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Richard Hayes, who circumnavigated Ireland in a Laser One dinghy five years ago, has been honoured at a mayoral reception in Galway city.

Hayes had set out on his voyage with two main aims - to highlight the preventable nature of cardiovascular disease and stroke, and to fundraise for equipment such as defibrillators.

When he passed Slyne Head, Malin Head, Rathlin Island and the Antrim Coast, the Blasket Islands, a pod of dolphins, and the highest sea cliffs in Ireland, and sailed into Galway Bay on September 15th, 2018, he had done so without a back-up water support team.

He also raised over €11,270 for local heart health charity, Croí.

Mayor of Galway City, Cllr Clodagh Higgins, said that “an unsupported solo sail around Ireland is a very rare event – requiring skill, dedication, fitness and also a lot of patience – to plan and prepare for such an ambitious task, and to wait for the right weather and the right conditions”.

“Along the way on Richard’s solo sail around Ireland, Richard and his family met with the kindness of strangers many times – from those who offered beds, to meals and coffee, and the farmers who towed the boat up sand dunes with their quad bikes,” she said.

“Communities across Ireland have been repaid in kind, in your efforts to keep them and their loved ones free from the heartache of losing a loved one to heart disease,” she said.

Richard’s mother Celine introduced Richard to sailing when he was just eight years old, in Lough Derg.

The ceremony heard how Celine passed away as a result of a heart attack some years late. There was no access to a defibrillator at the time, which might have saved her life.

Croí, which Richard raised over €11,270 for, is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the fight against heart disease and stroke, two major causes of death in Ireland.

It runs a heart and stroke centre in Galway for the community, and provides invaluable complimentary apartments for family members of those receiving treatment.

Mayor Higgins encouraged attendees to continue to support Croí in its vital work, and paid tribute to Richard’s family - his father Michael, and sisters Libhín and Michelle - who supported him “every step of the way”.

She also wished Richard “the very best in his future, on the water, and on land”.

Read also: The Smallest Boats To Sail Round Ireland – A Story of Courage & Character

Published in Galway Harbour
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#Laser - The Galway Advertiser is reporting that Galway Bay Sailing Club member Richard Hayes has completed a solo circumnavigation of Ireland by Laser dinghy.

Hayes sailed 54 days over three-and-a-half months since 27 May to complete the near 2,500km challenge last Friday 14 September in aid of heart and stroke charity Croí — and he is still raising funds for the remarkable effort online.

“This is one of the smallest boats ever to have circumnavigated Ireland and to have successfully done so without a support team on the water,” Hayes shared on Facebook of the achievement.

W M Nixon's Sailing On Saturday this weekend (22nd September) takes a detailed look at Richard Hayes’ great achievement, and other notable small boat voyages round Ireland

Published in Laser