From NASA to salty sailor meet SSE Round Ireland Yacht Race Wild West Sailing crew member Sinead!

Name – Sinead O’Sullivan

What’s your job/profession? Aerospace Engineer, specializing in space. After an amazing 10 years working for NASA and being a professor at Harvard, three weeks ago I quit my job and I’m taking a semi-permanent sabbatical to finish a book. 

Who is someone you admire, and why? My friend Bradley Farquhar was a satellite engineer until he turned 39 and then decided he wanted to go to the winter Olympics, so learned how to skeleton in the hope of qualifying in 3 years’ time. We’re never too old to do amazing things!

Three pet peeves. Nothing actually annoys me that much. Maybe people complaining about things that can’t be changed, or not changing things that can be changed.

What’s a typical day like for you? Until very recently, start work at 6am, and grab breakfast at 8 or 9. Cycle between Harvard and MIT to have meetings with astronauts, spacesuit designers, and satellite planners, spend 2-3 hours writing research papers, and 1-2 hours teaching a class. Try to fit in a run throughout the day. Meet friends for dinner if I’m lucky, but mostly work until midnight and repeat.

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about or maybe would prefer not to know about :) When I’ve had too many dark and stormies I think I can play the guitar and sing. Spoiler alert- I really can’t. 

If you could be anywhere other than here, right this minute, where would you be? Sounds corny but I believe I’m always exactly where I should be. Also, I just moved to Palma and I’m overlooking the superyachts so this is just fine!

Flashback to when you were 10 years old. What do you want to be when you grow up? A pilot and an astronaut! I made one of those happen, and I got pretty far in the selection for the other. I’ll settle for sailor now though

If we went to happy hour, what would you order? Dark and stormies baby

Name three words that describe you. Resilient, determined, caring.

What’s a goal you have for yourself that you want to accomplish in the next year? Finishing my book and getting my Yachtmaster

What are you happiest doing, when you’re not working? Running, swimming, sailing, hanging out with interesting people, reading, eating good food, pretty much anything and everything!

What would be your personal motto? “Ad astra” (per aspera). It’s what we say in the space industry a lot. “Through hardship to the stars” – basically that anything worth doing is hard. 

What inspired you to do the SSE Round Ireland Yacht Race? I wanted to see how long it would take on a boat to make me cry… Also, I really want to see Ireland from a different perspective and do something cool with interesting people!