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Busy Pamela Lee of Greystones On Course For Caribbean 600 & Round Ireland Race

14th February 2022
Midwinter lull in an otherwise stormy mid-Atlantic – Pamela Lee in a brief respite aboard the Class40 Redman during the mid-winter west-east Transatlantic Crossing
Midwinter lull in an otherwise stormy mid-Atlantic – Pamela Lee in a brief respite aboard the Class40 Redman during the mid-winter west-east Transatlantic Crossing

When they come to write further histories of the Covid Pandemic and the world’s uneven emergence from it, they should call on the many experiences of long-distance sailor Pamela Lee of Greystones. She has somehow managed to keep the development of her career as a sailor at the sharp end of international offshore racing with super-fast boats on track, even with having to negotiate changing international travel restrictions every time she set out to move on from one completed project to begin another.

Her enthusiasm remains boundless, for despite a very stormy mid-winter west-east Transatlantic experience to bring home the Transat Jacques Vabre-winning Class40 Redman, she is now in the Caribbean in the final stages of preparation for next week’s RORC Caribbean 600 with the Andrea Fornaro-campaigned Class40 #130.

Her linkup with Fornaro began last August when they sailed together in the Figaro 3 Two-handed Round Italy Challenge, and won. And looking ahead to this summer, she is much involved with his new #171 Class40 Series Influence, the first of the latest VPLP design, which will do the Route de Rhum but she will then deliver to Ireland for the Wicklow Round Ireland Race in June, and will sail as crew on board - her first circuit of the Emerald Isle since her record double-hander with Cat Hunt on the Figaro 3 Maigeanta Eire in October 2020.

The fact that Influence will be coming to the “cold north” for the Round Ireland Race is by way of payback for Pam Lee doing the round Italy last summer, and she writes of this new craft:

“The new boat #171 is the first boat of the new Class40 Series designed by VPLP. It has a very exciting and revolutionary design, being the first race boat to have the mast set further back from the keel. This is designed to compensate the Scow Bow, which leads other boats to input an extensive mast rake, with most scow-bow Class40s adding well over 10 degrees aft rake.

By moving the mast aft, this should counteract some of the downwards tendencies of the Scow. This feature has led to a completely new interior structure, where rather that having a central mast support in the middle of the hull, it is completely open inside and the support is dispersed through a new framework system - this is to avoid negative shock impact back into the rig should the keel hit something, being forwards the compensation would be different......”

With the speeds the latest scow-type Class40s can reach, the phrase “should the keel hit something” acquires added meaning. Meanwhile, just to keep busy, in some time-space between the Caribbean 600 and the various logistics of getting the Class40 Influence to Ireland, Pam Lee will be crewing another Class40, #156, with a different team in the Heineken Regatta.

The new VPLP Class40 design has moved the mast significantly further aftThe new VPLP Class40 design has moved the mast significantly further aft

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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About Pamela Lee, Irish Offshore Sailor

Ireland has produced some of the world’s most dedicated offshore sailors, and Pamela Lee of Greystones is one of them. She has made a name for herself in the sailing world, having worked as a mate on a charter Super-yacht for two and a half years. After coming ashore, she has been fully committed to her offshore sailing ambitions since 2019.

Lee has raced in various craft, including Figaro 3s, Class 40, Tp 52s, and multihulls, and has eight transatlantic crossings under her belt. In partnership with Kenny Rumball, Lee supported Rumball’s La Solitaire du Figaro sailing campaign to secure the Irish berth in the proposed Mixed Offshore Keelboat event for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

One of Lee’s stated main aims is to promote female empowerment in sport, and she set out to establish a double-handed Round Ireland speed record with Englishwoman Cat Hunt in the winter of 2020. This campaign gained much publicity, and Lee expressed pride in bringing sailing and offshore sailing, in particular, into the conversation for 2020.

To further her offshore sailing career, Lee moved to France, where she has recently secured a place to skipper a yacht in the Transat Jacques Vabre Challenge in October 2023. Lee’s passion and dedication to offshore sailing are inspiring, and her achievements are a testament to her hard work and perseverance.