After leaving Yarmouth on Monday I am now in Plymouth and in 48 hours time 23 of us will be sailing off towards the Azores a voyage of 1400 nautical miles as the crow flies.
I have entered the Jester Azores Challenge which is open to single-handed sailors in boats under 30 feet. This is my first Jester event and it has been great to meet up with the many characters in the Jester family. The challenge runs every two years and alternates between the Azores and across the Atlantic to Newport, Rhode Island. A shorter event was run last summer to Baltimore in Ireland. The idea was formed 10 years ago in the spirit of the legendary Blondie Haslar and the original OSTAR race (Original Single Handed Trans-Atlantic Race). In 1960 Blondie raced his junk rigged folkboat across the Atlantic and proved small boats can be just as seaworthy and safe as much larger ones. These days OSTAR have banned boats under 30 feet from entering deeming the risk too high.
The Jester Challenge exists as a low profile, non-commercial event for like minded sailors with a sense of adventure. There is a huge amount of camaraderie between the entrants and the emphasis is on self sufficiency and seamanship rather than being first across the line. There are in fact no rules, no regulations, no entry fees, no inspections. The only guidelines are:-
*must be single-handed – no crew
*boats under 30 feet
*human power is the only acceptable alternative source of propulsion other than the wind
*stops are allowed
*there is no time limit
*the challenge starts off the Western end of Plymouth breakwater at noon on Sunday 15th May
*the challenge finishes at Praia de Vitoria, Terceira, the Azores.
My aim is to update the website occasionally when at sea via text posts (no pics) and twitter updates and my position will be updated onto the tracker map automatically every 12 hours or so. Here’s hoping for following winds and a few fish on the line.