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Pat Kelly from Antrim Boat Club

10th July 2022
The late Pat Kelly from Antrim Boat Club
The late Pat Kelly from Antrim Boat Club

The late Pat Kelly from Antrim Boat Club on Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland was known far and wide in Ireland.

His passing last week at the age of 85, less than a year since he last sailed, was acknowledged with great sadness by his many club associates, and the dozens he had sailed with and taught to sail and race over his years as a boat owner.

Pat began racing GP14s and Scorpions in the late Sixties and competed over about 12 years at every level from Irish right through from European to World championship.

In the Eighties, he moved to the Puppeteer Jelly Roll and with crew, Tom Molloy raced at East Down YC on Strangford Lough where he also raced the Impala Mipaal, in which he came second in the European championships. He competed in the Scottish Series in an Impala during the 1990s. The number of boats Pat has owned and sailed is impressive.

Papagena Pat Kelly and Alfie Mayrs in the Howth Autumn League 2002Papagena Pat Kelly and Alfie Mayrs in the Howth Autumn League 2002

During the Nineties we can add among the list, the One Tonner Commanche Raider at Carrickfergus, the Half Tonner Trinity, with Chris Boyd in Murphy’s Law at the ¼ ton cup , Fait Accompli and Quest. In 2003 Pat won the Howth Autumn League in the Puppeteer 22 Papagena.

His last race was the Cat’s Cradle inter Lough Neagh club event in September 2021 when he got line honours and the handicap win after a 20-mile beat in Fait Accompli from Antrim south to Kinnego, thus winning the trophy for Antrim BC yet again.

Jeff Harrison who crewed for Pat for nineteen years paid tribute. “My Dad taught me to sail but Pat taught me to race; he taught me to have fun doing it and also taught me in an almost lost tradition of how to do things within the ‘spirit of sailing. No one had more passion for sailing than Pat, he had the best feel for a boat of anyone I have sailed with, almost a sixth sense and he could keep calm in any tense situation”.

Jeff also said that at the age of 71 Pat qualified as a Dinghy Instructor and had the satisfaction of knowing that, over the years he had been sailing, he had given the opportunity to over 300 people to sail and race and indeed, had a list of the names of those people.

Pat leaves his wife Ruth, sons Graeme and Neil and daughter Lisa.

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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