Pat set to be the first Irish person to sail non-stop around the globe

Pat Lawless at Limerick Riverfest earlier this year.

by Bernie English

A LIMERICK born man with the sea in his DNA has set sail to start his bid to be the first Irish person to sail around the world non-stop as part of the Golden Globe Race.

66-year-old former fisherman, Pat Lawless, who now lives in Kerry will the only Irish man in the race.

A sailor all his life, Pat is following in the footsteps of his late father (Pat Lawless Snr) who sailed around the world at the age of 70.

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He set sail from Crosshaven in Cork last week and is making his way to the race start point in France, via Spain.

Only 100 people have ever sailed solo non-stop around the world via the five great capes and competitors will be making the attempt using technology from the 60s and without any connection other than emergency calls for the eight months it is expected to take to complete the race.

Lonliness in the vastness of the ocean will be a challenge, Pat said before departing. He said in one interview that his time as a fisherman will stand him in good stead and dealing with a gale on a yacht will be a lot easier than working through a gale on the deck of a fishing boat.

The Golden Globe Race 2022 will begin on September 4 when 35 sailors depart Les Sables-d’Olonne in France.

Pat will be raising money for the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland as part of the race.

“I cannot wait to get started,” he said. “There have been 11 solo non-stop sailing races around the world. The first original Golden Globe Race was won by Sir Robert Knox-Johnson, an Englishman. All the other 10 races were won by the French. We need to get Ireland on this list.

“While I’m in it to win it, this race is all about survival and arrival and I believe I have the right boat and a better chance of finishing this race than most. I am delighted to have an ambitious, indigenous Irish company like Green Rebel behind me [with sponsorship], and I hope I can make them proud.”

Pat has named his boat ‘Green Rebel’ after his sponsors.

The sailors will circumnavigate 30,000 nautical miles across some of the most dangerous seas in the world.

Mr Lawless will navigate by the position of the sun using only a sextant and paper charts. Clocks must be mechanical, and there are no modern luxuries such as GPS, satellite phones, iPads, electrical auto steering and water makers. The competitors will carry all their own food, water, tools, and spare parts.