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Galwayman races across world’s largest ocean as part of circumnavigation of the globe

A 34-year-old Connemara man has completed the sailing expedition of a lifetime – racing 5,500 nautical miles across the world’s largest ocean in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

Patrick Moran from Clifden was a crew member on board the Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam team, which took line honours after racing non-stop across the North Pacific – from Qingdao in China to Seattle – around the clock for a total of 25 days, 19 hours and 26 minutes.

Known to be one of the most inhospitable environments on earth, the North Pacific leg of the global race is known as ‘The Big One’.

It earns this title due to the extreme weather, which includes freezing temperatures and waves almost as high as the Hollywood Sign, but also because it is the most remote ocean crossing on the Clipper Race circuit.

It is devoid of land mass and at certain points, the closest other humans are astronauts on the International Space Station

“We tried a new strategy this time and got a 250 nautical mile advantage on the fleet that made it hard for them to catch up!” said Paddy at the finish line.

“We pushed hard and focused on keeping the average boat speed up. Everybody gave everything so to see it pay off and win just feels really good!”

Founded by Sir Robin-Knox Johnston, the first person to sail solo, non-stop, round the world, the Clipper Race is a global sailing event.

Taking eleven months to complete, over 700 crew aged from 18 to 75 from all walks of life and 45 nationalities embark on the Race of their Lives, signing up to one or more of eight legs, or taking on the full 40,000nm circumnavigation of the planet.

Doctors race alongside farmers, tattoo artists and teachers, living on board a racing yacht with up to 20 others for weeks at a time.

Many participants have never sailed before taking on the intensive, mandatory four-stage training programme required to take part in the race.

This, the thirteenth edition of the Clipper Race, started in Portsmouth UK on September 3 2023, and it has so far visited, Puerto Sherry, Punta del Este, Cape Town, Fremantle, Newcastle, Whitsundays, Ha Long Bay, Zhuhai and Qingdao before arriving in Seattle.

After a period of rest and recuperation in Seattle, Patrick set off again last Friday to continue on his circumnavigation of the globe, slipping lines in Seattle and racing onto Panama, Washington, DC, then Oban in Scotland before finishing back in Portsmouth in July.

The Galway man, who works as a camera assistant, is looking forward to the rest of the circumnavigation.

“I always get a bit impatient during the last few days of a stopover. Everyone is rested and ready, the last few jobs are getting done on the boat, and I’m just waiting for the pre-race brief and race start!” he said.

“Especially now, we’ve kind of made our move by playing our Joker [this doubles the race points] and winning Race 10, so there’s a lot of excitement for the last few races.

“We need to back that up with consistently good results, and we’ve come so far as a team and have a great bunch of leggers joining so confidence is high on Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam that we can finish strong.

“I’ve really come to feel at home on this boat, with this crew, so it really does feel like anything can happen. Bring on Leg 7 and 8 and an exciting finish to this adventure!”

Pictured: The Ha Long Bay on full sail through the North Pacific Ocean in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.


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