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Commander Bill King and the ‘Galway Blazer’

Fifty years ago, in 1973, Bill King of Oranmore Castle completed a three-year world circumnavigation aboard the Galway Blazer II.  To mark this significant event in Galway’s maritime history, Galway City Museum will today unveil a new display of objects and memorabilia linked to King’s voyage.


Born William Donald Aelian King in Hampshire, England, King served as a British submarine captain during the second world war, 1939 to 1945. His great-grandfather, William King (1809–1886) had served as professor of natural history, geology and mineralogy at Queen’s College, Galway. Having married Anita Leslie in 1949, he settled in Oranmore Castle, near Galway.

In 1968, aged 58, he was the oldest competitor in the Sunday Times’ Golden Globe Race, the first non-stop, single-handed yacht race around the world via the five great capes. The race length was approximately 30,000 miles. After two aborted attempts, he completed the circumnavigation under the Irish tricolour on 23 May 1973, aged 62.


Photo Gallery

All photographs are courtesy of Leonie Finn.


Look out for the new display in the museum foyer!

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