First Ever Irish “Vendée Globe” Team Announced


The Irish team to compete in the non-stop race was revealed in Paris

For the first time since the inception of the famous race in 1989, a team representing Ireland will compete in the Vendée Globe race. It’s the only single-handed non-stop round-the-world sailing race in existence (the Velux Oceans 5 race is run in stages).

There has been plenty of excited talk within Irish racing circles in recent months but it was all finally confirmed at a ceremony yesterday (May 11th) at the Irish Embassy in Paris.

Adventurer and entrepreneur Enda O’Coineen will be skippering Team Ireland Vendée Globe Challenge, starting on 6 November.

Enda O'Coineen, who will be skippering the Team Ireland challenge, which kicks off from Les Sables d'Olonne on the 6th of November, 2016

Enda O’Coineen, who will be skippering the Team Ireland challenge, which sets sail from Les Sables d’Olonne on the 6th of November, 2016

On the 11th of May in the prestigious Irish Embassy in Paris, Team Ireland was joined by French and Irish business interests, kindly hosted by Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason for this historic announcement. Never before has an Irish person entered or qualified for what is considered to be the toughest sailing race in the world. Enda completed the qualification last December by taking a podium position in the Ocean Masters transatlantic race from the Caribbean to France.

Team Ireland Vendée Globe Challenge has been created to enable future aspirational sailors to utilize the expertise, infrastructure, and value created by the campaign. It also draws on the legacy of the Green Dragon, the Volvo Ocean Race, and the Whitbread Race. A Partner network of sponsors is being invited to support the Team, which will also promote Ireland’s Atlantic youth Trust charity.

Former Derry Clipper Skipper Seán McCarter, who has his sights set on the Vendée Globe 2020, is lined up as the Reserve Skipper for the current Challenge, as is Irish solo sailor and wunderkind Dave Kenefick from Cork – an accomplished Figaro sailor. Ireland’s Marcus Hutchinson is the Project Director bringing a wealth of Volvo and Americas Cup experience to the Team.

Team Ireland will be racing on board the Owen Clarke designed Kilcullen Voyager, formerly skippered by Mike Golding. She is currently undergoing a refit in France ahead of a busy programme leading up to the race start.

Enda O’Coineen is a successful businessman, adventurer, author, and sailor. From early adventures crossing the Atlantic alone in an experimental inflatable life-raft to more recently finishing on the podium in a transatlantic race on board Team Ireland’s IMOCA 60, Enda is a highly experienced sailor. Learn more at

Team Ireland Promotional Video

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Team Ireland:

1. Enda O’Coineen – Founder & Skipper
2. Marcus Hutchinson – Project Director
3. Sean McCarter – Reserve Skipper
4. Dave Kenefick – Reserve Skipper

Official Charity Partner:
Official Race Website:

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