I picked up an Astra IIIb sextant off Ebay for a bargain £120 a few months ago. Although I’ve not had a chance to take a sight I am very much looking forward to learning to use this fantastic piece of equipment!
That’s it, I’m on the list… no not that one… the Jester Challenge Baltimore 2019 list.
Although I’ve been planning and prepping for the 2019 JBC since, well before the 2017 one I didn’t really want to make my intentions known till closer to the date in case it didn’t happen.
One thing Sundance didn’t have when I bought her was roller reefing for her genoa, her previous owner opting for hank on sails as she was club raced with a crew. I thought I could manage with these sailing singlehanded and whilst I can it’s hard work, especially when the wind picks up and you have to change the sails in a good bit of Bristol Channel wind over tide. It was the sole reason I didn’t take part in the 2017 Jester Baltimore Challenge and with the 2019 event round the corner I thought I better get things sorted.
Roller reefing has been on the cards, well since I’ve owned her, but it’s such an expense I haven’t managed to get it till now!
I was asked earlier on in the year by a friend of mine if I wanted to crew on his lovely Rustler 31 for the Round the Island Race, before I finished reading his message I knew I was up for it. The RTIR is something most sailors want to try once, to sail with so many other boats in a relativity relaxed race. We hadn’t really prepared for the race, I’m not sure there was a need to. David regularly sails his boat single-handed only sailing to Scilly a few weeks before solo plus we had a full crew so there would be no shortage of hands.
I finally managed to get out on Sundance for the first night away of the season! The mother had little man for the day and he was at nursary the next so I had a free pass. I had planned on meeting up with a friend who wanted to have a sail to Cardiff but a weather window opened up for him to sail to the Isles of Scilly on his boat so he took it.
After a good few weeks of nice weather and no wind, it started to fill out and although it wasn’t awful, it was just on the edge of feeling comfortable with going out, especially on my own. I had put the feelers out to various people to see if they fancied a night away but being in the week they couldn’t make it either. I drove down to the club and even if I didn’t go for a sail I still have enough jobs to do to keep me busy.
The last blog post I mentioned I was allocated my permanent mooring but it might not be there, well if it was I couldn’t find it. I had an inkling it wasnt, I heard the person that was given it last year didn’t go on it and used a loan mooring as he couldn’t afford, didn’t want to or didn’t have the time to put a new one in. Not that I’m complaining! I wasn’t expecting to find a pile of rope on the bank but I had to look.
Well as we near the end of the year, Sundance is out of the water, I’m very slowly working my way through the list of winter jobs and thinking about sailing trips next year. NUSC doesn’t launch till April and I’m already itching to get back on the water.
I have a few interesting trips in the pipeline…
Since getting the diesel “issue” sorted on Sundance I’ve managed to get a good number of sails in with friends without any hiccups and felt confident taking her out on my own. The plan was to leave on the morning tide (about 08:00) and spend the whole day sailing down on the ebb and back up on the flood.
That was the plan but it didn’t quite end up like that.
I’ve followed the Jester for a few years now, ever since I looked at a little Corribee 21 for my first “big boat”. I read up on MingMing, Roger Taylor’s junk rig Corribee that has sailed across oceans and up to the Artic circle, this lead me to other sailors and boats and eventually the Jester Challenge. There’s three different challenges for solo sailors in boats between 20-30ft, originally the longest to Newport RI, USA, a shorter one to the Azores and finally one for people like myself to Baltimore South Ireland.