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Peter Pan Lyric Theatre

Enda is paddling his own canoe

By Máirtín Ó Muilleoir

Journey to the Edge by Enda O’Coineen, £14, Ballpoint Press

Book Review
By Máirtín Ó Muilleoir

Enda O’Coineen has lived a life of extremes.
From businessman behind the Iron Curtain to Sunday Business Post owner, his approach is characterised by one indelible characteristic: he likes to paddle his own canoe.
Those given to radical even reckless adventuring are often dismissed as head-bangers, and, to be fair, the Galway native, does his own share of self-deprecating doubting of his own sanity.
The reality, however, is far different: you don’t achieve the stellar success of the man who set up the first stock exchange in Prague or lead a successful investment fund without being a canny judge of human nature and a shrewd assessor of risk.
Indeed, it’s the management of risk which forms the theme of Journey to the Edge, the intrepid entrepreneur’s account of his dangerous but liberating single-handed circumnavigation of the globe. O’Coineen has the ultimate dinner table boast – more people have been to the moon than have sailed around the world (that’s sailed as in you don’t use the engine unless in cataclysmic peril).
This lonesome boatman’s ticket to sail came in the form of the Vendée Globe, the effectively year-long, round-the-world yacht race in which there is as much focus on finishing as in winning.
It’s a risky business sailing into the tempest and braving both elements and unwelcome contact at night or in fog from fellow-vessels from military warships to cruise liners — one of which turned around at the insistence of worried passengers to check on the safety of our hero in his tiny skiff.
Replete with end-of-chapter tips and an introduction by President Higgins, Journey to the Edge is a lively and luminating read; the perfect companion to his ’90s business-primer memoir, The Unsinkable Entrepreneur.
Now that he’s at the wheel of the Sunday Business Post — reborn as the Business Post at the weekend — O’Coineen is sure to have many adventures ahead, both on the high seas and on terra firma.
Let’s leave the last word then with this Irish-speaking voyager proud to be flying the flag for the great seafaring nation of Ireland: “In a bizarre way, after achieving my sailing goal and dream, I can now set new horizons and get real joy, satisfaction and fulfilment in helping others achieve theirs. While in the process…my life was on hold and now I feel lucky to be starting the rest of it. This is about goals, visions and horizons. Without these, little would happen.”

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