish Quarter-Tonners Cri Cri and Enigma — into a new challenge, crewing Gordon Ketelbey’s TP52, Zen.

Mia set off from Ireland last November with the dream of “that Sydney Harbour dream life”, including witnessing the Sydney to Hobart Race with her own eyes.

“GordonGordon Ketelbey’s TP52, Zen

Yet within just a few short months she’s become a big race winner herself, assisting with the bow as part of the crew that took the IRC Division 1 title in the 2019 Garmin NSW IRC Championship last week.

 

That result in the Sail Port Stephens regatta came after victory in the Sydney Harbour Regatta State Championships, on the same waters she’d dreamed of watching others race this time year ago.

Mia also crews Ketelbey’s Farr 40, also named Zen, which just took part in its class national and state championships.

Such achievements don’t seem so surprising from someone who grew up in a leisurely sailing family, where roundings of Fastnet Rock were a regular feature of her childhood and Cape Clear Island “felt like a second home”.

Mia tells Afloat.ie: “It is now coming up to my six months here in Sydney and my journey in getting this far has no doubt been a challenge, but I guess dedication has no limits and I’m looking forward to seeing how the future unfolds.”

Published in News Update

Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

 

At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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