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  1. #1
    Guest

    Default Welcome to the Jester Challenge forum

    Jake Kavanagh from Practical Boat Owner writes:

    The Jester Challenge is a bi-annual event in which boats of under 30ft compete in a single-handed ‘race’ to Atlantic destinations.

    In June 2008, the race is from Plymouth to the Azores. In June 2010, it leaves Plymouth for Rhode Island, America.

    In a bid to recapture the very essence of ocean racing, there are no entry fees, no judges, no committees, no scrutineering, and no real limits, with the exception that all boats taking part should be under 30ft loa.. (Bigger boats can take part by invitation from the other competitors.) If you feel you and your boat are up to it, you’re welcome to join in.

    The responsibility is totally on each skipper to set off fully prepared for the journey ahead.

    To help with preparation, it is recommended that they compete a 500-mile non-stop offshore passage in the competing boat, to iron out any snags.

    Last years Challenge saw 11 competitors leave for America, with two completing the trip. The rest withdrew at various stages due to gear failure or storm damage, but all made it safely home.

    What appeals to PBO is that it gives ocean racing back to the ordinary yachtsmen, many on a tight budget. The competing boats are all modified cruising yachts – with several of them under 7 metres (22ft) loa. Some of the ideas for short-handed sailing we have seen have been ingenious.

    So far, over 55 skippers have registered for the Azores race in 2008, and the entries are still coming in. Challengers for the Atlantic in 2010 are already in the 40’s.

    Roger Taylor was a competitor in last years Atlantic Challenge in his junk-rigged Corribee 21 Ming-ming, and has summed this new forum up for us…

    ‘The Jester Challenge has been described as ' a modern experiment in old-fashioned skipper responsibility'.

    This forum is for all those interested in the single- or short-handed sailing of small (typically under 30') boats over long distances. It is for those who value good seamanship over out-and-out speed, who want to take full and total responsibility for their conduct at sea, and who abhor the rules, regulations and general 'nannydom' that threaten our freedoms.

    The forum is open for discussion and exchanges of information on any related topic, be it design, boat selection, planning and preparation, equipment, victualling, safety factors, routeing, heavy weather tactics - anything from the best boat to the best bottle-opener!

    The accent is on developing self-sufficiency born of rigorous and uncompromising preparation, a full and realistic assessment of the risks of sea-going in small craft, all combined with good sense and good seamanship...’

    More details of the jester Challenge can be found at .
    http://www.jesterinfo.org

  2. #2
    Guest

    Default Re: Welcome to the Jester Challenge forum

    Jake's asked me to post these pics from the start of the 2006 Jester Atlantic Challenge:

    provisions stowed in Roger Taylors 21ft Corribee for his Atlantic Challenge


    Bill Churchouse aboard his Westerly 22 at the start line.


    Ming-ming, carrying an extra forward sail to supplement her junk rig. Note the two large oars that also double as a bow sprit, and the lack of an engine.


    Peter Hill in Shanti. His 'minimal' Kingfisher 22 made it across to Rhode Island in 44 days.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Welcome to the Jester Challenge forum

    What a great idea! .... and I love the Jester site (Now bookmarked!)

  4. #4

    Default Re: Welcome to the Jester Challenge forum

    Another reason why I shouldn't have sold my Splinter, I fear! That said, I am still seriously opposed to single-handed ocean sailing... However, as a 'safety professional', that's hardly surprising, is it?
    But no pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of Truth.
    (Francis Bacon)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    39

    Default Re: Welcome to the Jester Challenge forum

    It would certainly be good to know your reasons for opposing single-handed ocean sailing.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Welcome to the Jester Challenge forum

    Extremely briefly:

    On one hand, fatigue is an enormous problem, affecting one's ability to function effectively in any environment, let alone offshore yachting. You might argue that people should be allowed to put themselves at risk, and I would probably not take huge issue with that, so long as those involved are happy to be left to their ends rather than expecting rescue.

    On the other hand, I disagree fervently with those who suggest that keeping a good lookout is something that can justifiably be excused the single-handed fraternity.
    But no pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of Truth.
    (Francis Bacon)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    5,019

    Default Re: Welcome to the Jester Challenge forum

    [ QUOTE ]
    .............You might argue that people should be allowed to put themselves at risk, and I would probably not take huge issue with that, so long as those involved are happy to be left to their ends rather than expecting rescue............

    .............On the other hand, I disagree fervently with those who suggest that keeping a good lookout is something that can justifiably be excused the single-handed fraternity. ...............


    [/ QUOTE ]

    To deal with your first point. Granted that singlehanded yachtsmen do sometimes get into difficulties but do you know of any instance where one has shown any expectation that he/she is entitled to be rescued? Certainly they might let it be known that they are in difficulties and be very grateful if someone does help but that's a far cry from expecting help. Also do you know of any instance where some person or organisation has been unwilling to help; most people admire personal courage and are happy to do what they can to foster it.

    Secondly, a singlehanded yachtsman in a small boat of the type used in the Jester Challenge offshore poses no measurable risk to anyone else's life or property. In the extremely unlikely event of him/her colliding with another yacht in the open ocean it will probably be going in the same direction, as determined by the wind, so it is only going to be a glancing blow. If he/she collides with a ship or a reef the only person who will suffer is the singlehander.
    They also develop an awareness, or sixth sense, of what is going on around them which the molly-coddled majority never experience.

    You say you are a "safety professional". You are therefore used to carrying out "risk assessments". Perhaps you would do one for us? I'm not being facetious here; it really would be interesting to have someone look at all the factors involved and tell us how risky offshore single-handed sailing really is to other parties.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Welcome to the Jester Challenge forum

    Should this apply to people who fall off mountains or people who start fires by smoking in bed or leaving chip pans on? Should they be left to look after themselves?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Welcome to the Jester Challenge forum

    Keith Walker summed it up best: "This forum is for all those interested in the single- or short-handed sailing of small (typically under 30') boats over long distances. It is for those who value good seamanship over out-and-out speed, who want to take full and total responsibility for their conduct at sea, and who abhor the rules, regulations and general 'nannydom' that threaten our freedoms."

    Unfortunately, the 'nannydom' Mr. Walker refers to is driven not just by the political agenda of increasingly intrusive governments but also the commercial imperatives of those who make a living as 'safety professionals'.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    5,019

    Default Re: Welcome to the Jester Challenge forum

    [ QUOTE ]
    Should this apply to people who fall off mountains or people who start fires by smoking in bed or leaving chip pans on? Should they be left to look after themselves?


    [/ QUOTE ]

    Two different situations there.

    The lone mountaineeer is somewhat akin to the lone sailor, he is risking nobody's life except his own [unless he falls on someone!] and if he gets in a jam he can only hope that a mountain rescue team will help him, in the same way that he would be willing to help other mountaineers.

    Someone who starts a fire in the way you suggest is not only risking his own life but is also putting his neighbours at risk. It is in everyone's interest to deal with the fire and, in any case, he does pay for the Fire Brigade so even though he may be a bloody fool, he is entitled to their service!

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