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Super Yachts at boot (newsletter)

Conor O Brien's two year Saoirse Circumnavigation centenary celebration

by Daria Blackwell / OCC 18 Jul 12:15 UTC

The ICC/RCC Cruise to Madeira to commemorate Conor O Brien's circumnavigation, one of the first by a yacht, was a great success. OCC was well represented.

The Irish Cruising Club and Royal Cruising Club of which Conor O Brien* was a member organised a cruise in company to Madeira to commemorate Conor O Brien's historic circumnavigation aboard the yacht Saoirse. OCC was represented by members Michael Craughwell and his beautiful ORCHESTRA, Leszek Wolnik aboard MAIRIN and Bob Stewart's TARA. OCC Member Séamus O'Connor, who is an ICC Rear Commodore, was the Chairman of the organising committee, which included John Duggan, OCC Port Officer for Cascais.

John Duggan noted, "Much credit for the success of the event must go to Catia Carvalho Esteves, the amazing OCC Port Officer at Funchal, who set up the ICC's contacts with the Clube Naval de Funchal and the entities which so generously supported the Rally and made it possible."

The event commenced with the fleet gathering on Porto Santo first, and from there executing a parade of sail past dignitaries assembled in Funchal. The sailing vessel Ilen, a 56ft trading ketch of 1926 vintage designed by Conor O Brien, which served as a cargo ship in the Falklands and was recently restored, led the parade with ICC Commodore David Beattie onboard. The fleet comprised 28 varied craft of multiple sizes, representing the ICC, the OCC, the RCC, and leading Portuguese clubs.

Following an amazing celebration and speeches, the officers of the host club, the Clube Navale do Funchal, members of the Madeira government, the harbourmaster, the ports authority and the maritime police, and the Hon British Consul and Irish Ambassador to Portugal, there were folk dancers, a wonderful meal, dancing and fireworks.

After several days of celebration and much Madeiran hospitality commemorating the centenary of O Brien's visit, the fleet dispersed, with some continuing on longer voyages as did O Brien while others were returning to their home ports. Madeiran life was returning to normal.

*O Brien famously left off the traditional apostrophe from his name.

Quick Links:

  • New Edition: Across Three Oceans by Conor O Brien

This article has been provided by the courtesy of the Ocean Cruising Club.

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