The Golden Globe Race started in September 2022, with 16 boats on the start. This retro-race, “sailing like it is 1969”, single-handed alone around the world is a huge test of sailors, boats and, of course, sails. The Irishman Pat Lawless began the race well in his Saltram Saga 36 cutter, driven by Rolly Tasker Sails. From the beginning, he was in the leading pack of boats, mostly in second or third place. Sadly, his wind vane self-steering failed him 1000 miles west of Cape Town where he had no other choice but to abandon the race.

We were of course interested in his sail setup, why he chose our sails and how these sails worked for him. Here is what he has to say: “My Saltram Saga 36 is a cutter with a solent sail inside the jib. I also have four spinnakers. The genoa, solent yankee and staysail are furling. The mainsail has four reefs, it is slab reefing, with lines led back to the cockpit.”


“In over fifty knots I run before the wind, at the best possible course for the time. Only under a small bit of jib and staysail. The boat will reach in that setup if needed. I drop the boom onto the lifelines and lash down. In less than fifty knots, I would run under jibs and use the reefed main and staysail when going upwind.”


“In those conditions I would of course use as much sail area as possible. The staysail is great to add power up-wind and reaching. The spinnakers are mighty down-wind. I have four, from 50 to 100 square metres. There are two spinnaker poles on the mast, this works well. In fresh downwind sailing I use the solent yankee poled to windward in the best position to work well. Because it is a yankee the clew is high and the pole goes past the forestay at that point. The genoa on the other side, also poled out, is the best setup then. The yankee poled out to weather balances the boat very well.”


“If I were to sail the race again, I would change the genoa to a lighter fabric, as it is used only in lighter weather. Also, the 50 square metre 3oz asymmetric spinnaker I would change to bigger and lighter, as when going down-wind or reaching in fresh weather, I use the solent yankee poled out to windward and genoa on the other side instead. This gives the same power as a small spinnaker, and it is very easy to handle.”


“After entering the Golden Globe Race I emailed six sailmakers, three in Ireland and three outside of Ireland. From day one Rolly Tasker Sails stood out as the best company. The advice and attention to detail was top-class. They know what works best for boats, and when the sails arrived in Ireland the quality and fit was mighty. I had the best sails in the Golden Globe Race 2022. They helped me to stay in the front of the fleet, even though I was carrying too much weight on board. I learnt so much entering the race. My Aries self-steering failed 1,000 nm west of Cape Town. That finished my race. I am still struggling with the fact that I was out of the race early. I have unfinished business now, so am looking into what is next for me!”

At the time of publication, only four of the original 16 starters were still in the race. The first boats will probably reach the finish in western France in or around June 2023. For earlier posts on Pat and the Golden Globe Race, see here: Update September. To find out more about Pat, click here; and here for the Golden Globe Race.