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Pam Lee & Cat Hunt's Superb New Female Two-Handed Round Ireland Mono-hull Record Could Stand for Years

17th October 2020
Record smiles: Cat Hunt (left) and Pam Lee dockside in Greystones early this morning after setting a new Round Ireland record. See vid below Record smiles: Cat Hunt (left) and Pam Lee dockside in Greystones early this morning after setting a new Round Ireland record. See vid below

Female Two-handed Round Ireland Speed Record: The Iarracht Maigeanta Two-Handed Round Ireland Record Challenge by Pamela Lee and Cat Hunt of Greystones Harbour Sailing Club just got better and better through yesterday evening and last night as they swept – with impressively consistent speed - through the final hundred miles southward from the Antrim coast to a new record in Dublin Bay, riding on a potent combination of good sailing in a very workable mostly east to southeast breeze, and a fortuitously timed combination of favourable tides to finish at 0327 hrs this (Saturday) morning.

Yet at 1600hrs yesterday afternoon, as their Figaro 3 sat off the Antrim coast between Glenarm and Larne, virtually becalmed and locked in an adverse tide, few would have thought that such a magnificent performance could have been achieved following a frustating afternoon in which expected winds had failed to materialize.

But the transformation of their prospects was already complete by 1800 hrs yesterday evening. With the wind back again from the east and a strong new flood tide pushing them south along the Count Down coast with speeds soon getting into double figures, the possible time for their arrival at the World Sailing Speed Records Committee line in Dublin Bay from the Kish Lighthouse to Dun Laoghaire's East Pier in Dublin Bay just kept getting better and better.

Sailing Magenta Round Ireland Tracker

Yesterday afternoon, the hope of making it round within four days – that is, finishing before 0745 hrs on Saturday - was starting to look like a long shot. Yet by 2200 hrs last night, the continuing combination of favourable conditions was such that the four day circuit seemed well within sight and it was a question of by how much, with a finish time between 0400 and 0500 looking increasingly likely.

Well, they did even better than that again. In due course the very deliberative workings of the WSSRC will come up with their final figure. But according to the Yellowbrick Tracker loaned for the Iarracht Maigeanta/RL Sailing challenge by the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association, Iarracht Maigeanta and her tired but very happy crew were home and dry around 0327 hrs.

For temporary convenience, let's conservatively call it 0330hrs. Thus Pam Lee and Cat Hunt have completed the circuit in 3 days 19 hours and 45 minutes. It's a fabulous performance, as the previous best two-hander by Aodhan Fitzgerald and Yannick Lemonnier in a Figaro 2 in the 2004 Round Ireland Race from Wicklow was 4 days and 6 hours, and that has long been thought an impressive figure.

We'll be doing a more detailed analysis of it all in the fullness of time. But just to give it further perspective and its proper historic position, the much-admired record established by Denis Doyle in the fully-crewed Frers 51 Moonduster in 1984 stood at 3 days 16 hours and 15 minutes. That a much smaller Figaro 3 sailed double-handed should get within three and a half hours of that monumental time is really very exceptional indeed, and the mood in Greystones, where Iarrache Maigeanta is now serenely home in her marina berth, is very rightly on a high as Pamela Lee and Cat Hunt take their well-earned chance to do a bit of serious sleeping for Ireland.

Read all of Afloat's coverage of this Round Ireland speed record in one handy link here

WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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