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.

Jester Challenge Symposium 2015

March 1, 2015 at 8:21 pm

I’m a bit behind with this blogging, but I was lucky enough to attend the Jester Challenge Symposium and Dinner, over in Ipswich at the end of January.

Now on paper it should have been pretty darn intimidating rocking up there, but I have to tell you that I was warmly received and made to feel very welcomed by the Jester family.

We had a whole 4 hours of talks followed by a Q and A with the Trans Atlantic Jesters, which, again on paper should have been a mini endurance test all of its own (I’m a fidgeter, if you ever get a choice don’t sit next to me…) but it wasn’t at all; really great, useful stuff and insights from everyone. I left at the end of the evening feeling very positive indeed about the Challenge, and very motivated to get on with my preparations. Let’s do this!

Basil Panakis has done a great job of editing down the 4 hours to a very manageable half hour video. Great stuff:


February 8, 2015 at 9:01 am

Winter is a time for the yachtsman or woman (or gardener) to rest up and plan, and plot and dream of the next coming season… I haven’t posted here since the end of November and I hope you haven’t worried that I have lost interest in my little Duet, I just had to prioritise some other stuff first.  But I’ve got heaps to tell you!

Firstly, I am very nearly through the purchase of a little cottage on the West Coast of Ireland (and as of last week have sale agreed on my place in Bristol). It’s been a bumpy ride, full of twists and dishonesty (and I’ll tell you all about it if ever we meet). Duet and I (and of course my dog Erin) hope to be relocated there fully by the end of the summer. It was very cheap but needs a lot of work!

Secondly I have gone and entered the Jester Baltimore Challenge, which is on the 14th June and goes from Plymouth to Baltimore in Ireland. I’ve joked to people that it will be my delivery trip but it’s 250 miles single handed with no engines allowed for propulsion. It is recommended that skippers have undertaken a 100 mile single handed passage beforehand. My longest passage with Duet was the last passage I did last season – 45 miles overnight from Helford to Plymouth, so I need to get that in early in the coming season.

I went to the Jester symposium and dinner in Ipswich last week and was really heartened by everyone’s very warm welcome and support. I’ve been given so much great advice and encouragement and would like to say thank you. You know who you are.

My plan for the season at the moment is to cruise back up to Poole, and then hop across to Cherbourg (which is 63 miles) and then back to Plymouth via the Channel Islands for the start of the Jester in early June. At the minute I’m thinking that I will cross Lyme Bay from Dartmouth to Weymouth straight.  I feel much more confident at the start of this season than I did last season, which I suppose is how it’s supposed to be… and of course testament to what a great little boat the Hurley 22 is. I (finally) bagged a Navik windvane on eBay this week (4th time lucky) which is going to enable me to increase my distances massively.  I helmed pretty much all the way last season.

When (not if!) I get to Baltimore I will take a more leisurely cruise round and up to our new home port, which will either be Galway or Westport in County Mayo. Great cruising, and it’s all a bit of an extension of last year’s Plan. I wasn’t ready for it then, but should be this year. Dare to dream, guys…

Before all that though, how can I resist a music video? Here’s Seu Jorge’s cover of Bowie’s ‘Changes’, sung in Portuguese in the film ‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou‘. One of my favourite films. Wes Anderson, Bill Murray, very whimsical…

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