Sailor, explorer, entrepreneur and, latterly, newspaper publisher, Galwayman extraordinaire Enda O’Coineen held an RTS Republic of Ireland audience spellbound at its mid-February event.
At a brisk trot, O’Coineen took the audience through his amazing life and times – from rebellious schooldays through adventures on the high seas to his risky, even foolhardy, rescue of an ailing news title, the Sunday Business Post.
Risk and adventure are in his blood – a great grandfather prospected for gold in the Klondike – and a penchant for peril seems to be in his DNA. O’Coineen was the first Irish sailor to take part in the Vendée Globe, one of the most arduous and dangerous events in sport – sailing solo around the world through the most unpredictable and perilous conditions imaginable.
Director Peter Kelly has made a documentary film of his journey – Journey to the Edge – and O’Coineen illustrated his talk to the RTS with clips from the film about his adventures, during the course of which he faced death on more than one occasion.
O’Coineen completed his voyage, though not in an orthodox way – he was shipwrecked off New Zealand and finally sailed back to his starting point at Les Sables-d’Olonne in France nearly two years after he started.
He gave frank replies to the many questions from the audience, responding with often startling honesty and transporting them from a cold and wet February evening in Dublin to the savage elements of the waters south of Cape Horn.