After spending more than two weeks at sea, Rory Hanratty from north Belfast could not wait to take a shower.
The 30-year-old from the Antrim Road area of the city was one of 25 lucky Northern Ireland volunteers who took part in the Tall Ship Atlantic Challenge.
He arrived back home yesterday after spending 16 days onboard the Capitan Miranda.
The vessel from Uruguay sailed into Belfast Harbour behind the Brazilian navy vessel, Cisne Branco.
While the official results of the competition will not be known until next week, the Capitan Miranda crossed the finish line third.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph hours after he docked back home, the IT expert who had never sailed before, said he had a brilliant time aboard the vessel, describing the trip as a once in a lifetime experience.
“It was interesting to say the least,” he said. “Initially it was difficult to get used to being onboard but after the first few days I got into the routine of it.
“It was also difficult at the beginning from a language perspective. I don’t speak much Spanish and they didn’t speak much English but it was fine in the end.”
Rory explained he spent most of his time “on watch” which proved very difficult during the early hours of the morning.
He also said it was disappointing not to win the sailing challenge on the Capitan Miranda.
For most of the race, the Uruguayan vessel led but it was pipped at the post by Cisne Branco.
“At one stage the Capitan Miranda was leading but then the weather changed,” he explained. “The weather system we got caught in was more suited to the Cisne Branco. We had to slow down and the Branco gained a 12-hour lead. It was an interesting part of the race. The whole thing revolves around the weather system and whether your vessel is suited to those types of conditions. I loved it.”
And how were his sea legs? “I actually never had a problem with sea-sickness believe it or not. I was fine.”