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Sailing south for global odyssey

Sailing south for global odyssey

Áine Ryan

IT is her first real opportunity to order her Dad about, so 32-year-old Audrey Adamson intends to take full advantage of the situation. She knows though that her father, long-time Westport dentist Joe McGovern, will be an excellent crew member; after all she  has been sailing the wild waters of the Mayo Atlantic with him since she was a toddler. Later, Audrey would hone her sea-legs at Mayo Sailing Club, skippering her first yacht offshore aged just 19.
Of course, Joe will only be ‘Ay Aying’ to the First Mate of super-yacht Lush for the first leg of its circumnavigation of the globe. But since Audrey’s husband, Paul Adamson, is the skipper, the onward voyage from their first port-of-call at the Canaries to the real starting point at Antigua, will continue to be somewhat of a family affair.
Like in true Mayo pirate queen style, the love of seafaring was passed down through Audrey’s paternal grandmother, Ella Gill, who loved nothing better than to decamp to relatives on Island More, in Clew Bay, for the summer season.
Newport native, Audrey (McGovern) Adamson is about to realise a dream of a lifetime and sail around the world on Lush, the flagship of the Oyster World Rally. The Oyster brand is like the Rolls Royce of yachts and the flotilla will include about 30 yachts of varying sizes.
Recently she hung up her dentist’s coat and put away her drills and masks, setting off for Southampton port late last week to prepare the brand new 90-foot super-yacht for its circumnavigation, which will begin in the Caribbean, after Christmas. The Mayo News, however, managed to say Bon Voyage to the busy sailor at the family home in Newport, just before she left.
“When I applied to do dentistry, I said I had two ambitions – one was to be a dentist and the other was to sail around the world. Well, I have worked as a dentist now for several years, the last six of which have been at a general practise in Blackrock, Co Dublin. Regarding the sailing around the world dream, I had various options: hitch-hike on a boat that was doing a trip; become a crew member on a racing boat; or work as a professional on a super-yacht,” she explains.
Audrey happens to be married to a professional sailor, whom she met some years ago while – coincidentally – in Antigua on a sailing trip to the Caribbean.
“When he was asked to captain the Lush, it didn’t take me long to apply for the job of First Mate! We’ll have two other professional crew aboard, as well as up to four guests at any one time. Over the coming weeks we will be preparing the boat, stocking it with provisions, making the spares list, getting the medical kit ready. There’s also a lot of logistics to plan. We hope to head off for Antigua around November 5, stopping off in the Canaries to carry out more preparations. Once the hurricane season is over then we will set off on the next leg around November 25,” she says.
They plan to spend Christmas on Antigua or the British Virgin Islands and then meet up with the rest of the flotilla. After that it is a 16-month odyssey across oceans and seas – stopping at Panama, Tahiti, Bali, Richards Bay, Capetown, Salvador – and finally back to Antigua in April 2014. 
“It will be lovely to return to Antigua since that is where I met Paul. I am also very excited about going to the Galapagos, Bora Bora looks pretty cool on Google Earth and we hope to be in Brazil for the carnival season. I am also looking forward to crossing the equator. The wind, of course, gets trickier around The Cape of Good Hope, where we plan to be in January 2014.”
Audrey will also take a holiday while in Australia and fly south to Sydney to spend time with a good friend who lives there.
“Of course, I will miss my families and friends. While I feel confident about a lot of my duties and love the sailing and meteorology side of things, I am a little worried about being the cook, since most of it will be done at a 45-degree angle. My mum has been giving me lots of tips though. She says the main thing is to plan ahead and keep the meals simple.”
One person Audrey will not be missing is her husband, Paul.
She grins widely when she says: “When I want a break from Paul, I will have to climb the mast, I suppose!”

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