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Son Of Circumnavigator Pat Lawless Aims For First Irish Non-Stop Voyage In 2022 Golden Globe Race

22nd April 2019
Pat Lawless is hopeful to join the next Golden Globe fleet in 2022 Pat Lawless is hopeful to join the next Golden Globe fleet in 2022

As the awards day for the 2018 Golden Globe Race is taking place today (Monday 22 April) in Les Sables, applications for invites to join the next Golden Globe Race in 2022 are now open — and one of those hopeful to join the global solo voyagers is Irish fisherman Pat Lawless.

Born in bred in Limerick on the banks of the River Shannon, Pat comes from a solo offshore sailing pedigree as his late father, also named Pat, completed his own circumnavigation of the world (in separate stages) in 1996 at the age of 70 — and since had a river festival named in his honour.

Pat Junior now lives in Ballyferriter, Co Kerry, the most westerly village in Europe, with his wife and two of his four children, and makes furniture for a living.

However, over the last six decades Pat has amassed around 150,000km on the water between sailing and fishing.

Now he aims to finish what Conor McGuckin started in the 50th anniversary of the Golden Globe Race and become the first Irishman to do a non-stop, unassisted solo circumnavigation of the world.

As Pat’s nephew Patrick Stritch explains to Afloat.ie, the boat he’s selected for the task is a Saltram Saga 36.

“Alan Papa designed her as a development of the Colin Archer ‘Redmingskoite’ sailing lifeboat hull, from which for many years have been regarded as being amongst the most sea-worthy around and even substantially faster than the original,” says Patrick.

“They are a mighty fine boat for the Southern Ocean, able to hold on to working sail in strong winds, without healing more than 20 degrees.”

Pat will have the next three years to get to know every aspect of his boat like the back of his hand before the next Golden Globe Race sets off from France on 21 August 2022.

This date commemorates the anniversary of Bernard Moitessier setting off in the original Sunday Times Golden Globe in 1968, and a new one-design class based on his famous yacht Joshua has been added for the next edition.

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The Golden Globe Race: Stepping back to the golden age of solo sailing

Like the original Sunday Times event back in 1968/9, the 2018 Golden Globe Race was very simple. Depart Les Sables d'Olonne, France on July 1st 2018 and sail solo, non-stop around the world, via the five Great Capes and return to Les Sables d'Olonne. Entrants are limited to use the same type of yachts and equipment that were available to Robin Knox-Johnston in that first race. That means sailing without modern technology or benefit of satellite-based navigation aids.

Competitors must sail in production boats between 32ft and 36ft overall (9.75 10.97m) designed prior to 1988 and having a full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge. These yachts will be heavily built, strong and steady, similar in concept to Robin's 32ft vessel Suhaili.

In contrast to the current professional world of elite ocean racing, this edition travels back to a time known as the 'Golden Age' of solo sailing. Suhaili was a slow and steady 32ft double-ended ketch based on a William Atkins ERIC design. She is heavily built of teak and carried no computers, GPS, satellite phone nor water-maker, and Robin completed the challenge without the aid of modern-day shore-based weather routing advice. He had only a wind-up chronometer and a barograph to face the world alone, and caught rainwater to survive, but was at one with the ocean, able to contemplate and absorb all that this epic voyage had to offer.

This anniversary edition of the Golden Globe Race is a celebration of the original event, the winner, his boat and that significant world-first achievement. Competitors in this race will be sailing simple boats using basic equipment to guarantee a satisfying and personal experience. The challenge is pure and very raw, placing the adventure ahead of winning at all costs. It is for 'those who dare', just as it was for Knox-Johnston.

They will be navigating with sextant on paper charts, without electronic instruments or autopilots. They will hand-write their logs and determine the weather for themselves.

Only occasionally will they talk to loved ones and the outside world when long-range high frequency and ham radios allow.

It is now possible to race a monohull solo around the world in under 80 days, but sailors entered in this race will spend around 300 days at sea, challenging themselves and each other. The 2018 Golden Globe Race was a fitting tribute to the first edition and it's winner, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

Background on Don McIntyre (61) Race Founder

Don is an inveterate sailor and recognised as one of Australia s greatest explorers. Passionate about all forms of adventure and inspiring others, his desire is to recreate the Golden Age of solo sailing. Don finished 2nd in class in the 1990-91 BOC Challenge solo around the world yacht race. In 2010, he led the 4-man Talisker Bounty Boat challenge to re-enact the Mutiny on the Bounty voyage from Tonga to West Timor, in a similar boat and with same limited supplies available to Captain Bligh 221 years before

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