Limerick sailor’s first week on the Voyage of Madmen

Pat Lawless at Limerick Riverfest earlier this year.

LIMERICK sailor Pat Lawless has started his 30,000 nautical mile challenge to become the first Irish person to complete the legendary Golden Globe Race.

Pat, who now lives in Dingle where he works as a furniture maker, is among 16 international competitors attempting to sail solo around the world non-stop in an event known as the ‘Voyage for Madmen’.

Sailing his 36-foot racing yacht, Green Rebel, he will tackle some of the world’s most dangerous seas, including the treacherous Southern Ocean. Only five of the 18 competitors managed to finish the last Golden Globe Race in 2018.

Sailing is very much in his blood, as his father Pat sailed around the world over a period of three years and his brothers are also avid sailors.

This year’s race, which got under way in the French port of Les Sables d’Olonne last Sunday, is just the third Golden Globe Race in the history of the event.

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Regarded as the longest and loneliest event in world sport, competitors are not permitted to land during the race and they are not allowed to have contact with friends or family for the duration of the nine-month voyage.

In keeping with the spirit of the very first Golden Globe Yacht Race, competitors are restricted to using 1968 technology.

The race is scheduled to finish next June but Pat isn’t planning to celebrate his 67 birthday at sea on May 1 as he expects to have completed the race and to be back on dry land by then.