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Galway sailor (60) taking on mammoth round the world endurance challenge

Skipper Enda O'Coineen (right) will be the first Irish sailor to participate in the Vendée Globe round the world sailing race. Pictured in Belfast with deputy Skipper Andrew 'Hammy' Baker (left) from Strangford as he prepares for the global challenge. Picture Mal McCann
Gareth McKeown

A GALWAY man will create history in November when he competes in sailings most difficult race, the Vendée Globe.

The only non-stop solo round the world race has been completed by fewer than a hundred people and in November 60-year-old Enda O'Coineen will attempt to add his name to that illustrious list as skipper of the Team Ireland boat.

He will be the first ever Irish person to take part in the quadrennial challenge as skipper of the first Irish team to qualify for internationally renowned endurance race. The 25,000 mile sail begins and finishes in France and the route stretches right around the globe.

Mr O'Coineen will be on the water for around 90 days as part of what is considered one of the toughest sporting challenges in the world.

"It's a personal odyssey," he told the Irish News.

"It's on my bucket list and has always been a lifetime ambition so I'm really looking forward to it. Psychologically it will be a massive challenge as you have to be the cook, navigator and everything else yourself," he said.

One of the members of the background team is Strangford sailor Andrew Baker, who is the reserve skipper. He will take charge of the boat should anything happen to Enda and is ready to step up if required.

The Vendée Globe was created in 1968 and 72 sailors have managed to finish the route since its inception.

Mr O'Coineen will set sail from les Sables d’Olonne, France on Sunday November 6.

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