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 .