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  • Southside

Southside sailor prepares for around the world adventure

Friday, 19th January, 2018 1:00pm

Story by Neil Fetherstonhaugh
Southside sailor prepares for around the world adventure

Gregor, from Goatstown, will set sail in July.

Southside sailor prepares for around the world adventure

Gregor, from Goatstown, will set sail in July.

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IN JULY of this year a Southside sailor will set out in a 30-year-old boat in an attempt to sail non-stop around the world.

Entrants to the Golden Globe Race are limited to sailing similar boats and equipment to what was available in the original race in the 1960's.

That means sailing without any modern technology including GPS, computers and electronic autopilots.

If successful Gregor McGuckin will be the first Irish person to sail alone, without stopping, around the planet.

The 2018 Golden Globe Race is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the original event back in 1968/9 which led to the first solo non-stop circumnavigation.

It will depart from Les Sables d’Olonne in France on Sunday, July 1.

This is a challenge like no other. A solo, non-stop and unassisted race around the world using only 1960s technology.

It is a race steeped in history that celebrates 50 years since Sir Robin Knox Johnston did what everyone thought was impossible, sailing solo, non-stop around the world.

This daring race will see the competitors spend around nine months completely alone at sea before racing back to where they began via the Great Capes of the Southern Ocean.

Gregor, from Goatstown, will be on board the Ireland Ocean Racing’s Round the World Racing Yacht, Biscay 36, which is described as the perfect boat for a race such as this.

“It is a proven, strong and highly seaworthy design built in the UK in 1984,” he writes on his website.

“Built in a heavy fibreglass construction, it will be more than capable of surviving the worst of what the Southern Ocean can throw up.

“It is the maximum permitted length and as such has good speed potential. It is a ketch (two masts) allowing for more sail options to keep the boat going in all conditions. It is also easier to handle solo.”

Gregor said he had always had a desire to be outdoors, right from a young age.

“Growing up in Dublin I spent many weekends around the mountains of Wicklow and on the beaches around Dublin,” he revealed.

“As I got older I began to take up rock climbing and surfing.

“This drove me to go and try to make a career out of what I loved.

“Whilst studying Outdoor Education in College I took up windsurfing and sailing with passion.

“I focused all my energies on making sure I located myself somewhere I could spend as much time on the sea as possible.

“This inevitably led me to the West Coast of Ireland.”

After spending a number of years in the west Gregor said he began to look for the next challenge

“I had always been fascinated by offshore sailing and racing from a young age so I decided this was the time to pursue this more,” he added.

“I moved to the south coast of the UK to train, soon becoming a commercially endorsed Ocean Yachtmaster.

“I worked hard to gain as much experience offshore as I could to prepare me for my ultimate goal.

“I worked delivering yachts all over the world and eventually amassed over 50,000 miles.

“When I got the chance to compete in the 2018 Golden Globe Race I jumped on it.

“This was everything I was working towards and there I had a chance to live it.

“It will be a challenge like nothing I have done before and I am throwing myself completely into it.”

 

Gregor with the 30-year-old Biscay 26.

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