Solo but not alone – Sean McGowan’s epic story

first_imgEmail Atlantic Ocean rower Sean McGowan recalls his time at sea – Andrew Carey meets the man who spent 118 days crossing the AtlanticIT IS the job of every journalist to find the “hook” in a story – defined as the most interesting part of a tale or the piece of text that will capture the imagination of the reader and ultimately keep them interested in what you are writing about. The thing about Sean McGowan’s story is that everything is interesting. Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Words such as determination, pride and achievement are all associated with the mammoth task that Sean McGowan finally undertook at the beginning of this year. After four weeks of delays, Sean took Tess, the boat in which he would row into the history books with, and crossed the Atlantic Ocean. He did it alone and without the assistance of another soul, Tess did it under the guidance of her owner. “I had an Irish flag on the boat, my Shannon oars to row, but Limerick in my heart. This makes me very proud,” his words, not mine.After 118 days, one hour and 14 long minutes, Sean made history and rowed in to English Harbour in Antigua and into the hearts and minds of the many fans and well wishers from his native Limerick city.In a glowing tribute at a Mayoral reception held in the offices of Mayor Kevin Kiely,  Sean’s fellow Farranshone man honoured the achievement and noted that more people have stepped on the moon than rowed solo across the Atlantic Ocean. “A record breaking oarsman who must have been possessed to take on such a task and the show of sheer determination carried you on. You are proud of Limerick, but Limerick is very proud of you – very very proud”.Just days after he arrived home from his adventures, Sean was bestowed life membership at Shannon Rowing Club as his club acknowledged his achievement. It was the first of a city’s recognition for its latest and greatest hero. The Mayor, in his address to the gathered family and friends, said that Sean was befitting of other higher honours that the city could bestow, and that the council would be sure to discuss it in the coming weeks. But what of the man that rowed an ocean – an Irishman, a Limerickman and one of our own? What of the man that after five days was thrown from his boat by a rogue wave, endured technical failures that befell both man and boat including the failings of his watermaker, and as days 20, 21 and 22 rolled by with their storm fronts battering both man and machine? What of this man? There is a selfless determination that must be ingrained in any human to keep going while all around you is just as determined to fail. “I had a dream to row an Ocean, that’s what I wanted to do.”Sean said that the experience gave him something else that he didn’t really expect. “Walking through the streets people have been stopping me and congratulating me and I didn’t expect any of that, that’s overwhelming. This has made me very humble and when you are out there and face the elements and you think that they are going to beat you, a couple of times you think you are not going to get out of it and it makes you think quite a bit, it makes you think about your family and that makes you very humble. I got a call from the President’s office already and the Mayor has paid tribute to me with a reception. I’m really honoured by all of this”.Sean added that he has treasured and enjoyed his time at home and indeed, every moment with his wife and children since his return. “My journey didn’t end until I got to Cork Airport and I could finally get home to see my family”. With three days to go in his race to the finish, Sean told this reporter via satellite phone, that he was “fed up”. He had endured over one hundred days of rowing that had brought more hardship than many will ever endure and hit every personal hurdle along the way of his solo voyage. But something made him keep going. “There’s times you think about it {calling for assistance}, day five when I was thrown from the boat, the storms on days 20 and 21, but at the time you just take it on board and get on with business. You make sure you are OK and you continue on. Afterwards, you think about it but at the time you just have to keep going. I knew I was never going to give up. A couple of times I thought that this was really bad, but I was never going to give up”. As Sean stood on the pier under the towering structure of Shannon Boat Club, tanned, weather beaten with sun-bleached hair, but Limerick through and through, you could see in his eyes that he was never going to give up – not for one second.“I thought that if I could just get one more hour rowing, I’d be OK. I’d do that and if I thought about giving up again I’d say to do just one more hour. That went one for days and weeks”. Sean also said that reading the text messages of support that Lorraine would type out and send to the satellite phone were a source of huge inspiration. But it was the physical strain on body as well as mind that is most notable with the 42-year-old. Dropping close to 1/3 his body weight over the duration of his time at sea, Sean still had the “claw hand” evident as movement in both his hands was restricted to resemble that of a claw – slightly curled and closed. “I still have it but I’ve an appointment to have my hands looked at later in the week. I can’t scratch my ears or anything like that. Thankfully, everything else has come back. I’m no longer wobbling on my feet and I’m beginning to put on weight again”.With food a major concern for many of the rowers, one race participant accepted the assistance of the race organisers by getting an additional 30 days of rations for the end of his race, Sean is thankful of both taste and quantity of food available since his return to land.“Most of my time has been spent eating since I came back, I started out weighing 87 kilos and I finished the race weighing just 66,” with Sean’s wife Lorraine quipping, “I can’t keep him in food at the moment”. Back to Sean: “The taste sensation has been fantastic given the rations I have had, and food has been the one major pastime over the last few days”. He has no immediate plans to take on another challenge, but said that the next one is “going to take a bit of planning and something to think about”.That was man, but what of machine? Sean said that his boat would take a little longer to come home than he did. “Tess is being shipped back to Southampton and I will go and collect her in six weeks. I really want to take her to some of the schools that supported me through the Shout for Sean campaign as well as some of my old schools. And as for a resting place for Tess? “Tess will go for sale. Right now the credit union think that Tess has four wheels underneath her. So Tess is for sale as I better pay off that loan. Sean was quick to point out that the basis behind his row was to support the Soweto Connection – a Limerick based charity set up to assist development in South Africa. “We have raised over €20,000 from schools, a lot of individuals and one or two businesses and I think that is fantastic in the kind of climate that we are in. That money is going to go to build at least one compound in the township and allow the mums to come in and do a bit of work, earn a bit of money and their kids will get fed. They are the mums that can’t work as they have AIDS. It’s going to bring a huge benefit to those people and more importantly, it goes in once and no more money will be required after that.”Sean added that he will return to the water, but for now, “I’ll stick to running or maybe a bit on the bike.” Linkedin WhatsApp Twitter Facebookcenter_img Advertisement NewsLocal NewsSolo but not alone – Sean McGowan’s epic storyBy admin – May 13, 2010 1660 Print Previous articleLee still has a world title dreamNext articleLimerick FC denied chance to play Barcelona adminlast_img read more

February rains

first_imgFebruary brought copious rain to most of Georgia, drastically reducing drought conditions in all but the southeast corner of the state. Cloudy conditions associated with the rain kept temperatures near or below normal for the month.While final rainfall reports from across the state are not all in yet, February 2013 is likely to be one of the wettest Februarys on record for Georgia. Due to the wet conditions across most of the state, drought conditions were significantly reduced everywhere except in far southeast Georgia, where drought conditions persisted due to the lower rainfall. At the beginning of February, 12 percent of Georgia was in exceptional drought and 44 percent of the state was in extreme drought. Both of those categories of drought were completely eliminated by the end of the month due to the heavy rains, although some lingering longer-term drought conditions were still noted. The wet weather was caused by a front that stalled over central Georgia, concentrating rainfall from numerous passing low-pressure centers along a line through southern Georgia. The only areas of the state that received less than their normal amount of rainfall were the areas right along the Florida line on the Atlantic coast and the far northern counties, which were very wet in January before the nearly stationary front sagged south. The highest monthly total precipitation reported by National Weather Service stations was 12.87 inches in Macon (8.51 inches above normal), and the lowest recorded amount was in Brunswick, with 3.77 inches (0.30 inches above normal). Athens received 6.36 inches (21.88 above normal), Atlanta received 7.50 inches (2.83 above normal), Savannah received 9.75 inches (6.96 above normal), Columbus received 12.47 inches (8.03 above normal), Alma received 9.54 inches (5.74 above normal) and Augusta received 9.40 inches (5.48 inches above normal). Monthly records were set in Columbus, where the monthly precipitation reached 12.47 inches, surpassing the city’s 1961 record of 9.41 inches. In Macon, the city’s 1929 record for February precipitation, 12.04 inches, was broken with 12.87 inches of rain. Savannah also set a new monthly record of 9.75 inches, surpassing the 1874 record of 9.71 inches. A number of daily rainfall records were also set in February. The highest single-day rainfall reported by a Community Collarborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network station was 5.62 inches near Valdosta in Lowndes County on Feb. 25. Two other observers near Valdosta reported over 5 inches and a number of other nearby observers reported over 4 inches on the same day. The highest monthly total rainfall reported by a network station was 19.01 inches, observed east of Putney in Dougherty County. Another observer west of Sylvester in Worth County reported recording 18.87 inches of rainfall. Sixty-nine other CoCoRaHS observers reported more than 10 inches in February. An observer in Hiawassee in Towns County reported 4.0 inches of snow on Feb. 3, and a number of other observers in the northern part of Georgia reported snow on either that day or Feb. 19. While farmers welcome the end of drought conditions, February’s excessive rain made it hard for some farmers to prepare their fields. Localized flooding was seen in many places. Several rural school systems in southern Georgia had to close for one or two days because flooded roads made travel treacherous. The wet soils have delayed field preparation and planting of greenhouse plants but have also recharged aquifers, boosting prospects for a good growing season if farmers are able to plant soon. With all of the rain and clouds, February saw temperatures that were slightly cooler than normal. In Atlanta, the monthly average temperature was 46.6 degrees F (0.6 degrees below normal), in Athens 45.2 degrees (2.0 degrees below normal), Columbus 51.2 degrees (0.1 degrees above normal), Macon 48.4 degrees (1.6 below normal), Savannah 53.1 degrees (0.1 above normal), Brunswick 56.7 degrees (2.2 above normal), Alma 53.9 degrees (0.3 below normal) and Augusta 47.6 degrees (1.5 below normal). Isolated severe weather was observed on Feb. 12, 24, and 25, but no significant damage was reported from these storms.last_img read more

Hector Bellerin will only sign new Arsenal deal if Mikel Arteta delivers on improvement

first_img Comment Coral BarrySunday 31 May 2020 12:46 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link1.9kShares Advertisement Advertisement Hector Bellerin will only sign new Arsenal deal if Mikel Arteta delivers on improvement Bellerin has been at Arsenal since he was 16 (Picture: Getty)Hector Bellerin remains committed to Arsenal, but will reportedly only sign a new long-term deal if he sees sustained improvement in performances.Mikel Arteta has been tasked with rejuvenating Arsenal and Bellerin is considered a vital figure in the squad as one of the longest serving players at the club.Bellerin has repeatedly been linked with moves away from Arsenal with Serie A duo Inter Milan and Juventus the latest clubs to be eyeing up a move for the right-back.ESPN claim Bellerin is not thinking about a move at the moment and has three years left on his deal.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTBellerin is completely onboard with Arteta’s vision for the future, but wants to see the targeted improvement on the pitch and in results.Arsenal are ninth in the Premier League table ahead of the restart of the 2019/20 season and appear set to miss out on Champions League football again.Bellerin penned a six-and-a-half year deal in 2016, but he will only agree to sign another long-term contract if Arteta delivers on his promises. Bellerin has three years left on his deal (Picture: Getty)The first-team squad will get a 12.5 per cent pay cut if they fail to qualify for the Champions League.As Arsenal’s Professional Footballers’ Association representative, Bellerin played a key role in convincing the squad to take a wage deduction amid the coronavirus pandemic.Bellerin is Arsenal’s second longest serving player having joined the Gunners youth academy as a 16-year-old in 2011. Arsenal players are gearing up for a return to action on 17 June when they will take on Manchester City.MORE: The astonishing total cost of David Luiz’s transfer from Chelsea to Arsenal revealedMORE: Dennis Bergkamp let’s Mikel Arteta know where he has been going wrong at ArsenalFollow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more stories like this, check our sport page.last_img read more

Deadly crashes erupt in Cote d’Ivoire

first_imgDeadly clashes erupted in several towns on Thursday in Cote d’IvoireOne elderly man was killed and several injured in the unrest that saw police fire teargas to disperse protesters.Several homes and cars were also reportedly set on fire. Deadly clashes erupted in several towns on Thursday in Cote d’Ivoire, in the first major outbreak of unrest ahead of next month’s presidential poll. The protests were called by opposition groups a day after the Constitutional Council announced the 10 contenders, after the incumbent Alassane announced candidature for October’s presidential poll along with nine others. Big is Beautiful in Cote D’Ivoire Related Cote d’Ivoire Prime minister praises China contributions to Africa Investigations underway following deadly Cote d’Ivoire attacklast_img read more

Syracuse fails to take set, loses to Pittsburgh

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Pittsburgh handed Syracuse its third straight loss in a tightly contested, three-set match.After losing to Louisville on Friday, the Orange (8-15, 1-10 Atlantic Coast) scored more than 20 points in all three sets versus Pittsburgh (19-4, 7-3) but failed to notch a set victory in Fitzgerald Field House on Saturday afternoon. SU struggled offensively, as only outside hitter Silvi Uattara recorded double-digit kills. SU didn’t lead in the match until the first point in the third.The Panthers steadily racked up points in the beginning of the first set, allowing SU to hold serve only twice while jumping out to a 15-9 lead. The Orange proved resilient, winning 10 out of the next 15 points to make the score 20-19.A Pitt kill was followed by two Panther attack errors, tying the set at 21. However, two Pitt kills combined with two Uattara attack errors to give Pittsburgh the set, 25-21.The second set showed much of the same, as Pitt rallied to a 20-12 lead. Again, the Orange was able to make a comeback attempt, winning seven of the next nine.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAfter Pitt got to set point, SU pulled within one on a Monika Salkute block. On the next point, setter Gosia Wlaszczuk made a ball-handling error, giving Pitt the set, 25-23.SU got its first lead of the match in the third set, winning the first point. The Orange promptly gave up the lead, but never let the Panthers lead by more than five.Facing set point, 24-21, SU won four straight points on Pitt attack errors to take a 25-24 lead. Two Pitt kills preceded a Stacey Smith attack error that gave Pittsburgh the set, 27-25, and the match, 3-0.Compiled by staff writer Jack Rose, [email protected] Comments Published on November 2, 2014 at 7:14 pmlast_img read more

Ryan relishing prospect of clash with Cats

first_imgKilkenny manager Brian Cody believes Tipperary have a very talented panel.He also thinks this year’s final could be a great game.Tipp FM will have live commentary on the match this Sunday afternoon.  Our build-up to the game – which gets underway at 3.30 – begins at 3 o’clock. Coverage will be brought to you in association with Mulcahy Car Sales, Ardcroney, Nenagh. The Upperchurch-Drombane club man will hope to lead the Premier County to their first title since 2010.The counties last met in the final two years ago – it took a replay for the Cats to claim the Liam MacCarthy Cup.The Tipp boss is full of admiration for the side his players will do battle against on Sunday.last_img

Scolari bans Brazil World Cup 2014 stars from ‘acrobatic sex’

first_imgBrazilian national team manager Luis Felipe Scolari has told the press that he is concerned about his players getting injured in the bedroom.Scolari says he would like his players to keep their sexual activity on the tame side during the lead up to the World Cup:”The players can have normal sex during the World Cup. Usually normal sex is done in a balanced way but some like to perform acrobatics. We will put limits and survey the players.”The former Chelsea boss insists while he is happy for his squad to indulge in a little loving away from the pressures of attempting to win the trophy on home soil, he will be watching out for anything ‘too acrobatic’.This advice seemed like fair, if odd, until Scolari hinted they will be attempting to monitor the players extracurricular activities, which seems as difficult as it is creepy.last_img read more