Tipperary sailor Mary Frawley
Tipperary sailor Mary Frawley is preparing to leave New Jersey this Monday on the last leg of a mammoth round the world yacht race.
Mary, who lives near the Glen of Aherlow, worked in Unviersity Hospital Limerick for a year before heading off onboard Hotelplanner.com for the Clipper Race which started in Liverpool in August 2017.
The idea of a circumnavigation has always been a dream Mary, and the 51-year-old nurse describes the Clipper Race as the adventure of a lifetime.
Mary spent much of the 1990s sailing, completing both her coastal Skipper and Yachtmaster qualifications, and also worked on the water, including six weeks as a cook and deckhand on board a prawn fishing trawler off the north coast of Australia.
Crossing the Atlantic for Derry / Londonderry might seem like a homecoming spin, but apart from the points still to be won, there are many challenges to be faced from the weather and sea conditions.
Mary's course will take her north initially and a check of the sea temperature will tell when you are getting a helping push from the Gulf Stream. A further check will tell you when it gives way to the cooler Labrador Current and the mixture in seawater often produces unpredictable fog banks.
Hotelplanner.com will then have to avoid ice packs before travelling close to the Flemish Cap, a fishing ground made famous by the book and film, The Perfect Storm.
Mary will spend 22 days at sea, covering 3,853 miles, and is expected to make land again around July 10 to July 14. In total, Mary will have sailed over 40,000 nautical miles before the race ends.
The boats and crew will stay in Derry / Londonderry for its maritime festival, departing on July 22 for the final leg to Liverpool.
Mary’s best result so far has been a first place in the Clipper 70 Class of the prestigious Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, which doubled as Race 5 of the Clipper 2017-18 Race.
Also on board her team HotelPlanner.com is April Rellis, 37, a Teacher from Waterford; Roseann McGlinchey, a 24-year-old marketing officer from Lifford; Katherine Sheehan, a 47-year-old doctor from Dublin, and skipper Conall Morrison, 36, who hails from Derry / Londonderry.