Galway event to hear of the thrills of taking part in the world’s longest ocean race

Organisers of the world’s longest ocean race will be in Galway next week to host an event encouraging people from Connacht to take on the challenge of a lifetime by competing in the 40,000-mile Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

The event, which takes place in the Harbour Hotel on Wednesday February 4 from 6.30pm, will also feature former local race crew members who will speak about their participation in the race and the exhilaration of meeting the challenge of competing in a global event.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the world’s longest ocean adventure and is also regarded as one of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet. At 40,000 nautical miles long and taking almost a year to complete, it consists of 12 teams competing against each other on the world’s largest matched fleet of 70-feet ocean racing yachts.

The race is open to people of all abilities and none — while each yacht is led by a professional skipper, some 40 per cent of the crew are novices — and is the only event of its kind open to amateur sailors. Participants can sign up for the full race or one of the eight race legs which will take crew across six continents and many of the world’s most remote oceans.

Jim Molloy, a civil engineer for Galway City Council, sailed in Leg 8 of the last race edition, from New York to London via Derry. One of 17 Irish men and women to take part in the 2013-14 edition of the race, he had only sailed dinghies before embarking on this adventure of a lifetime.

“Sailing into Derry-Londonderry on the Derry-Londonderry-Doire boat in first place last June was the most exhilarating experience of my life,” said Mr Molloy, who will be at the talk to speak with potential future crew. “The welcome we received from the city, mixed with the joy of seeing family and friends after 16 tough days racing across the Atlantic, is indescribable and something that will stay with me forever.

“For anyone who thinks this might be for them, I would say, now is your opportunity to take part in the Clipper Race and from your first day of training, you don't just join the Clipper Race, you join the Clipper Race family. It is in an incredible experience and certainly one that I recommend.”

Now in its 19th year, the Clipper Race was founded by legendary sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world in 1968/9. It is the only event where people from all walks of life, regardless of previous sailing experience, can race around the world under sail. While participants must be over 18 there is no upper age limit — the oldest participant to date was 74.

The Clipper 2015-16 Race will start on Sunday August 30 from the south of England. Eighty per cent of crew places are now filled but there are still places available on most legs. Crew can sign up to complete either the full circumnavigation or individual legs, and all training is provided in the overall cost.

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