A GROUP of West Cork friends have pooled their money, bought a yacht and are heading off on an adventure around the world.
The four West Cork lads, Gerald O’Sullivan from Bantry, Damien Collins from Durrus, Eoin Dennehy from Castlehaven and Paul Ryan from Rossmore, along with five other Cork friends, and one from Tipperary, were all working, literally ‘down under’ in the tunnels in Sydney when they decided to buy a 44ft, 11 bunk, sailing yacht for ,000 in Malaysia.
The yacht is now their home and the group named it An Seanchaí because, as Damien Collins said, ‘the boat will definitely have plenty of stories to tell before we’re finished.’
With little or no experience of sailing a yacht, the lads are now making their way, island hopping, through the Andaman Sea.
‘Ger spent many summers as a teenager sailing dinghies but never sailed a yacht in Ireland,’ Damien told The Southern Star.
‘I sailed twice before with school but spent most of the time capsized and Eoin blagged his way into a dinghy sailing instructor’s job in San Diego one summer during college, without any idea about sailing. He still knows very little about it, but Paul never sailed before coming out to Australia.’
While they have little experience of the high seas, the lads are not totally unprepared.
‘We bought the book Sailing for Dummies and we each read different chapters. We spent weeks rattling off all the lines and buzzwords,’ another member of the crew, Mark Kenny, said.
‘Gerald’s uncle, Brendan Ankers, an experienced sailor of the Pacific Ocean, came out to Malaysia at the start of the trip for a few weeks and shared his experience and many stories,’ explained Damien. ‘That helped to put most of our parents’ minds at ease. Of course our biggest priority is steering clear of pirates. We have identified the spots where there is political and social conflict and there are lots of regattas where you can join a convoy for safety.’
As of now, the lads are making their way towards Singapore, but they haven’t ruled out a trip home before their sailing adventure is over.
‘I could think of nothing better than riding the fabled southwesterlies right into Bantry harbour. I would probably have to pop over to my father on the mussel farm on the way in,’ Gerald O’Sullivan said.
However, there would have to be another port of call before Ger gets home to Bantry Bay.
‘We all share a dream and that dream is to dock in Kinsale in a year and go for a pint in The Bulman,’ Damien said.
‘And then I’d have to sail up Dunmanus Bay.’
You can follow the progress of An Seanchaí and the West Cork sailors by logging into their website, www.seanchaiatsea.com of following Seanchaí at Sea on Facebook.
Bandon Co-Op is delighted to be involved with and supporting many local community groups all over West Cork. This video encapsulates some of the wonderful people that we have the pleasure of dealing with #TogetherStrongerWestCork