Monday 22 May 2017

Sailor who crossed the world single-handedly at 70 laid to rest

Kathryn Hayes

AN IRISH man who sailed solo around the world at the age of 70 was laid to rest in his beloved Co Kerry yesterday.

Pat Lawless, whose solo circumnavigation of the world made him a household name in Ireland in the late 1990s, died suddenly at his home in Limerick last weekend. He was aged 84.

He received a hero's welcome in July 1996 when he sailed up the Shannon Estuary in his 30- foot vessel 'The Sea Dog', after completing the 30,000- mile world voyage.

The father of six from Limerick city was laid to rest in Dun Chaoin in Co Kerry yesterday, following Mass at St Joseph's Church in Limerick city.

His grandchildren brought a number of gifts symbolising his life to the altar including a boat, a globe, a violin, and a sailor's cap.

During the Mass his son Dan recalled some of the many sailing adventures his father undertook.

"He had many achievements and some were very unique."

Solo

"He sailed the Atlantic in his own 26-foot boat 'The Iniscealtra' and the following year he sailed what we call the return leg from Newport Rhode Island to Tarbert Island in Co Kerry, where he played as a boy," Dan recalled.

"That wasn't enough for him. He subsequently attempted twice to sail the world. Some people might try it once, but on his third attempt he made it and none of us can comprehend what it must have been like to have sailed a solo circumnavigation of the world at the age of 70," he said.

Pat Lawless's interest in sailing came relatively late in life and he became a member of Iniscealtra Sailing Club in Mountshannon, Co Clare.

The 84-year-old died suddenly at his home at Harbour View, South Circular Road, Limerick city, last Friday.

He is survived by his wife Nancy, daughter Helen, sons Jim, Pat, Dan, John and Peter, sister Betty, grandchildren, great grandchildren, relatives and his many friends.

Irish Independent

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