Sligo native Dave O’Connor and his crew of eight men are due to set sail around Ireland next month in aid of North West Hospice.

The team predominantly from the north west are expected to spend five and a half days on their boat called ‘Lynx’ as part of the Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race 2018 and are currently seeking a corporate sponsor. Owner of Wild West Sailing, Mr. O’Connor has spent years sailing across many seas including the Mediterranean and Caribbean.

Inspired by a group of people he took on a cruise who were raising money for charity as well as local woman Mary Forte involved with North West Hospice, he felt compelled to do something similar: “I wanted to be involved in an event that showed it’s not all about us but about the community. We will be representing all sailing clubs across the north west and every cent raised will go to the charity. We are looking for a corporate sponsor for the race and in return, their branding will be on our gear and the boat which will be parked up in Rosses Point in the sunshine, as well as racing around Ireland, not to mention our huge social media campaign and a discount for the company on all of the services we offer. We will also give this sponsor a discount for all their employees off our training & rental products for sailing and power boating.”

The Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race is a biennial event attracting competitors from right across the globe. The next leg is kicking off in Wicklow on 30th June. Preparations are well underway for the team before their none stop race. They are currently training around ten hours a week in advance of their departure. “So much work has gone into this up until now with a lot of it being theory, safety courses, finance and sorting out the boat so to be at stage where we are sailing together is just amazing.

There is the whole competitive aspect to sailing and the comraderie among the lads but individually, there is great healing in sailing. It’s a bit like the Camino.” said Mr. O’Connor. The sailing instructor wanted to use his passion for sailing to raise awareness of the great work done by North West Hospice that many people can connect with and want to support: “By doing something in memory of people, it can help people to move on and by contributing to a worthy cause, you are showing solidarity with people. You are also acknowledging the fact they we are all touched by death at some stage.” The team are hoping to raise €10,000 for the local charity through corporate sponsorship as well as donations from the public. Contributions can be made through the team’s official GoFundMe Page under north-west-hospice-round-Ireland or #sail4hospice.

Anyone wishing to follow the team’s preparations for the race can follow them on Facebook @wildwestsailing

Go Fund Me Page: