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Jester Baltimore Challenge 2015

June 13, 2015 at 1:14 pm


It’s a hive of last minute preparations up here at the Tamar River Sailing Club.  I’m very nearly ready, just some final stowing to do, make some sandwiches and I’m doing to do some mince and cabbage in the pressure cooker later this evening too.

The weather is looking excellent, just have to make it round the Lizard before the tide turns foul at 0130 on Monday. If I don’t make it I will anchor in the Helford to wait.

I didn’t sleep very well at all last night, not enough red wine I think… Though it was more excitement than nerves. To be honest I just want to be off now!

Anyway, I’m going to try for a little nap now… And tomorrow you can follow my track here:  http://littleyachtduet.com/where-am-i/ Though don’t worry if I ‘disappear’. Apparently it can be a bit flakey :-/

But what do you do out there on your own?

June 9, 2015 at 4:17 pm

I fairly regularly get asked what I do out there on my own. “Don’t you get bored or lonely?”

Er, not really… Not often.


This was on Sunday morning, about 8am, about 15 miles south of Start Point. I’d left Plymouth at 1400 the previous day, headed South for 25 miles miles, then turned left for 25 miles and here I’d just turned North to head for Dartmouth (also 25 miles) and was using the engine to clear some shipping.

The weather was a bit gnarly leaving Plymouth, beating into a top end f5 with a big SW swell, but it eased and we turned east off the wind by nightfal…  And then by morning the wind had dropped right away.

Was good to test the new stuff. Bernard was brilliant, and the new AIS was money well spent I think.

However, the engine was a concern . The swell was lifting the engine, including the teak wedge it’s mounted on, up out of the lazarette locker. I thought it was going to come loose! A bit concerning at 6 kts and 30 degrees! I think I’ve figured out a way of fixing this though, and there’s still time.

I forgot to shut the sink seacock and had a bit of a panic when I saw the water overflowing onto the floor. Then I couldn’t find the bilge pump handle, then when I did I realised it should probably have a lanyard, like I’ve put on the washboards. And I should probably carry a spare…

I didn’t close the air vent on the fuel tank either, and I think some moisture got in the tank, as coming into Dartmouth the outboard was running really ragged and wouldn’t idle. Managed to get her on the pontoon ok, and fresh petrol has sorted it.

Got in at 1300. 85 miles covered and 23 hours at sea.

Really useful experience.

Tried the egg timer thing but couldn’t sleep. There was too much shipping.


My SHTF Locker

June 5, 2015 at 3:22 pm

Preparations continue apace for the Jester Challenge, just 9 days away now.

Duet is a small boat, and I am having a little trouble stowing everything, though to be fair the Hurley 22 does use its space quite well. I have no inboard engine so there’s a massive space under the cockpit even.

But I just wanted to show you the contents of my storm locker. I’ve chosen the first locker to port at the bottom of the companionway. It’s easy to get to, and the cushion on top is small and easy to handle.

So in here I have the stuff I might need in heavy weather, or first response in an emergency if something major broke (like the mast or rigging failed, or the tiller broke, or a sail ripped, or we sprang a leak or hit something): A real ‘SHTF’ situation… It’s not a very big locker, and as well as this stuff I have amassed a fairly respectable tool and spares kit over the past couple of years which is stored in another 2 under bunk lockers.

Storm locker

But in here I have put the following:
Bolt croppers (for cutting away rigging)
Hacksaw (for cutting away rigging if conditions are too bad to be able to use bolt croppers, which need two hands. Will also obviously cut wood and fibreglass)
Sail repair tape (sewing kit elsewhere)
Cable ties
Gaffer tape
A cone drogue
A builder’s bag (for use as a storm drogue as an alternative to the cone)
Wooden bungs (I did change all the seacocks last year though)
Spare winch handle. (I know from experience it’s very easy to lose these over the side…)
Flares (and I have a white handheld flare mounted just inside the companionway)

It does all fit in there nicely, and I’ve put turnbuckles on all the lockers (and the floor) now so it should all stay in there if we get rolled.


Hopefully though this won’t happen, and I won’t need this stuff… But I know it’s there.

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