Pat gears up for round the world solo yacht race

West Kerry

Pat Lawless who has been accepted to take part in the 2022 around the world Golden Globe Race
Pat Lawless who has been accepted to take part in the 2022 around the world Golden Globe Race

Declan Malone & Joan Maguire

Ballyferriter furniture maker Pat Lawless has taken the first step in achieving a life-long dream after being selected as the only Irish sailor to take part in the 2022 Golden Globe round the world race.

The solo yacht race is a daunting test of skill and endurance that requires participants to sail single handed around the world , with no stops, no back up, and no assistance.

There are 30 participants in the race which lasts for about nine months and this means that everything needed for survival at sea has to be taken on board before departing. The sailors rely on rain to replenish their water supplies and fish caught en route supplement their food supplies.

Pat, however, does not plan to eat any fish: "while I am on the water, I eat nothing in it," he says. However, this isn't a philosophy of life but a simple allergy to fish, which could make things tricky if his food supply runs low.

A former fisherman and highly experienced sailor, Pat has lived for the past 30 years in Ballyferriter where he has a successful furniture-making business. He bought a second hand 36ft Saltram Saga for the race, which will be held in three years time. This boat fits restrictions applied to participating boats, which state thta competing vessels have to be between 32 and 36 feet long, with a long keel

The boat, which is currently moored in Dingle harbour, is well suited to the task ahead, according to Pat, and even though she is heavy and not great against the wind he has been placed as one of the favourites to make it onto the winners' podium.

The race starts from Les Sables on the Bay of Biscay and heads south to the Cape of Good Hope at the tip of the African continent before taking an easterly route around the globe. According to Pat the route, and the following trade winds, will particularly suit his boat.

The race has many challenges and in Pat's view storms are not the greatest. Even more difficult is the isolation of the open sea, confined in a small boat with a cockpit only the size of a double bed. There is also the risk of being stuck for weeks in the becalmed water of the doldrums and Pat knows all about this from his father, also named Pat, who circumnavigated the globe when he was 70 years of age.

Preparing for this trip is an expensive business and Pat is looking to raise over €60,000 to help cover the costs. Potential sponsors have already been in contact with him and he would love to hear from more. He can be contacted at