I'm raising money and awareness for Parkinson's Association Ireland by solo sailing around the world non stop as part of the Golden Globe Race. Please read my story at the bottom of the page. 👇
The Parkinson's Association of Ireland was established in 1987 as a company limited by guarantee...
Who am I and why will I sail the Golden Globe Race? The longest, loneliest sporting event in the world
I am 66 years old and live in Ballyferriter with my wife Rita. We have 4 adult children and 2 grandchildren. My late father thought all the family to sail from a young age on the River Shannon. I draw inspiration from the memories and stories of my late father Pat Lawless Snr who solo circumnavigated the world in the 1990's. I am also inspired by another world-famous Limerick seaman Conor O'Brien who was a pioneer of international ocean sailing.
More recently my race preparations got side-tracked when my wife Rita was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I wanted to withdraw from the race to be with her over the next 12 months as she comes to terms with her diagnosis. Typically, Rita would hear none of that and insisted that I take part, finish, and win the race. I’m taking great encouragement from Rita, and her strength will pull me through the many bouts of loneliness and fear that will come upon me as I sail through some of the worlds most ferocious oceans. Thank you Rita xx
The 2022 GGR is a retro race in the same fashion as the first race in 1968. In the first race 9 people set out; only one finished, one sank, one decided to abandon society and kept sailing around the world, one died by suicide while the rest dropped out at various stages.
While the safety standards and equipment I will use are of the most modern available to ocean sailors today. The onboard technology is much the same as the original race. I will have no contact to family, friends, or support groups. I will navigate by the position of the sun using only a sextant and paper charts. There are no modern luxuries such as computers, GPS, sat phones, iPads, electrical auto steering and water makers. I will carry all my own food, water, tools, and spare parts for the entire 7 or 9 months at sea.
Should I succeed I’ ll be the first Irish Person to sail the world single handed nonstop.
Each contestant in the race is required to pair up with a primary school of their choice from their homeland, and one from France within the vicinity of Les Sables-d’Olonne who will create a cross-cultural link through the fascination of round the world sailing. The GGR Schools Programme ties in with the students’ subjects of geography and history while popularising the vocabulary and practices of single-handed ocean racing. This allows the younger audience to become aware of the values of the race and their environmental surroundings.
Scoil Náisiúnta Chros tSeáin in Crosshaven has joined the Golden Globe Race (GGR) Schools Programme and will follow Pat as he prepares to set sail like it’s 1968, by only using the same or similar equipment and technology to that of the 1968/69 GGR winner, Robin Knox Johnston.
All the best from Ballycastle, Co Antrim. Safe travels! Gerry & Claire Parker and family
Pat, what an amazing thing to do and you are blessed to have Rita who has your back at all times. Wishing you both every success and happiness.
You are an inspiration to all, Pat. Looking forward to following you around online. Have a speedy & safe race!
Safe sailing Pat