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Lads swap the boat for bikes and plan to cycle home via Iran – in aid of the RNLI

February 27th, 2020 5:05 PM

By Emma Connolly

Paul Ryan, Damien Collins,Gerald O’Sullivan and Eoin Dennehy on a recent hike in East Java.

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THE four West Cork lads who have spent the past nine months sailing the world are ready for their next adventure.

Damien Collins (24) from Durrus; Gerald O’Sullivan (24) from Bantry; Eoin Dennehy (36) from Castlehaven and Paul Ryan (25) from Rossmore were all part of a group of 10 who have been sailing around the world since July, having set sail from Sydney.

The Southern Star has reported on their trip at various stages, including them breaking down in pirate-infested waters, and their exotic Christmas spent in Indonesia.

They’re ready to come home now, though – but not surprisingly, they are taking a less than conventional route back to West Cork.

Damien explained how himself, Gerald and Paul are hoping to undertake an arduous and ambitions cycle home.

And in doing so, they hope to raise funds for the RNLI. Having experienced, and fortunately survived, some pretty hairy situations themselves, including wind speeds of 40 knots in the South China Sea, they’ve a new realisation of what lifeboat rescue crews do.

They are currently plotting their route home and are waiting for the arrival of their bikes (sponsored by McCarthy Cycles in Cork city) and then it’s full steam ahead on their next adventure.

They’ve just left the boat - the Seanchaí - in Bali, where they hope it will be sold, and Damien admitted it was strange to be moving on after calling it home for so long.

‘We’re left the boat in Marina Del Ray in Lombok (next island east of Bali) and we were flat out powerhosing and scrubbing every inch of it.

‘It will be really strange being off the boat. We’ve lived on it for over nine months now so it really feels like home. But we have achieved a lot with it and are proud of what we have done. It has given us a lot of crazy stories and fond memories,’ said Damien.

Their ultimate aim is to cycle all the way home, which he admits is ‘a lot of mileage.’

‘We’re in Vietnam for a while before getting started and Eoin plans to go home then. We’re going to start the route in Tehran in Iran. We have a friend there who is going to help us get set up. Then we’ll be heading north-west through the Alborz Mountains, through Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia to avoid Syria/Iraq before we cross Turkey.

‘Once we get to Europe we have a lot of options but we want to take in Croatia, as well as tackle some of the Alps in Austria and South Germany. We will have to go through the tunnel and get the ferry to Rosslare and finish up in Cork. That’s the rough plan anyway!’

They guys are aiming to be back by the end of the summer, but Damien added: ‘Who knows?’

‘We’re hoping to try and raise money for the RNLI by doing the cycle as well, because we really appreciate what they do, especially after being in some dicey situations ourselves out at sea.’

You can follow their adventure at seanchaiatsea.com on Instagram at seanchaiatsea

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