It’s been a while since we added to our Sailing Heroes campaign, but this is the first article in the next series of people who inspire us. Here we talk to Pamela Lee, skipper of RL Sailing, and recent record-breaking round-Ireland racer.
First all-female double-handed circumnavigation of Ireland has been Ratified
At 3am on October 20th Pamela Lee and Cat Hunt completed a 761 mile solo vessel race around Ireland, racing against time.
They are now the first to hold a world record for the first all-female double-handed circumnavigation of Ireland - Records held are ...
1. Outright Doublehanded,
2. Outright female and
3. Outright under 40ft Monohull
... in a time of 3 days, 20 hours, 29 minutes.
We wanted to find out what drives skipper Pam Lee, the need for more women helms, and what she does next.
Choose your goal
“I have travelled a lot over the past few years, gained contacts all over the world and am lucky to have created a global view on life and opportunities. I have learnt that if I want to achieve something, I need to choose my goal and the make a path to get there.” I think that it’s about taking and making opportunities. I’m very grateful to everyone who has given me opportunity, I always aim to make the most of it!"
Open up sailing
“I want to open up sailing – I want people to see sailing is about adventure and challenges. Sailing is entertaining, it’s exciting and it’s inspiring. Women helming or crewing in offshore sailing is an example of females stepping up. Offshore sailing has a fantastic human interest that you don’t get from dinghy racing.”
Sailing is so much more than a sport
“Sailing is many things to me. To say I like sailing is a massive understatement. It is called a ‘sport’, but it is so much more. Sailing is also a leisure activity and a lifestyle or even a dream. I could be racing with my father in his GP14 out of Greystones, cruising with the family and exploring coves and islands or taking on the challenge of professional offshore sailing – I enjoy them all.
If you play rugby you can go and knock a ball around on a pitch but the end goal is to be playing in a team and competing, but sailing is all things. Sailing is my hobby, my passion, my family, my lifestyle”.
Dinghy to offshore
“I love dinghy sailing and enjoyed sailing my Mirror as a child, but I never got bitten by a competitive bug. When I discovered offshore sailing the ‘fast’ bug bit me, I just loved the grit of racing offshore. I got a lot of experience doing (boat) deliveries, it is a great way to get time on the helm and taking on offshore short-handed opportunities pushed me to take the helm professionally.
I decided I wanted to race in the Sydney Hobart race, so looked for crewing opportunities. When I said I had sailed symmetrical Mirror spinnaker they chuckled and said, “Great we can bring you up to speed with this one fast!”. Racing in the Sydney-Hobart made me want more”.
Take the Helm
"Now more than ever we need female skippers, with changes within the sport and the introduction of the mixed doublehanded offshore class for Paris 2024. You don’t have to race to get experience on the helm. Look for opportunities to take the helm whenever they come along and enjoy the adventure."
Next adventure needs a sponsor
“My parallel profession is communications and planning, so plans are very much what I am able to do. I want to continue to do what I have been doing and work towards solo sailing, the doublehanded Olympics and ultimately The Ocean Race. I have had fantastic support, but I need a sponsor. While I was working with my teammate Kenny Rumball on his Figaro circuit I was impressed with the French public support of sailing. Sailing is made accessible to the community and in turn sponsors want to be part of this public interest. I would like to see a bigger French/Ireland sailing connection, as it could really help to evolve Irish sailing’s connection to the public and in turn we may see bigger sponsors coming on board. Making boats accessible and visible to the public could be the first step”.
#sailingheroes #irishsailing #sailsmart #activeonthewater #rlsailing #iarrachtmaigeanta