A Leamington actor is having a real life adventure of his by travelling across tens of thousands of miles of some of the world’s most treacherous seas as part of a round the globe sailing race.
Edward Gildea, 60, of Dale Street, has played leading roles in productions at the Loft Theatre - but he expects there to be even more drama during his six-month participation in the remaining four legs of the eight-leg, 16-race, ten-and-a-half-month, Clipper Round the World race.
Joining up with fellow Switzerland Team members in Brisbane on Sunday before embarking for the first part of his voyage, which will cover 4.500 nautical miles on route to Singapore, Mr Gildea said: “I’ve always done a bit of sailing since a young age and six years ago I took part in a race around Ireland.
“Like that I’m hoping for some seriously exciting sailing and some big ocean roller waves.
“There is danger involved as well though, some people have been hospitalised with broken bones already.
“I’m nervous and excited.”
Mr Gildea,an educational consultant and former teacher, saw a poster advertising the race on the London Underground in 2012 and put himself forward for an interview.
And after a three week intensive training course he was ready for the challenge - which takes place every two years.
“This is my big 60th birthday present to myself and will serve as a ‘bookend’ in my life.
“When I was 18 and 19 and had left school I did a big trek around the Middle East and like that this will be like a right of passage except this time into older age when before it was manhood.”
Desppite his past adventures Mr Gildea needed no sailing experience for the challenge, which involves 12 teams of between 16 and 20 amateurs being led by professional sailors.
Some crew members, like Mr Gildea, join parts of the race as ‘leggers’ while other ‘circumnavigators’ take part in the entire event.
When he sets foot on dry land in London in July Mr Gildea will have travelled almost 20,000 nautical miles during a peak cyclone season, hurricane force winds, the calm doldrums and a pirate zones.
Team Switzerland are currently in 6th position in the race and He said: “The team’s morale is high after they won the last race and they’re gelling together.
“The skipper is getting more confident and she’s building a great group.
“It’s going to be fun but it’ll be very tough as well.”
For more information about the race and to follow Mr Gildea’s progress with Team Switzerland, visit www.clipperroundtheworld.com