At 3am on the 17th of October 2020, Irish Offshore Sailor and Ocean Racer, Pamela Lee set THREE World Records for the fastest time sailing around Ireland. (You can read more about that here.)
Now, this month in June, Lee is coming back to sail around the country as fast as possible... again! This time competing in the SSE RENEWABLES AROUND IRELAND RACE.
In 2020, the sailor hailing from Greystones created the project ‘Iarracht Maigeanta’ (Magenta Challenge) in order to use her world record attempt to boost female participation in water sports in Ireland. She collaborated with ‘The Magenta Project’ and invited a female co-skipper, Catherine Hunt, to take on the challenge with her. The duo went on to smash three records in one – for fastest under forty foot boat, doublehanded crew and all female crew.
Since then, Pam has been tirelessly continuing her work towards two considerable goals; firstly, to make sailing and water sports more accessible for Irish Women, and secondly, to lead a boat to race around the world in 2023.
Her return to Ireland in June is linked to both these goals. She will be racing on a new Class40 design, skippered by Italian Andrea Fornaro. Pam’s job is to prepare the boat for racing, to skipper deliveries and to race onboard. The ultimate goal for Fornaro and the boat is the Route-du-Rhum race in November. Pam will support him in this goal, along the way gaining invaluable experience for running her own boat and racing project next.
The team are coming to Ireland to compete in the new Class40 division of the race and Pam hopes to use the opportunity to demonstrate, once again, that females can participate and compete on the same level as men in extreme water sports – and thus, everything else too. The team will keep the boat in Pam’s hometown, Greystones Marina, as before in 2020 with the World Record Project.
“Greystones is a wonderful public marina where there is an open visitors dock and anyone can walk the harbour walls and see the boats. For me, this is really significant because I want as many people as possible to see this ‘cool race boat’, in the hope that it might inspire curiosity, ambition and wanderlust to give sailing and water sports a go – particularly women and girls” – said Pam.
“I can’t wait to race around Ireland again, it’s an awesome challenge and I hope that those who followed our World-Record lap will follow our tracker again this year in June!“ – Pam said
Pam is already working with Irish Sailing on a mentorship program for female Irish sailors, in which she works with enthusiastic sailors to identify and achieve goals within their own sailing journey as well as to build a network or like-minded women. It is the first program of its kind in Ireland and Lee has hopes for its continued expansion.
“I believe that access and participation to such activities can be truly life-changing, it can be really powerful for mental health, fitness and life skills, as well as self-confidence and self-belief, I don’t understand why there seems to be a propensity towards guys ‘giving it a go’ over girls, and I want to try to do my bit to change this for the future”