LIMERICK sailors Chris Egan and Dave Bevan were upbeat this week as their sail around Ireland for cancer gathered pace, eating up the nautical miles after a few days on land due to bad weather.
High winds and high seas forced them to leave their yacht, the Inizi, in the Aran Islands before resuming their sea odyssey last weekend.
This Tuesday, the Inizi and crew, which includes Chris and Dave as well as Gerry Hutton and Liam Madden, were heading for Broadhaven near Belmullet in North Mayo and were planning to hit Killybegs by this Thursday.
“We have been unlucky with the wind,”Chris told the Limerick Leader, speaking from the Inizi, their 30-foot yacht. The north-westerly winds have been hitting the yacht “on the nose”, he added. “It is pounding into us all the time.”
But, he continued, the crew are all very experienced and they are taking no chances.
“We check in every morning with the coast-guard.”
A small craft warning on Monday, however, forced them to seek shelter in Blacksod Bay. But Tuesday brought better weather.
“Today is absolutely perfect. Today is what we call a champagne sailing day. It is a beautiful summer’s day,” Chris said.
Despite the set-backs of the weather, however, the round trip is proving to be a fantastic experience.
“We are having a ball,” enthused Chris, who is on a two-year recovery programme from Non-Hodgkins Lymphona.
And they are all enjoying the support and friendliness of the coast communities they are meeting on route. “We got a deadly reaction on Clare Island,” Chris said. “They put us up, gave us bed and breakfast. They were brilliant.”
Dave Bevan is due to leave the Inizi once they made landfall in Blacksod Bay this Tuesday. Dave, who is receiving treatment for colon cancer, is due in Cork for chemotherapy this Thursday.
But the plan is, he will rejoin the crew in Killybegs at the weekend and continue their epic journey, which is a personal challenge for both men but is also raising money for cancer research and for the lifeboat service. Go to Facebook and Sail for Cancer to donate.