Self-taught and with a very strong character, the Irishman, Enda O’Coineen will definitely be one of the attractions in the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe. And not just because he will be the first Irishman to take part in the Vendée Globe. This colourful character is a strong emblem of the Irish fighting spirit and taste for adventure. Enda O’Coineen has had a successful business career, creating the first business networks in the former Eastern bloc countries just after the Berlin Wall came down. But he is also one of the creators of Ireland’s famous sailing magazine, Afloat. In his youth, he crossed the Atlantic on an inflatable boat, just to prove to his boss – who manufactured what we now refer to as RIBs – that it could be done. Among a host of other facets to this unusual character, we can add that Enda O’Coineen was both the founder of the Atlantic Youth Trust, an educational programme taking hundreds of youngsters each year on board classic yachts, and President of the International Federation of Irish Pubs.
In 2015, Enda O’Coineen amazed everyone, when he made it to the podium of the St Barth-Port La Forêt transatlantic race on an IMOCA (he finished third). It is clear that the Irishman is an excellent sailor and is far from being unknown in the world of ocean racing. In particular, he has sailed on one-design boats and on Maxis. He was in fact behind the Irish project in the crewed race around the world, the Whitbread, in 1987. He was also one of the leading lights behind the Green Dragon project in the Volvo Ocean Race, two decades later. He also fought hard for Galway, his home town in Connacht, to host the finish of the Volvo Ocean Race. In this Vendée Globe, he would like firstly to complete the round the world voyage. He has what it takes to do just that aboard a very good boat.