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Evan O’Dwyer and Ellen Drewitt from St Joseph's Primary School at ChildVision, Drumcondra pictured with Gary ‘Ted’ Sargent wet at the launch of the One Wild Ride.
Evan O’Dwyer and Ellen Drewitt from St Joseph's Primary School at ChildVision, Drumcondra pictured with Gary ‘Ted’ Sargent wet at the launch of the One Wild Ride.
Image: Maxwell Photography

This man is about to set sail around Ireland ... in a dinghy

He’s raising funds for ChildVision, the national education centre for blind children.
May 14th 2016, 9:00 AM 10,896 16

HAVE YOU ANY plans for the day? Gary ‘Ted’ Sargent is going to have a very active Saturday. In fact, he’ll have a very active month.

Today marks the start of his journey around the Irish coast … in a 13-foot dinghy – which is about the size of two bathtubs.

Sargent is due to set off on his 1,500km journey from Schull in Co Cork today. If everything goes to plan, he will arrive back in Schull in a few weeks.

So, why’s he doing this? Sargent hopes to raise €100,000 for ChildVision, the national education centre for blind children. (There just over €8,000 in the kitty so far.)

Speaking to TheJournal.ie before he set off on his journey, Sargent said he chose the organisation for a number of reasons.

“I wanted someone who would say ‘Let’s work together on this’, rather than ‘Here’s a logo, see you at the end, you’ll be grand.’ There are lot of great causes out there, sometimes you see the same ones mentioned again and again.

“In the face of funding cuts, ChildVision is working flat out to fulfil their promise to meet the individual needs of every child in their service. Every single punishing mile of this challenge will be raising money for them.”

13116388_278638172469055_1321810853290136064_o Source: Facebook

Sargent, who is taking leave from his job to complete the trip, has met children and young people who use ChildVision’s services a number of times.

The children and everyone involved using the service pay no heed to whether they are blind or have cerebral palsy or are visually impaired on top of other things … it’s not what they lack, it’s what they have.

Sargent will film the journey, which has been dubbed One Wild Ride, so people can follow his progress online.

80km/day

The trip is expected to take between 25 and 40 days, with Sargent covering between 40 and 80 kilometres a day, depending on the weather and sea conditions.

So, with all this in mind, it’s safe to assume Sargent is an adept sailor, yes?

I’m either a pretty good sailor or a mad eejit, probably somewhere between the two. I joke that in my family even the dog had a life jacket.

Even in perfect conditions, progress will be slow, with the dinghy capable of six knots – the equivalent of 11km/hour.

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A support boat will shadow him on the journey to make sure he stays safe and is aware of real-time weather and sea conditions. He will be able to cook and sleep on the boat too.

1,500 Kilometre Challenge Will Be ‘One Wild Ride’Epic Fundra Georgia Byrne from St Joseph's Pre-School at ChildVision, Drumcondra and Gary ‘Ted’ Sargent at the launch of the One Wild Ride. Source: PIC: NO FEE

Ruth Hickey, ChildVision’s head of fundraising, said the charity is “delighted” with the fundraising effort.

With a challenge like this our first concern was always safety. Ted has outlined the enormous precautions he has taken including a successful test run in worse weather two months ago.

ChildVision, which was formerly known as St Joseph’s Centre for the Visually Impaired, has been providing support to families across Ireland since the 1950s.

The charity is dedicated to the education and therapy needs of blind and disabled children. More information about its services can be read here.

To support One Wild Ride, click here.

Read: ‘An utter warrior’: Cork family appeals for little girl to be allowed use cannabis-based medicine

Read: Eye exams for schoolchildren have been cut by the HSE

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Órla Ryan

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