Limerick man Pat Lawless prepares to sail solo across the Atlantic.

RTÉ News meets Pat Lawless at Limerick docks where he is making sure everything is shipshape on board his yacht 'Iniscealtra'.

Although he is an experienced sailor, this journey will be the longest solo one he has ever undertaken, from Ireland to Rhode Island in the United States, via the Azores. Pat Lawless is hoping that the southern route that he has chosen which although longer will have better conditions. He admits that he will not really know if he made the right decision until the journey is complete.

I'll tell you when I come back!

A committee has been formed to raise an estimated £14,000 for the trip, which includes the yacht that has been fully kitted out with modern navigational and safety systems. Pat Lawless hopes this will help avoid being run over by cargo vessels. This is not the only hazard mariners face at sea however, as they have ocean pollution to deal with, as well as creatures from the deep.

You can be attacked by a whale, you have sleeping whales.

The Limerick Sailing Club was where Pat Lawless learned to sail. No stranger to the Atlantic, he has sailed up and down the west coast of Ireland, and is looking forward to his voyage, which will be a busy one.

You don't get much time for leisure, unless you're in a calm or something, and that can be nerve wracking.

Loneliness can also be an issue for sailors, but Pat Lawless is happy with his own company and not too bothered by the prospect of several weeks at sea. On the question of age, he believes that it is simply a number,

I don't feel my age, I can tell you, thanks be to God.

His wife Nancy and his family are his greatest supporters, and have encouraged him all along, as they know that,

It's always been my dream.

When Pat Lawless reaches his destination, he plans to put the 'Iniscealtra' up for sale, and will be homeward bound on the slightly easier but far less challenging option of an aeroplane flight.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 28 May 1986. The reporter is Peter McNiff.