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Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee, the mixed double-handed offshore team from Dun Laoghaire and Greystones, will be on today's Rolex Fastnet Race 2021 start line as the only Irish team competing double-handed and in the Beneteau Figaro 3 Class.

One of 11 boats with Irish interest in the race, the duo are sponsored by Hanley Energy and start with IRC 1 at 1155 BST from the famous start line set from the Flag Staff at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes.

"This year looks set to be an extremely tough race, with the first few days predicted to be beating into strong wind and currents to get around Lands End before heading across the Irish Sea to the Fastnet Lighthouse. No doubt this first half of the race will put all the the crews of the 600 strong fleet to the test and certainly the double-handed, Rumball told Afloat.

This is Rumball’s fourth time competing in the 700-mile race and Lee’s second.



Published in Fastnet

The Irish Offshore Sailing team RL Sailing, sponsored by Hanley Energy, recently completed the gruelling Tour De Bretagne a La Voile. The famous race was spread across several stages over nine days, with a combination of inshore and offshore racing in the one design Beneteau Figaro 3 fleet.

RL Sailing finished with a final 24th place in the overall series and 5th in the mixed teams. The race was an opportunity for the team to learn and progress in their first season of racing doublehanded in the circuit. The intense racing that included coastal races from port to port as well as inshore and offshore battles, provided the perfect environment to test speed, tactics and manoeuvres against a closely packed fleet. The event also brought in aspects of small boat racing as every start line hotly contested with plenty of general recalls and a huge significance placed on the first upwind leg.

“This event was much more intense than we ever previously thought it would be. It really challenges you as a sailor on every level. The format of short intense races really pushed the fleet and no race was ever over. Every place and position were hard fought!” Said skipper Kenneth Rumball.

Close racing in the Tour De Bretagne a La VoileClose racing in the Tour De Bretagne a La Voile

Kenny Rumball and Pamela LeeKenny Rumball and Pamela Lee“The shorter legs in this race meant we had more opportunity for post-race discussion and analysis and the chance to try different things the next day. Our goal for this race was to learn and improve as much as possible and with the support of Hanley Energy we certainly achieved that.” continues Skipper Pamela Lee.


For RL Sailing, the Tour De Bretagne was the team’s second Figaro 3 doublehanded race having competed in the Sardinha Cup in April this year. Both races have been a completely different format and challenge, with the Sardinha Cup including a stage over 500 nautical miles and lasting five days. The next and final race on the 2021 calendar for the team is the Rolex Fastnet Cherbourg. The Figaro fleet is racing in its own class within the race, and it will once again be a completely different challenge for the team as the one-design boats will be mixed in with the larger fleet of over 500 boats from all over the world. The complexities for a bigger fleet and a one-design race within it, as well as very different sailing conditions across the Irish Sea, will make for an exciting and challenging race.

“I’m really looking forward to the next challenge of the Fastnet, it’s going to be a great opportunity to get stuck into some complex navigation and continue learning and improving, and of course representing Ireland in doublehanded offshore racing,” comments skipper Pamela Lee.

Published in Fastnet

While the Figaro fleet in Concarneau were watching the meteorological scenario go down the tubes as the start time for their Transatlantic Race approached, further south in the Bay of Biscay, at La Trinite sur Mer, Round Ireland Two-Handed record-holder Pamela Lee (32) of Greystones was one of three selected sailors who found enough of a weather window to make full use of the Leyton X Magenta Project and its Leyton Ocean Fifty Trimaran.

Leyton – whose area of international operations is in financial advice to optimise the tax situation in R & D projects - is promoting the Magenta Project to provide support for women sailors who aspire to get involved at the highest level offshore, and the Greystones sailor was selected to take part in the first module, along with Kass Schmidt (52, USA) and Cassandra Blandin (30, France).

After such an intense experience, it will take a while to fully process everything that you have taken on board, but as a first step Pam has put together her initial thoughts for

Helming at +30 knots SOG

Getting to helm at over 30 knots boat speed was a first for me. It's certainly an addictive experience and you can really feel the acceleration as she lights up, there's a definitive jump forwards and a change in motion after 20 knots. It's interesting too as the information you're using changes slightly when you're going faster than the actual wind speed. It's all about apparent and feeling the boat is really important, as these multi-hulls can get very powered up very quickly, and so it's about control as much as anything. Sailing on edge, as fast as possible, but without losing control. Knowing where your eject button (the traveller or main sheet) is at all times is essential and there was pretty much always someone on trim, ready to ease.

On top of the job….Pam Lee stowing the mainsail after the 24-hour session in the Bay of Biscay   On top of the job….Pam Lee stowing the mainsail after the 24-hour session in the Bay of Biscay  

Playing the Piano

The pit on Leyton is fondly nicknamed 'The Piano', although I feel it is actually more aligned with a church organ. There are several rows of cleats, jammers and constrictors, through which well over 30 lines, from halyards, tack lines, trim controls, foil controls, to the main sheet, feed through into the central pit. From here there is a choice of 4 winches which connect to one central grinding pedestal. I love running the pit, so this was a dream come true for me. It's an amazing setup because pretty much everything is accessible from the centre of the cockpit, although this does add a level of complexity…. especially at night, travelling over 30 knots….and in French.

A cockpit of potential total confusion…….A cockpit of potential total confusion…….

……..can have manners put on it when all lines are led through "The Piano"   ……..can have manners put on it when all lines are led through "The Piano"  

Avoiding fishing boats

Avoiding French fishing boats in the Bay of Biscay is the bane of any offshore sailors' existence in this area. We've all heard the numerous stories of how it can go wrong pretty quickly, especially at high speed – this year's Vendee Globe a prime example! Well, this game of cat and mouse is taken to whole new level when taking the decision to bear away to avoid a meandering fishing boat means an immediate dramatic acceleration at the same time. There's certainly no second guessing your decision at that point.

21 Questions

I've been lucky enough to sail with a list of great boats with encouraging skippers and supportive crewmates, however onboard any racing boat it isn't always the best time to ask detailed questions about the inner workings of a pedestal system or halyards locks, most of the time it's largely a learn on the job situation. Being onboard Leyton with Skipper Sam Goodchild and Team Manager Aymeric Chappellier at full disposal was an incredible resource. Both were completely open and happy to answer any questions I had from trim, mechanics and nav, to their personal experiences and habits offshore.

Still talking to each other after some very intensive offshore experiences with Leyton are (left to right) Team Manager Aymeric Chappellier, Pamela Lee (Ireland), Cassandra Blandin (France), Kass Schmitt (USA) and Team Captain Sam Goodchild.   Still talking to each other after some very intensive offshore experiences with Leyton are (left to right) Team Manager Aymeric Chappellier, Pamela Lee (Ireland), Cassandra Blandin (France), Kass Schmitt (USA) and Team Captain Sam Goodchild.  

Some things I learnt...

I have an iron stomach

The motion onboard the multihull was certainly different from being offshore on a monohull. Added to this is the fact that when offshore, you are driving underneath a cockpit cover to help protect from spray and the constant attack of the apparent wind. This new motion, perhaps combined with the lack of visual on the horizon, saw several of the crew stricken with severe seasickness, including the media-man. Luckily for me, I've never had a problem with seasickness and so was able to make the most of the entire offshore session. However, it was certainly something that caught a few by surprise.

With sudden course alterations of course around fishing boats a regular challenge, the simplicity of tiller steering was welcomeWith sudden alterations of course around fishing boats a regular challenge, the simplicity of tiller steering was welcome

Some things are the same

I was pleasantly surprised by how many of the systems were very similar to what I've used before, in most cases just bigger and more powerful. This was a comfort and confidence boost as I realised that so much of what we learn on any boat is very transferable. It also meant that this training session had extra value in that everything we learnt could be applied to any high-powered boat. I've since sailed with Leyton again, and it has been great to see how quickly the systems become familiar, especially through repetition.

Some things are different

There were certainly some differences immediately apparent too, first being the very different motion onboard. It was also clear that the powerful multi-hulls often feel like they are on the edge and too much heel can lead to disaster pretty quickly. It was also interesting to learn more about the use of the foils in adjusting the lift of the hulls in relation to control and also using the mast rotation to adjust to the apparent wind direction.

Language isn't a barrier

Everything on the boat is labelled in French (if labelled at all) and a lot of the session was through French by default. I've been sailing and training through French for the last few months in the Figaro 3, but when I'm actually onboard it's been through English with my double-handed teammate Kenny Rumball. I realised onboard Leyton that I had absolutely no problem actually sailing through French, with French sailors. Because the context is so specific and you're all on the same page to start off, it felt like there was really no language barrier at all. I'd certainly encourage any sailors to not be discouraged by potential 'language barriers' when taking on sailing opportunities.

Bigger Picture

Aside from the amazing sailing and tremendous learning opportunity onboard Leyton with Sam and Aymeric, this session really went far and beyond with the effort put in by the Leyton communications and shore team as well as The Magenta Project and Elodie Mettraux who ran the programme. We were so welcomed and looked after from the moment we arrived and the thought and detail were fantastic – from an exclusive visit to the Maxi Trimaran Sodebo, guided by Skipper Thomas Coville himself, to coffee, croissants and chats with Sam Davies. It was clear that the motive to share knowledge and give opportunity to female sailors was central to the project. Interestingly, I've since been working at another Ocean50 base at Lalou Multi in Port Medoc, Bordeaux and all the skippers here knew all about the LeytonXMagenta project. So, I hope that I've been a part of something that sets a precedent for more such initiatives going forward and also demonstrates the possibilities to potential sponsors in Sailing.

On top of the job….Pam Lee stowing the mainsail after the 24-hour session in the Bay of Biscay


Published in Greystones Harbour
Tagged under

Round Ireland Two-Handed record-holder Pamela Lee of Greystones is one of three female sailors who qualified - out of 34 applicants from nine different countries - for a place on this week's Leyton X The Magenta Project Multihull Training Session at La Trinite-sur-Mer on France's Biscay coast.

Under the direction of Sam Goodchild with the Ocean Fifty Leyton, with additional instructional input from Samantha Davies and Thomas Coville, the four-day course includes a 24-hour intensive offshore session.

Seen as central to the Leyton X The Magenta Project's aim of making top level offshore sailing more accessible to female skippers, the three who qualified through the rigorous selection process are Kass Schmitt (52, USA), Pamela Lee (32, Ireland) and Cassandra Blandin (30, France).

It's an experience that will broaden Pam Lee's already extensive offshore CV, which started with events like the Sydney-Hobart Race, and went on through several campaigns to take in last October's well-nigh perfect Round Ireland Two-handed challenge with Cat Hunt. The current overall focus is built around the Figaro 3 racing programme with RL Sailing and Kenneth Rumball, in which it is hoped the Dun Laoghaire-Dingle Race of June 9th will be a pillar event.

"Training ship" – the Leyton Multi Fifty."Training ship" – the Leyton Multi Fifty.

Tagged under

As World Sailing looks for alternatives for its Mixed Offshore Keelboat for Paris 2024, fledgeling mixed Irish pairing Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee, who are campaigning in France this season, are taking the disappointment in their stride. The Dun Laoghaire and Greystones pairing believe Irish sailors have a lot more to look forward to in the international offshore sailing discipline other than the Olympics.

Here, in a statement for Afloat, 'RL Sailing', give their reaction and set out campaign plans beyond Paris 2024.

RL Sailing Continue with Offshore Sailing Plans

RL Sailing's reaction to the current uncertainty of the mixed double-handed class for Paris 2024 is to continue with overarching offshore sailing goals.

RL Sailing, the double-handed offshore sailing partnership of Dun Laoghaire's Kenneth Rumball and Greystones' Pamela Lee are the only team that have in 2021 been actively training and campaigning towards qualification to represent Ireland in the mixed double-handed keelboat class at the Paris 2024 Olympic Championships.

RL Sailing from Ireland competing in the 2021 Sarndinha CupRL Sailing from Ireland competing in the 2021 Sardinha Cup

Kenneth Rumball and Pamela Lee of RL Sailing have been competing and training in France in the Figaro 3 circuit. RL Sailing chose to compete and train in France as the standard and professionalism of shorthanded sailing especially in the Figaro class is unmatched anywhere in the world. This had been done at great personal and professional expense of the sailors and also their sponsors. Their campaign to date has been manifested through the hard work and dedication of the sailors, despite the obvious difficulties of the last year. Although Olympic qualification was the initial motivation that formed the team, their overarching sailing goals have always been to learn, to improve, to compete at the highest level of offshore sailing and to represent Ireland in doing so. The team's participation in the French offshore sailing circuit has already contributed to all of these goals and will continue doing so as they go on to complete their 2021 doublehanded season with the 'Tour De Bretagne De Voile' and 'The Rolex Fastnet.'

That said, RL Sailing's project aims were never solely focused on competing and representing Ireland for the Paris 2024 Olympics. The team's goals are far broader, and they will continue to work towards achieving them through their ongoing campaign.

These include:

  • To be the catalyst for increased female participation within Irish Offshore Racing.
  • To create opportunities for aspiring offshore sailors and to increase public engagement within Ireland.
  • To capitalize on Offshore sailing's unique potential to attract a greater public audience due to the human, adventure and 24-hour live streaming elements.
  • To grow Ireland's participation, support and engagement with Offshore Sailing.
  • To create pathways, inspiration and opportunities for aspiring female & male sailors in Ireland.
  • To mandate change for gender equality and greater inclusion within sport and leadership in Ireland.
  • To compete at the top level of international ocean racing.

"The Olympics provided a clear pathway to work towards achieving our goals, something that is not always the case in competitive ocean racing. It also provided great potential to open the sport up to the broader public and engage with a wider audience internationally. However, our sport is very diverse, and there are many more avenues, opportunities and races to pursue, and the growth of the double-handed offshore circuit internationally is very exciting." – says the team.

Pamela Lee - "I didn't start Ocean racing because I wanted to go to the Olympics - I do it because I love it!Pamela Lee - "I didn't start Ocean racing because I wanted to go to the Olympics - I do it because I love it!"

"I didn't start Ocean racing because I wanted to go to the Olympics - I do it because I love it! The Olympics was an awesome goal to work towards and a great opportunity to open our sport up to broader participation and great equality, but I have plenty of other big ocean racing goals to shoot for, and everything we've done as RL Sailing so far has contributed to that," says Pamela Lee

Kenny Rumball - "my shorthanded offshore sailing experience in France has completely broadened my horizons"Kenny Rumball - "my shorthanded offshore sailing experience in France has completely broadened my horizons"

"Although I've done a considerable amount of Offshore racing abroad, our shorthanded offshore sailing experience in France with a view to the Olympics had completely broadened my horizons on more challenging and demanding offshore sailing. I would like to continue challenging myself in this way and also to help more young Irish sailors to do the same, says Skipper Kenneth Rumball.

RL Sailing has many projects and campaign goals that they hope to launch and capitalise on in the very near future. The team are keen to hear from persons or parties that would endeavour to work with them to obtain the goals of their project.

Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee

The doublehanded offshore Racing team of Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee embark on the second leg of the Sardinha Cup this evening.

It's a gruelling 775 miler that immediately follows yesterday's conclusion of a 300-mile first leg in which the Dun Laoghaire Harbour debutantes finished 20th from 21.  

The Rumball and Lee partnership is campaigning to be the first team to represent Ireland in the new double-handed mixed offshore sailing category in the Paris Olympics 2024.

After 1 day 13 hours and 52 minutes at sea, Team SNEF won Friday morning at 6 a.m. the Naomis Trophy (subject to Protest), the first stage of the Sardinha Cup (300 miles).

Xavier Macaire and Morgan Lagravière,  led the race almost from start to finish, resisting pressure from Normandy's (Alexis Loison/Guillaume Pirouelle) and Brittany CMB Performance (Tom Laperche/Loïs Berrehar), who complete the podium.

More here

Dun Laoghaire Harbour's Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee of Greystones Harbour have restated their goal to represent Ireland at Paris 2024 in the new Olympic Mixed Offshores Double Class

"We're absolutely focused and excited and working towards Paris 2024, but along the way we're absolutely enjoying the journey, we're really enjoying double-handed sailing anyway and this is just giving us a really nice focus goal to work towards," Lee has told World Sailing in an interview.

Their 'rough plan' next year is to keep competing in the Figaro 3 circuit in France, because they believe it's the toughest short-handed sailing arena in the world, and they say they'd also like to have a look at doing some double-handed IRC events.

After joining forces at the beginning of the year, the two skilled offshore sailors had their eyes on the 2020 Offshore World Championship, originally due to take place in Malta this October, and were working towards qualifying themselves to represent Ireland in the event.

But after the Worlds were cancelled, they reacted quickly to ensure they were able to continue training and improving their skills on the water, both with and without each other.

"We started training in the French Figaro 3 scene, as our first event to qualify and represent Ireland in Malta was supposed to be the Solo Concarneau, a double-handed offshore race out of Concarneau in France," explained Rumball.

Read more of the interview on the World Sailing website here which tells of Rumball's participation in the La Solitaire Du Figaro and Lee's World Speed Sailing record round Ireland set this October. 

At least two other Irish campaigns have also declared to contest the single berth for Paris in the new Olympic class. Read the latest updates here.

Rookie Kenny Rumball competed in his Figaro debut this autumn, reaching as high as 15th in the third stage in the notoriously tough French solo marathon event that saw the Dubliner end up 33rd from 35 starters overall.

It marked the first big challenge of his and his co-skipper Pamela Lee's campaign for a spot in the new Olympic mixed double-handed offshore event currently set to debut at Paris 2024.

But also key to their ambitions is their sail wardrobe, and Rumball and Lee enlisted the help of Nigel Young and his team at North Sails Ireland to see them right.

“With our training schedule, I didn’t want to buy sails and then go back and ask for things to be changed,” INSS head Rumball tells North Sails. “I wanted sails that worked would be fast and long-lasting. Nigel Young was my first call to make that happen.”

The pair’s full 3Di set-up got its first proper workout in this year’s La Solitaire du Figaro — one of the few major sailing events that managed to run safely amid the continuing Covid-19 upheaval.

And more recently, Lee took out the Beneteau Figaro 3 with Catherine Hunt and set a new WSSR-recognised round Ireland double-handed world record, demonstrating the powerful combination of skilled sailors, boat and sails.

North Sails has more on the story HERE.

Published in North Sails Ireland

The World Speed Sailing Record Council Council (WSSR) has announced the establishment of a new World Sailing Record established by Pamela Lee and Catherine Hunt for the 'Around Ireland doublehanded Outright World Record'. 

Ireland's World Speed Sailing Commissioner Chris Moore made the announcement this afternoon following the ratification of the elapsed record time by the WSSR of 3 days 19 hours 41 minutes and 39 seconds.

 As regular Afloat readers will know, the pair set the record last month from 13th to the 17th October 2020.

The official details that have earned the pair an Afloat Sailor of the Month Award are:

  • Yacht: “R L Sailing” Beneteau Figaro 3.
  • Start time: 06; 47; 15 GMT on the 13/10/20
  • Finish time: 02;28;54 GMT on the 17/10/20
  • Elapsed time: 3 days 19 hours 41 minutes and 39 seconds
  • Course length: 698 NM
  • Average speed: 7.61 kts

The benchmark time was set in the 2004 Round Ireland Race by Yannick Lemonnier and Aodhan Fitzgerald in 4 days 6 hours. 

Last month's attempt by Lee and Hunt also established the initial Around Ireland Record for Women.

The new Round Ireland Two-handed Record Holders, RL Sailing's Pamela Lee of Greystones SC and Catherine Hunt, are acclaimed as October's "Sailors of the Month" after a superbly-executed circuit of our island home which went way beyond their initial challenge of establishing a significant speed for a female two-handed crew.

Their time of 3 days 19 hours and 45 minutes in the Figaro 3 Iarracht Maigeantata was not only many hours clear of previous comparable circuits by any crews of two-handed sailors, but was impressively close to record times set by fully-crewed larger boats - and it was all done so stylishly that this was sailing as performance art.

Read more on this record here

Published in Sailor of the Month
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