Limerick man sets sights on sailing solo around the world

Peter Lawless will become the first Irish person to sail solo, non-stop, and unassisted around the world.

Later this month, a Limerick man will begin the challenge of becoming the first Irish person to sail solo, non-stop, and unassisted around the world.

Peter Lawless, a 52-year-old Limerick grandad, will begin this journey on 21 August.

The journey is expected to take between eight and ten months, and once complete, will be the first of its kind to be completed by an Irish person.

The route – a gruelling challenge

His ship is called Waxwing.
Credit: Facebook / @peterlawlesscircumnavigation

Leaving Kilrush Marina in County Clare, the Limerick man will begin his journey sailing solo around the world by heading south down the Atlantic. After crossing the equator, Peter will continue south to Cape Agulhas in South Africa.

Then, Peter will sail across the Indian Ocean and past the Australian island of Tasmania, in the Tasman Peninsula, before sailing across the South Pacific Ocean.

After rounding Cape Horn, Peter will sail up the Atlantic Ocean before returning to Ireland.

This route encompasses the five Great Capes, which will be used as significant landmarks along the journey.

The details – information about the trip

The Limerick man will begin his journey sailing solo around the world in a couple of weeks.
Credit: Facebook / @peterlawlesscircumnavigation

Peter estimates the sail will take approximately eight months, but he is preparing for the trip to take as long as ten.

The Limerick man will be sailing solo around the world in his yacht, Waxwing, a Rival 41 that he bought in 2016. Peter has spent time upgrading the vessel so that it is ready for the challenge.

This isn’t the first circumnavigation for Waxwing, as her previous owners completed a seven-year around the world sail onboard her.

As Peter will be by himself for 24 hours a day for at least eight months, he will rely on autopilot to help him complete this solo sail around the world while he sleeps and eats.

Freeze-dried foods will be the primary source of nutrition for this Limerick man, but he has learnt how to make bread on top of his stove.

There will also be no shortage of tea onboard, as an English well-wisher sent him 800 tea bags.

Peter’s sailing experience – he’s from a sailing family

Peter Lawless is from a sailing family.
Credit: Facebook / @peterlawlesscircumnavigation

Peter grew up sailing with his family, first taking to the waters of Mountshannon in County Clare on an Optimist at just four years old.

He has been sailing ever since and is now fortunate to work with boats. He repairs and restores boats as well as delivers boats locally and internationally.

This isn’t the first circumnavigation for the Lawless family, with Peter’s father, Pat Lawless, completing a solo three-year circumnavigation from Ireland in 1996 at the age of 70.

His father is a huge source of inspiration for the Limerick man who has set his sights on sailing solo around the world.

Navigation – using the stars and moon

The Limerick man will begin sailing solo around the world later this month.
Credit: Facebook / @peterlawlesscircumnavigation

Peter will be using celestial navigation to help him determine his position while sailing. This is the practice of using the stars to help determine your location on the earth.

He will be using this knowledge, paper maps, and a sextant to help plot his course.

Communicating via a satellite telephone, Peter will keep in touch with his family while sailing solo around the world.

“[My family] are 100 per cent behind me. It’s not something you could do if they weren’t. It wouldn’t be fair,” said Peter.

You can track Peter’s solo sail around the world from 21 August on his website.

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