Friday, June 28, 2019

Jester Baltimore Challenge 2019.

The Jester Baltimore Challenge (JBC) is an event for single handed sailors with small, approx. 20ft to 30ft, boats who get together to sail on a reasonably long (261 miles from Plymouth or 227 from Pwllheli) voyage spanning multiple nights at sea if done without stopping.

In many ways it is a counter culture event where everything is down to the skipper rather than governed by rules dictated by organisers, the Jester essentially has no rules, the course is agreed (Leave Plymouth, turn right and go to Baltimore leaving the Wolf, Bishop and Fastnet rock lighthouses to starboard (with similar course directions for the alternate start in Pwllheli). Use of engines is only permitted in very limited circumstances if you wish to claim as having completed. That’s about it, no equipment lists, construction rules, scrutineering, entry fees, prizes, handicaps or anything else. And if you want you can stop off on the way.

“Jester, not 'a bl**dy joke', but a work of genius!”
A tribute to the great innovations of Blondie Hasler

This, of course, refers to the much longer Jester Challenges to the US and to the Azores but the ethos is the same and reflects that of the first Observer Single Handed Transatlantic race sailed for a half crown (12.5p) bet. When the smaller boats were excluded from the OSTAR (now the Original Single Handed Transatlantic Race) the Jester challenges were set up and named after the small boat sailed in the 1st OSTAR by Blondie Hasler, no stranger to small boats, he led the “Cockleshell Heroes” in the canoe based commando attack in WWII and was one of the founders of the OSTAR.

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