THE first ever long way round circumnavigation of the Ireland was completed by a Cork crew last night after a gruelling 35-hour journey.
Cobh boat builders Safehaven Marine achieved the world first feat by circumnavigating the country via Rockall — an uninhabited granite islet 290 miles West of Scotland — and travelled over 2,000km, encompassing a 1,000km run out to the North Atlantic.
They did it in the €1m Cork built Thunder Child XSV 17 boat, a 60kt high-speed interceptor designed by Safehaven Marine MD Frank Kowalski.
Speaking to the Evening Echo from the Thunder Child vessel, logistics crew member Mary Power said the team were delighted that their hard work had come to fruition.
The six-person team was led by Safehaven Marine MD Frank Kowalski, Ciaran Monks on night navigation, Ian Brownlee on mechanical systems, pilot boat coxswain Carl Randalls and engineer Peter Gurgul.
They had set out from the Old Head of Kinsale on Tuesday morning before heading toward Drogheda in conditions which were worse than forecast at a rate of 40 knots. They were forced to take a slight detour to get some shelter and then headed to Portrush where they took on 3000 litres of fuel for their overnight journey. Yesterday, at approximately 1pm, they made it to Rockall.
“We made it out to Rockall, it was amazing to watch the sunrise over the rock out in the North Atlantic, we stopped for an hour to launch our dinghy and take some photos and video, we lost time, but it was worth it,” the crew posted on their Facebook page.
At 3pm they had made it to Blacksod Bay off County Mayo and stopped to lay a wreath in memory of the Coastguard 116 crew that tragically lost their lives there in March.
The Thunder Child arrived at the Quays Bar in Cobh at 9pm last night to a heroes' welcome after it had crossed the finish line at Kinsale.
The previous record for a circumnavigation of Ireland stood at 13 hours and was set by Allblack Racing last year. However, the trip took the shortest and most direct route around Ireland. Safehaven Marine's attempt took the longest journey with just two fuel stops.
Boat enthusiasts were able to track the entire journey of the Thunder Child via 8 West Consulting software online.
The 59ft boat can travel at a maximum of 60 knots and can carry 5,000 litres of fuel. It was a year in development and is just one type of boat among FRP pilot boats, patrol boats, crew transfer vessels, hydrographic survey catamarans and naval and military craft that Safehaven Marine has been involved in building since the company was established in 1996.