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Round the World Cruiser Stephen Hyde is April's Sailor of the Month

5th May 2012
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Round the World Cruiser Stephen Hyde is April's Sailor of the Month

#SAILOR OF THE MONTHSailing being a very strong family sport, it's not unknown for sons and daughters to repeat their parents' achievement in being the Afloat.ie/Irish Independent "Sailor of the Month". Sometimes the accolades can occur close together, despite the span of the generations. But it's very unusual for the younger generation to become SoM before their seniors have taken the prize. And for a son to win it all of six years before the old fellow gets a place on the podium is unprecedented.

Stefan Hyde of Crosshaven was "Sailor of the Month" back in 2006 when he was 24. And he became the Helmsman's Champion of Ireland the following year. At that time, his father Stephen was providing his newly-acquired Oyster 56 for Race Officer duties off Cork Harbour. But the word was that when he soon retired from a busy life as an architect, he and his wife Aileen would begin a round the world voyage with the new boat, with friends joining them as crew at different stages.

This was not going to be some sort of global vagrancy. It was quietly but efficiently organised. Where possible, the plan was to take part in ocean crossing fleet events, such as the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers. This takes the hassle out of arriving in remote ports, it also provides companionship with other boats because the ocean can often seem a very large and empty place, particularly with piracy on the increase, and fleet participation provides the occasional race which, in the case of the Hyde boat, saw many notable successes.

Last summer, they completed their global circuit of 36,395 miles, of which 30,775 were totally under sail. Then they cruised on up the east coast of America instead of returning to Ireland. This year, they're heading home to Cork, but first they went back down to the Caribbean, and with a strong crew which son Stefan brought from Cork, they won their class in the Oyster Regatta in mid-April. It's an event which is gently glitzy on the surface, but the racing is very much for real. There'll be a great welcome when the boat – she's called A Lady – returns to Crosshaven this summer. But meanwhile, Stephen Hyde is "Sailor of the Month" for April.

Afloat.ie Team

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