Two brothers sailing around the world at the same time. Not together, but each of them solo. One, Pat Lawless, is currently competing in the “Golden Globe Race” while the other, Peter Lawless, is circumnavigating the world by himself. Both of them rely on Rolly Tasker Sails as their tried and tested, reliable driving force.
A SAILING FAMILY
Pat and Peter from Ireland, two of six siblings altogether, live their lives by and on the sea. And not only them. For they found inspiration also in their Father, also named Pat, who became the first Irishman to sail solo around the world, succeeding on his third attempt to do so: He was 70 when he returned from his circumnavigation to Kilrush in western Ireland. That was in 1996, and Pat (junior) says today: “After he returned, we sailed together around the SW of Ireland and this was one of the few times he would open up about the hard side of being alone at sea for long periods. My father had (and still has) a huge influence on me.”
Now these two sons are following in their father’s wake, but not only. Pat Lawless, who was 12 years old when the original “Sunday Times Golden Globe Race” was started in 1968, also has another source of inspiration: “I will sail the race in the spirit of Edward Conor Marshall O’Brien, the first skipper to take a small boat around the world via the three great southern capes.” However, he also sails in a competitive spirit. “I have always dreamed of sailing in a race solo around the world and when the affordable Golden Globe Race turned up I just had to go for it. The boat I have chosen, a Saltram Saga 36, is capable of winning, I can but try my best now.”
THE GOLDEN GLOBE RACE
Pat and his boat “Green Rebel”, named after his main sponsor (a company in offshore windfarm development), were among the leading boats of the GGR fleet during the early and difficult stages of the race with reports of illness, mechanical issues and very strong headwinds from other competitors. But Pat was going strong, being placed 1st at times.
This solo world race is an incredible challenge and adventure, but the rules sound simple enough. Depart from Les Sables d’Olonne in France, sail solo and non-stop around the world via the five great capes and return to Les Sables d’Olonne. The route will be around 30,000 nautical miles and the sailors 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 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 250 days at sea in little boats, challenging themselves and each other.
Competitors must sail in production boats between 32ft and 36ft overall, designed prior to 1988 that have a full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge. These yachts are heavily built, strong and sturdy, similar in concept to Sir Robin Knox-Johnson’s 32ft vessel “Suhaili” in which he won the original race as the only competitor to actually complete the race. Pat has selected the Saltram Saga 36 for his boat, similar to Suhaili but four feet longer. Alan Pape designed her as a development, from the Colin Archer Redningskoite sailing lifeboat hull, which is considered to be one of the most seaworthy small sailing craft.
SAILOR AND FISHERMAN
Pat, a cabinet-maker by trade but also at one stage in his life a professional deep-sea fisherman, has extensive offshore experience, in both sailing and fishing. “In 1990 I went sea as a fisherman. A fantastic job, one of the last of the hunter gatherers. Over the winters I saw the power of the North Atlantic. In 1992 I went to Iceland and purchased a 126′ fishing boat, passing through the Arctic Circle whilst rounding Iceland’s North Westerly Cape Horn on our way home.” Pat believes the challenge of this race is not the lack of technology, but time alone and raw seamanship. As a fisherman, Pat has seen the amount of rubbish coming up from the bottom of the deep ocean, and is eager to get the message out, about the unnecessary use of Plastic. He also raises money and awareness for Parkinson’s Association Ireland by competing in the Golden Globe Race.
Find out more about the Golden Globe Race here, more about Pat Lawless here and more about his brother, Peter Lawless, here and on this website.