YBW caught up with Chris Jacks as he finished his single-handed circumnavigation around Britain, and now focuses on preparing for the OSTAR.
Now back in his home port of Liverpool, Chris Jacks is busy making repairs to his Nicholson 32, Roma.
His first solo journey sailing anti-clockwise around Britain, which finished on 20 June, certainly put the vessel through its paces ahead of competing in the OSTAR in 2017 and the 2018 Golden Globe Race.
“There were quite a lot of ups and downs,” explained 30-year-old Jacks. “Part of the boat broke – the tracks that connects the boom to the mast broke, but luckily I repaired it with lots of emergency rope. I had to use my spare kicker too as that snapped as I past John o’Groats”.
He continued: “The trip has helped with preparations. I learnt a lot about the boat. There is a lot of do to make her water right. I also need to improve the rigging and give her more buoyancy”.
Despite fog, running out of fuel and a near miss with a trawler, Jacks also had some positive experiences.
“The best bit was sailing around Cape Wrath (Scotland). I saw two killer whales,” he explained.
The solo skipper decided to leave Scrabster earlier than scheduled to avoid the 40 knot winds forecast for the Cape.
“It ended up being the most perfect day of my life. Although I was stuck in fog, that cleared and it was the nicest day. It was great surfing down fast overfalls from Cape Wrath and I also had dolphins which put on an amazing display,” said Jacks.
He said he received a fantastic welcome when he sailed back into Liverpool on 20 June, having left on 21 May.
“My family and friends were well made up to see me home. They gave me a big welcome in Liverpool when I turned up,” said Jacks.
“I got into the bar and there were six pints and three whiskies for me so it was a bit of a rough night,” he admitted.
In between doing “lots of little things” on the boat ahead of the OSTAR, Jacks is also flying to Tonga in the South Pacific.
“I am going to be doing a documentary for mainstream TV which will be on in January and February but I can’t say much more about it,” said the skipper, who is sponsored by Saturn Sails.
In December, Jacks will be meeting up in Paris, France with many of the other entrants for the 2018 Golden Globe Race.
They will also be attending the Paris Boat Show which runs from 3-11 December 2016.
Jacks is still searching for a title sponsor “which will get the name of my boat” for the Golden Globe Race.
The event will be like the 1968-69 original which was won by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.
Entrants will leave Falmouth to sail solo, non-stop around the world, via the five Great Capes.
After setting off on 21 May, solo sailor Chris Jacks has now reached Northumberland and is pushing ahead towards Scotland.
But, the 30-year-old skipper’s journey has not been all plain sailing after leaving his home port of Liverpool.
A near miss with a trawler in fog and fuel issues has certainly tested Jacks.
“I ran out of fuel in the North Sea. I put out a PANPAN and one of the service boats for the oil rigs came out and topped me up with fuel,” he explained.
“I had been stuck in the North Sea with no wind, there’s been fog and if I had not used the engine I would have been drifting backwards to Dover!”
However, Jacks is relishing the experience, which is helping him to get to know his Nicholson 32, Roma.
The 33 foot vessel, which was built in 1979, was bought by the adventurer last October.
“There’s a lot of little places where water is coming in; there is something wrong with the windows. Water is also coming through the mast. I need to do a lot of things to make the boat watertight when I get back,” he noted.
And watertight Roma will have to be.
Jacks is using his first solo journey sailing anti-clockwise around Britain as preparation for both the OSTAR in 2017 and the Golden Globe Race in 2018.
He said Roma is equipped for the two races.
“She is definitely up for the challenge. She’s like a tank and she’ll keep going as long as the rigging stays up,” he stated.
Jacks’ life is now a far cry from what it used to be four years ago when he was running his accident management business in Liverpool.
It was while watching a documentary about the 1968-69 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race that Jacks decided to change direction.
“I turned to my cousins and said ‘I am going to sail around the world’. I felt I was definitely going to do this. It was like electricity tingling through my body when I said it. I knew this was what I was meant to be doing,” said Jacks, who has also climbed 92 of the highest mountains in England in less than 40 days.
Unbeknown to Jacks, his life as an adventurer was already being followed by the founder of the 2018 Golden Globe Race, Don McIntyre.
“Don McIntyre has been following me and he contacted me one day and asked me to be the co-ordinator for the Golden Globe in the UK. It’s unbelievable,” said Jacks.
The 2018 race will be like the original, with participants leaving Falmouth to sail solo, non-stop around the world, via the five Great Capes.
All entrants have to sail without modern technology or satellite based navigation aids. They must sail in production boats between 32ft and 36ft overall designed prior to 1988. The vessel must have a full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge.
Roma meets these specifications.
Jacks admitted that his family weren’t supportive of his plans at first, but they have now come round as a result of the coverage and support he’s been receiving.
He said, at times, it has been a painful journey.
“I have sold my home, had to get rid of my dogs which really tore me apart as they’ve been through a lot with me. They’ve climbed every mountain with me but I couldn’t find anyone to look after them for the months I am away,” he stated.
“But, I’ve now got sponsors and I am living on the boat. I’ve had to make tough decisions but this is what it is all about – making sacrifices and tough decisions.”
Jacks is planning to be back in Liverpool before 2 July.
He said his only concern at the moment is “getting caught in bad weather around the Cape of Wrath (Scotland)”.
Chris Jacks left from his home port of Liverpool on 21 May to sail Britain in an anti-clockwise direction.
He is making the circumnavigation in his Nicholson 32, Roma. The 33 foot vessel was built in 1979.
Jacks described Roma as “a true ocean going boat that enjoys a strong breeze”.
He said during his seven-week trip, he expected to “come across many hazards”.
These, Jacks said, included: “sailing through English Channel shipping lanes as busy as the M6, dealing with some of the strongest currents in the world and navigating around sandbars and rocks that lurk just below the surface.”
He is planning to stop off at around 16 ports around Britain including Holyhead, Brighton and Aberdeen.
The 30-year-old is using the journey as part of preparations for the 2018 Golden Globe Race, which is being staged to mark the 50th anniversary of the legendary original.
The 1968/69 race was the world’s first solo non-stop circumnavigation, and was won by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston on Suhaili.
The 2018 race will be like the original Sunday Times event.
Entrants must depart Falmouth, England on 14 June 2018 and sail solo, non-stop around the world, via the five Great Capes and return to Falmouth.
Those taking part have to sail without modern technology or the benefit of satellite based navigation aids, using same type of yachts and equipment that were available to the competitors in that first race.
Competitors must sail in production boats between 32ft and 36ft overall designed prior to 1988. The vessel must have a full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge.
There will be a prize of £75,000 for the first yacht to finish before 22 April 2019.
Chris Jacks is the UK coordinator of the Golden Globe Race 2018, which is being run by Australian solo sailor and adventurer, Don McIntyre.
Jacks is currently building his Golden Globe support team, and is happy to hear from anyone wanting to know more or become part of his team.
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