Archive for the 'Adventure' Category

Official Sponsorship Announcement: Backs Team In Round Ireland Yacht Race

Daft Media Group has today announced plans to sponsor a racing boat in this
year’s Round Ireland Yacht Race. Daft will be backing blind adventurer Mark
Pollock and Air Corps pilot Mick Liddy, in their bid to make offshore
sailing history as the first double-handed crew, with one blind member, to
compete in the Round Ireland Yacht Race.

Daft joined forces with Mark Pollock last year, when he came on board as
Daft’s brand ambassador, spearheading the company’s expansion into Northern
Ireland. Daft has achieved rapid growth in Northern Ireland, signing up 85%
of agents’ properties on the website in less than 6 months.

This summer however, Mark’s focus will switch to a different kind of
challenge and with the support of, Mark will be sailing 1,400km
around Ireland, for 6 days non-stop.

Commenting on the sponsorship, Mark said, “Securing a sponsor in these
challenging economic times is very difficult and we feel extremely lucky to
have the Daft brand behind us. For me, this competition is going to be the
most challenging yet, as I will be operating the boat in two-hour shifts for
the duration of the race. Unlike my previous challenges, I’ll be completely
unguided. Having the support and backing of a sponsor like means
that I can focus entirely on the training and the race, knowing I have the
Daft team right behind me.”

David Garland, Sales Director, Daft Media Group said, “I truly admire Mark
as an individual and the manner in which he approaches every challenge he
takes on. His commitment and determination to succeed is an inspiration to
us all. We’re delighted to be in a position to be able to support and
sponsor Mark and Mick in this high-profile sailing event.”

The Round Ireland Yacht Race, now in its 30th year, takes place on June 20th
2010. Mark Pollock and Mick Liddy will sail double-handed in a
high-performance Class 40 racing yacht against Ireland’s top offshore
sailing teams.

Team Daft’s race preparation and progress can be followed on Facebook
(, Twitter ( and the Team
Daft Blog (

(More over the fold)

Continue reading ‘Official Sponsorship Announcement: Backs Team In Round Ireland Yacht Race’

Team Daft on the silver screen

We’ve been working away on the Team Daft Round Ireland Yacht Race challenge, and as well as ticking the admin boxes, we’ve had some practical stuff to do too.

Mick has been showing me the ropes, literally, in a 1720. I’ve found that helming upwind is no problem, there is a gentle tug on the tiller that lets you know when you’re hitting the right angles. Downwind, I need more verbal cues as there is less feel on the tiller, so the boat isn’t ‘telling me’ much about what’s going on. We’re working with technology experts to deal with that problem.

We also had the small matter of the Sea Survival Course to deal with, which went well and allows us to go into the offshore phases of this project with plenty of confidence that we can deal with the worst, should it occur. All the while, we’ve had Markham Nolan looking over our shoulder, and he’s put together this video detailing our progress to date.

Keep an eye out for us on the following channels:

Team Daft campaign gaining momentum

Things are moving quickly on on two fronts now with the latest adventure – Team Daft’s attempt to sail off-shore for up to 6 days non-stop in the Round Ireland Yacht Race.

On the sailing side, we’re making progress.

Time on the water has given us an understanding of what navigation information I’ll need to sail the boat blind when Mick is down below sleeping. This has and remains a serious challenge as there are no standard solutions for blind sailors racing off-shore. But it looks like we might have found a solution via a software engineer in Dublin who is also an expert in marine technology. I need all of the boat’s navigation equipment to speak the information out loud so I can sail the boat alone. We don’t have it sorted yet but we’re a hell of a lot closer than we were last week!

And then there’s the small matter of a boat! Mick has been in complete control of this part of the project and we’re closing in on a boat that fits his safety, performance and availability criteria. This is an area which I have no expertise in and, through Mick, I’ve been learning about the yacht charter industry.

We need a Class 40 as it is ideal for double handed crews (i.e. boats with only 2 people aboard as opposed to the normal 6 to 10 of a crew) and it isn’t as easy as renting a car for the weekend. The boats are worth in the region of €250k and they are not always available due to being in different parts of the world or already booked for alternative races. But it looks like we’ve secured one…fingers crossed.

But now to the business of sport…

Mick and I are only in a position to take on this challenge after having secured a sponsor – the property website It simply would not have happened without them and this is where business and sport collide. For Mick and I with our co-skipper hats on we are completely focused on safety and performance in the race. From Daft’s point of view they are a business and must be focused on building their brand, engaging with clients and securing new business. But it is where these two worlds collide where I operate my business.

For me, this is not just about the race and it is not just a one off transaction. I earn my living from taking on challenges and making them happen. If I don’t deliver for the people who support me then I lose credibility and my personal brand is useless. This is not just a sponsorship deal, it is my career and name that I’m gambling with.

And so, at the interface between business and sport there is an explosion of activity to make it happen. Team Daft isn’t just myself and Mick – Team Daft is the adventurers, the sponsors, the marketiers, the technical experts, the supporters, the other competitors, the race organisers, the journalists, the social media communities, the families, friends and   the others who live it day to day. This is about a collision of passionate people to produce  results and momentum is starting to build…

Keep an eye out for us on the following channel:

i am starting to experiment with audio blogs…check out my first attempt from a recording on my phone

Life on the high seas

29th May Galway Volvo Ocean Race

The sun was splitting the trees, music was playing and everyone was
delighted with the prospect of a four day weekend. The Volvo Ocean
Race had come to Galway. I have just started to do a series of radio
reports on adventure sports with a view to getting involved in radio presenting, and I couldn’t think of a better place to come to in Ireland.

A marina that is normally filled with nondescript oil tankers had
transformed itself in a few days to a millionaire’s hideout. A dozen
world class yachts all lined the marina, each costing in the region of
20 million euro. Schoolchildren and their teachers were being escorted
on tours as other people sat with a beer and pretended they were in
Cannes for the day.

Having gone to the South Pole with a huge team behind me, I was
intrigued at the dynamic behind a successful yacht team. Luckily, I
got to go to the top. Ericsson 4 came into Galway with a pretty
unassailable lead. They have a 13 point gap over their nearest rivals.
I got to catch up with two brothers on the yacht, Guy and Jules

When you think of yachting, the first thing that springs to mind is
the glamour. Yet Guy and Jules were quick to dispel the myths. A few
months ago in Alicante, they were forced to say goodbye to their
families for at least 8 months. They live in cramped conditions below
deck eating pre-hydrated meals trying to snatch any sleep they can.

For both men, it seems to be a vocation. Similarly, sometimes I can’t
explain what drove me to go to the South Pole. Guy and Jules sometimes
have to question themselves when they are locked in their own watery
prison. They are battered by icy waves relentlessly, leaving no time
for reprieve. In a true test of man against nature, the only thing you
can rely on is your team. Ericsson 4 have a huge team behind onshore,
constantly working to enable things go smoothly and I was able to
catch up with two more interesting people before the day ended.

In the South Pole I was lucky to be supplied with some incredible kit
from Helly Hansen. When you’re out in such a harsh environment,
clothes become some of your primary tools of survival. I was able to
meet two Norwegian designers from Helly Hansen who supply Ericsson 4.
The one thing that sticks in my mind is when they talked about the
sailors facing a wall of sea everyday. It was such a vivid metaphor
that brought the whole experience alive for me. The guys at Helly
Hansen have to listen to the sailor’s every need. If they get their
equipment wrong, it really could be a matter of life and death.

After a whirlwind of interviews, I came out of Galway with a barrage
of ideas and thoughts. The Volvo Ocean Race is often seen as Formula 1
on water. Why else had so many people gathered by the marina to sip
beer and take photographs? However, like many things appearances can
be deceptive and I left with an incredible admiration not only for the
sailors who risk their lives at sea, but also the relentless
commitment of their backing teams left on the shore.

Finding ‘The Feeling’ In Antarctica

Recently I completed one of the toughest challenges that I have ever faced and I wish I could bottle the feeling. After nearly 1,000 kilometres of man-hauling sledges, surviving at temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees and racing against five other teams I arrived with my team-mates Simon O’Donnell and Inge Solheim at the South Pole.

For me, the feeling of satisfaction was incredible but I think it only came because the lows were so desperately bad. You can listen to an audio interview from the South Pole here.

Since I got back life has been an exciting roller-coaster of parties, media interviews and I’ve even got a part in a feature film playing a blind guy (possibly a slight stereotype eh?!). But now that my fingers have thawed out and I can type again I am starting this new blog to replace our race site at where my blogs have been going for the last year.

So far, I seem to have found “the feeling” through sport. But I meet other people all the time in all sorts of strange places who have it. This blog will be about “the feeling”, wherever it appears…


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