Goatstown man races to high seas adventure

by Sylvia Pownall
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DUBLIN sailor Gregor McGuckin plans to turn back the hands of time next year to compete in a round-the-world race using only traditional navigation skills.

The 30-year-old from Goatstown will spend nine months at sea on the Biscay 36 taking direction from the sun, moon and stars and armed with just paper charts, a compass, sextant and a radio.

Gregor nabbed the last spot in the 2018 Golden Globe Race and is the first ever Irish contender aiming to retrace the record-setting trip of Sr Robin Knox-Johnston in 1968.

More people have been in space than have successfully completed the feat which Gregor has dubbed a “voyage for mad men”.

He told The Gazette: “I’ve always liked the idea of adventure but this might be taking it to the extreme. I’m an ocean yacht master, so as part of my training I’ve used traditional navigation skills – but never without GPS.

“I will have a GPS system on the boat but in a sealed box, and if the seal is broken then I am out of the race.”

The challenge will set off from Plymouth on June 30 next, covering 30,000 miles via Cape Horn, and sailors will keep in touch with family and the outside world using high-frequency radios.

Gregor said: “The biggest challenge will be to keep myself mentally fit. I will be nine months at sea on my own. I enjoy my own company, but I like to socialise as well.

“My girlfriend is very supportive – it’s a big thing to ask, but she knows it’s a dream of mine.”

Gregor is looking for sponsorship to get him to the start line in his bid to become the first Irish person to sail solo non-stop around the world.

For details, see www.gregormcguckin.com, or visit his Facebook page.

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