Sail away in retirement

Posted on: 5th August, 2016

Category: Features

Contributor: Mary O'Brien

Above: Myra Reid and Paraic O Maoilriada Reid, standing at the back of their 53 foot yacht 'Saol Eile' currently docked in Kinsale Harbour after having sailed around the world.

Myra Reid (69) and Paraic O Maoilriada (72) from Kilkenny returned home this month, docking in Kinsale Harbour, from a six-year around-the-world sailing trip in a  53-foot yacht ‘Saol Eile’ that covered 43,000 miles and took them to the furthest corners of the globe.

The Kilkenny couple, who will celebrate 50 years of marriage next year, took up sailing only 11 years ago. They spent five years training and sailing, completing a Yachtmaster course with CH Marine, Skibbereen and circumnavigating Ireland, before heading off on their journey.

“Paraic was scared of the water and we’d never even sailed a dingy before this,” says Myra “but we had a brilliant sailing instructor from Bantry who gave us the confidence and practical knowledge to go ahead with it.”

On the first leg of their journey, between Ireland and Spain, Myra and Paraic hit a force 9 gale. “It was a challenge but it gave us great confidence in the boat and in ourselves. We knew we could do it after that for sure,” says Myra.

Sailing the Kalimantan river and experiencing Borneo’s wildlife and landscape was one of the most memorable parts of the journey. “Lying in the boat at night and looking up at the monkeys in the trees was just magical. Although I wasn’t too mad about the crocodiles,” she says laughing.

“I never dreamt I’d go to any of these places that I’d only ever seen on TV before,” she says. “The poorer the people we encountered, the more generous and friendly they were to us.”

Although Paraic is already planning his next sailing adventure, Myra is looking forward to settling back into their home and spending time with family. “I would definitely recommend the experience, no matter what age you are, but I missed home and I’m glad to be back on Irish soil.”

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