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Jester Baltimore Challenge – Part 1 Plymouth to The Lizard

January 23, 2016 at 7:51 pm

Here’s Part 1 of my video of last summer’s Jester Baltimore Challenge which shows the start, from Plymouth to The Lizard.

I can’t believe it was only 6 months ago…

Alive and Well!

October 25, 2015 at 10:42 am

It’s been a while, eh? Sorry for disappearing on you like that. I’ve had really, really intermittent internet connectivity …And have been gardening.

I bought a 200 year old cottage in County Mayo back in February, and after I made it to Schull with Bill the weather was crappy, my deck fittings were leaking so everything was wet all the time and we literally had a pattern of a two day gale, followed by a day where the sea would have been too rough to go out, followed by 2 days of no wind at all, followed by another gale. Repeat.

So while I was bobbing up and down in Schull listening to the drips and unable to charge my phone because the sun wasn’t out enough, the cottage renovation was calling. Also, if the truth be known, Bill and I had front row seats for the search and rescue endeavours for this awful tragedy as we were leaving Baltimore which did give me the jitters going off on my own. The plan was still to try to get round and up to Galway. That part of the world is beautiful and rugged and wild, but the flip side of that is that it is remote and I hadn’t quite grasped what that means in reality until I got there. It was getting remoter and remoter and there’s a lot of lee shore with nowhere to take shelter.  So after waving Bill “Intrepid” Churchouse off on his voyage back to Poole I left Duet on a mooring in Schull in Mid July and never quite made it back… She’s now safely tucked up in a yard in West Cork for the winter.

So in the meantime, I had the water and electrics turned off to the cottage, made a veg garden, cleared the back garden of 15 x 40′ forestry trees creating about 10 tonnes of chippings and about the same of wood to log, and have had the sheds re-roofed. There’s a whole other blog there if the truth be known, if only I had the time…

But about 10 days ago we finally had the internet connected, even getting a speed of 6 meg! And I have now done a first edit of the 4 hours or so of footage I took from the Jester. I have had a few messages demanding to see some more Jester stuff but to be honest I hadn’t wanted to do it before; I was so bitterly disappointed with the “Lifeboat Incident” I didn’t want to look at the video. I just wanted to crawl under a rock to be honest.

I’m getting over that now though. Time heals, as they say, and it was exciting to see this stuff again and it has brought all the good stuff back. It was a damn exhilarating 3 and a half days to Courtmacsherry and in retrospect was actually pretty profound.

So here is 4 days condensed into 4 hours of footage, condensed into 4 and a half wobbly minutes on youtube. I’ve tried with this video to give you an insight into my experience of the Jester.  I’ve got more videos to do, with more on my decisions and mistakes, but I hope this was worth the wait.

Everything is OK

June 18, 2015 at 10:21 pm

After storming round the Lizard, anchoring at St Agnes in Scilly for a 4 hour nap, being becalmed overnight and then a 36 hour upwind slog across the Celtic Sea I closed the Cork coast yesterday evening sadly 35 miles downwind of my hoped for approach to Fastnet Rock.

I had a problem with my main set vhf, my handheld vhf battery had died, I was in very poor visibility in f5/6 with a 2m sea and had had a near miss with fishing boat with his AIS turned off so was on high alert. I also suspected I had a rope around the prop (which I did) and didn’t want to start the engine.

But I was sailing in to Kinsale off the wind under jib only, and intended to anchor there and in calm water lift the outboard and check the prop and rudder.

However, in these challenging conditions and with fatigue I pressed the wrong button on the Spot tracker as I prepared for my aproach. I was meant to send “Somethings amiss. Diverting to nearest port. Don’t worry” as I was heading for Kinsale but instead pressed the button that sent “I need help, please call the coastguard” to my mother who duly did what we had prepared.

As we closed the coast my phone signal came back in and out and I had persistent phonecalls from an 066 country code. When the signal  eventually had enough strength to connect, it was the coastguard and I was horrified to discover both the lifeboat and helicopter had been launched, to which I was oblivious as I had no radio watch.

I gave my current position and within 5 minutes I had the SAR helicopter overhead and a Trent class alongside.

Of course, it was clear they couldn’t leave me there in fog with no vhf and I was taken under tow and brought 13 miles to Courtmacsherry and brought alongside to the flash of photographers.

The local news reported a few inaccuracies, but there’s a photo. See it here: http://www.thejournal.ie/rnli-rescue-woman-off-cork-2168573-Jun2015/

There’s clearly alot to think about here, but apologies to everyone who saw the spot message.

It goes without saying I am of course extremely greatful to the coastguards at Falmouth and Valentia and the Courtmacsherry Lifeboat crew and the speed of response was both stunning and heartening.

And sorry mum.

Had an amazing few days, and keen to set off again. Hoping to get to Baltimore very, very soon.

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