Pat has himself down on his card as Adventurer, Historian, Organiser, Business Executive, and Volunteer.
This post is concerned with the Adventurer bit.
In the mid 1990s Pat and his wife, Olivia, came into an inheritance, so the means were there. There was cancer in both their families and they decided to do something major on the basis that they were fit and able and that you never know what's around the corner.
Pat was no mean sailor and they decided to spend four years sailing around the world. As Pat explained at last night's (1/3/2017) talk to the Howth Peninsula Heritage Society, you don't then just take off on a whim. There's a boat to be got and whacks of planning to do, four years of it, in fact.
When they took off in 1999 it was to head for the Canaries where they joined the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers). While Pat was a very experienced sailor, he had never crossed an ocean like the Atlantic before so it made sense to do it in convoy, so to speak. The ARC went across to St. Lucia in the Caribbean, and like a number of other boats, Pat and Olivia then carried on with the rest of their trip.
The trip went westward, through the Panama Canal, Polynesia, down to New Zealand & Australia, and back through Indonesia, Arabia, Africa, through the Suez Canal, and the Mediterranean. The journey is marked on the map above.
Pat had loads of stories, more than could be fitted into any blog post, and, in any event, why spoil the stories if you ever get a chance to go to one of his talks. So I'll just mention a few.
One that tickled me was Pat and Olivia literally sailing along the equator. There were two sinks in the galley, one to starboard and one to port. Both were filled with water and the plugs pulled. Thanks to GPS Pat was able to position the boat precisely on the equator and they were able to watch the sinks emptying with the water flowing clockwise in one and anticlockwise in the other.
They were also in the vicinity when another yacht rescued a stowaway who had been thrown overboard from a ship where the Captain was anxious to avoid onshore paperwork. The boy had been in the water for 16 hours before being rescued.
The boat had a very advanced suite of radio equipment and among the occasions when this proved useful was when a distant yacht had a medical emergency and Pat was able to organise help from another yacht which was nearer to the emergency.
Pat and Olivia swam with whales, counted turtles and despite seeing an albatross, arrived home a full nine years after their departure.
The talk was a full two hours but I'm sure, like me, the audience could have sat through the night listening to Pat. We had absorbed so much and it was so well presented that there was scarcely a question left for the Q&A at the end.
Since their return, Pat and Olivia have presented these talks as a couple, but sadly, Olivia died in 2015, and this night was one of the few that Pat has done since on his own.
A very emotional occasion.
If you are lucky enough to get a chance to come to one of Pat's talks, don't miss it.
Meanwhile you might like to view this teaser from Downtown Newry & Mourne TV.
they can contact him here: