Name: Mox Henderson
Title: Crewboss on Catalpa
Born on High Street in Galway City in the 1950s, the sea has always been an important part of Mox Henderson’s life
Growing up, Galway Bay Sailing Club member Mox was told to stay away from the docks, that they were dangerous, and when his uncle took him for a trip on Lough Corrib, they had to be rescued by local fishermen after hitting a submerged rock. Despite his first disastrous encounter with boats however, the experience lead to a life-long interest in water activities.
“At that stage, my mother reckoned it was time to get some swimming lessons!” says Mox. He went to Blackrock to learn from the well-known Jimmy Cranny, one of founding members of Galway Swimming Club, and then went on to serve as a lifeguard in Salthill during the summer months for some years.
Mox’s interest in sailing began one night in McSwiggan’s pub in Woodquay, when owner Tommy Smyth was stuck for crew and asked Mox would he sail with him the following morning.
“So I discussed it with my wife Marian and she said, ‘Sure can’t you go with him, you won’t be long’, and after about eight hours on the water, totally smitten, I was hooked!” says Mox. He sold his motorbike and bought a catamaran, a trade welcomed by his wife who never liked the bike!
“We used to go to the events all over the country with the catamarans, and really enjoyed the sailing,” says Mox, adding that he, Tommy and Kevin O’Byrne were the last three people to circumnavigate Mutton Island.
In the late 90s Mox spotted a new type of catamaran, the Dart 16; he and Tommy bought one each, resulting in the Galway Bay Sailing Club having the biggest Dart fleet in Ireland, with 20 in total. Mox was also part of the record-breaking crew of the ‘Catalpa’ that set a finishing time of six hours, 53 minutes and 21 seconds, a record that has yet to be beaten.
“We started at 10pm and finished at 04.53.21 in the morning, setting the record that has yet to be beaten,” says Mox.
The Galway native still tries to help out at the club and other events, recently helping out with the Irish Multihull Association National Championships, which was hosted by GBSC. Over 20 catamarans took part in the event on Galway Bay and Mox was in charge of five or six safety RIBS and controlling those in the race area to keep everybody safe.
“It was rough out there though, with a lot of high seas and big winds,” Mox says. Although there were a few capsizes, everybody got back safe, having had an enjoyable weekend.
Also during the Volvo Ocean Race, Mox went out on the Monday night to meet the Volvo fleet coming in. He was also on the mark boat for the in-port race along with Jack Lloyd, the race director, and GBSC Commodore Dave Vinnell.
He then headed off to Cork Week, which takes place every two years and is renowned for yacht racing, although he insists that Galway’s hosting of the Volvo Ocean Race Finale was better than any Cork Week!
Mox’s passion for sailing has also made its way into the next generation as, having joined the GBSC the same year he first went sailing with Tommy, his daughters Sarah, Laura and Danielle have now all learned to sail by attending GBSC sail training courses and he will soon be welcoming his grandson Harry on board.