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Baltimore 2019

Gitane

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Joined
18 Dec 2010
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3,503
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Near Maldon, Essex
I have entered the Baltimore Challenge this summer.

Very exciting, as this is my first Jester, and first time I will do such a passage.

I will be on my Westerly Griffon 26, Kerrin II.

Whilst I am pretty sure the boat is up to the trip, I will find out on this trip whether I am actually up to it.

Any hints and tips on, well, just about anything, would be gratefully accepted.
 

Gitane

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18 Dec 2010
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3,503
Location
Near Maldon, Essex
I did receive the following advice from someone which I thought might be of interest. These are some excellent points.

Many coming to Plymouth for a Jester want detailed organisation and 'what do I do/where do I go/what about a reserved berth/who will steer me......' but the answer is simply that you are expected to be generally self-reliant, like the others. Club members and other Jesters will guide and advise, without being pushy, and all the 'uncertainties' just resolve themselves. After all, no-one knows who will actually turn up on the day - it's usually less than half those whose names are put on the 'Suspects' sheet. The reasons are many - from a mast falling down to a wife's throwing a wobbly. Doesn't matter. And the sailing's easy, unless you want to go rock-hopping.

Some people come far further than the 'Challenge' itself just to participate e.g SW France, St Petersburg, The Clyde.

It's very much about doing your own thing, with seamanship. Others will keep an eye out, but you are 'master under God' in your own wee boat. Should you decide to stop along the way - to have a sleep, to have a beer, to have a second think - then that's fine. A phone call to the Organiser is sufficient, just out of courtesy to others.

It is not a race. I say again, IT IS NOT A RACE. Having said that, there are always some who race each other. So what?

It's easy to agonise over boat preparation - every conceivable last little job - and get one's knickers in a twist about it. The basics matter, of course, such as 'Can I keep the ocean on the outside? Can I move the boat along, and can I steer it?' The rest of what you do, and have along, is 'discretionary'.

It's important to keep the thing in perspective. It's VERY important to......

I benefitted from having been over that way several times over the years - I knew Ireland was where I'd left it - and I knew I could get into weather havens along the way, in any conditions. To that end, I'd suggest for peace of mind that you have suitable charts of Scillies with you and a pre-planned route in from the south and the north-west.... bearing in mind that you may want to use that plan when it's dark and stormy and you're very tired. The Cove at St Agnes/Gugh is a fine 'pit stop', as is New Grimsby Harbour from the NW..... both capable of entry in driving rain and low viz. The harbour-pool at St Mary's is wide open to big seas from the west and the mooring buoys are often all taken. Not my first choice of safe shelter!

I'd countenance giving the Lizard, the Crim Rocks and the SouthWestern Rocks and Ledges a VERY wide berth. The Bishop Light is NOT the outer limit of dangers, and the tide streams set though and onto the hazards, not round the outside. Lots of Fastnet racers, coming back tired, find that out the hard way, have to start engines.... and retire.

Baltimore Harbour is easy to enter, and there are other easy safe havens east and west, if you are blown that way. There are moorings off the little town, the sailing club hosts us as visitors, and there are free anchorages aplenty.

I found it important to have 'big, fat' nav lights. Most yots have weebly little ones, the minimum legal. That's not what you want, but rather to be seen as far off as possible. Extra battery-powered lanterns are helpful.
and

It's not a race. It doesn't really matter when you arrive, so long as you don't miss the Pirates' Party in the sailing club. Therefore it's the enjoyment of the passage that more important. Keeping yourself warm, dry and comfortable is a large part of that. I made myself a 'sling seat' across the companionway, which was far better on the botty than the hard edge of the opening. Made a difference, and cost me effectively nothing.

Did I mention that you carry Radio Devon almost halfway across, then you get Radio Cork - both from high relay transmitters.

I own and used several personal tethers that had accumulated, so I used two fixed in the cockpit. I'd also fitted a pair of cleats on the coachroof P&S, for lines and I fitted through-bolts, of course, one each long enough for a ringnut. Onto those, inside and each side, I clipped another personal tether. That meant I could clip on easily before opening the hatch, if I found myself in tumbling seas. I didn't, but the tethers hanging down helped me a lot in hauling myself out of the leeward steeply-heeled quarter berth. I also found that, with a couple of tool boxes stacked together on the floor at the foot of the c'way steps, and a spare berth cushion on top, I could snooze 'athwartships' - much more convenient.

The navigation is easy. There's lots of sea room. It is advised to hold well to the 'left side' ( upwind ) of the direct course, for tide and wind tend to set one to the right, which leads to a windward beat to get up to and round the Fastnet Rock - which can be seen for a long way.

Everyone will advise that one becomes very familiar with setting and adjusting the windvane ( or 'lecky autopilot, if you must ) long before the start. Many fail to do that, which leads to many unnecessary and wet hours in the cockpit, blisters on hands, and more than enough unrepeatable swearing at oneself.
 

Spuddy

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Joined
8 Jul 2003
Messages
1,942
Location
Kent
How's everybody progressing?
As always, it's priorities for me;. The jobs to do are all second level, ie not vital. There's the odd dribble from parts of the deck but the solution is to put the stuff in the lockers into plastic boxes or else into a bucket on saloon floor.
I can get by with battery powered nav lights but it would be preferable to complete the last leg of the wiring for the proper, brighter ones.
Engine service.
Odd bits of sewing such as replacing the bust clips at the front of the stackpack.
There's also the wiring to finish off for the anchor windlass ( there's posh ). But I've managed without for last few years.
Can't believe it, there must be more. I'll have another look around tomorrow, find the lists and probably get in a tizzy.
 

Gitane

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Joined
18 Dec 2010
Messages
3,503
Location
Near Maldon, Essex
My list is not too long....... so far:

Solar panel installation. A must.
Replace main compass. A must.
Fix one of the grommets on the sail. A must.
Service life jacket. A must.
Install emergency nav lights. A must.
Replace main nav light bulbs with LED bulbs. Medium priority
Replace sink tap. Medium priority.
Install heater. Low priority.
 

John Willis

Member
Joined
3 Sep 2015
Messages
39
Hello,

I am also in the 2019 Jester Baltimore challenge. I feel a bit of a fraud as my boat is bigger than 30'. My excuse is that I was going to enter in my Sadler 290, but the opportunity to get the current boat came along and I couldn't let it go! ES-T doesn't mind, so that's fine with me.

Anyway, as has been said, it isn't a race - I wouldn't know how to anyway. Preparations are going fine (though Bacon Grill seems hard to find), except I picked up diesel bug in Spain so am trying to get rid of that.

Good luck to one and all.
 

Gitane

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Joined
18 Dec 2010
Messages
3,503
Location
Near Maldon, Essex
JW,

I’ll be starting from Plymouth as well, so I look forward to meeting you and, reading the entry list,Pippin your boat.

Ron
 

John Willis

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3 Sep 2015
Messages
39
Hello Gitane,

yes Pippin is the boat. I guess you are a Westerly man - good choice. I had one years ago. Feel free to email if you wish.
 

Gitane

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18 Dec 2010
Messages
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Location
Near Maldon, Essex
Hello Gitane,

yes Pippin is the boat. I guess you are a Westerly man - good choice. I had one years ago. Feel free to email if you wish.
Hi John,

Yep, a Westerly Griffon. As per my previous post, this will the first time I have done a challange such as this, so it will be interesting to see how the boat and I get on.

Also, whilst I have two tiller pilots on boards, I will see if I can use sheet to tiller steering for most of the way. I have used this on short passages in relatively calm waters. But, I do wonder if this kind of steering will work in the swells of the Irish Sea.

If not, then I guess I am going to have to consider purchasing a wind vane for steering on longer passages.

Ron
 

John Willis

Member
Joined
3 Sep 2015
Messages
39
Nice boat Ron,

I am sure both you and the boat will manage just fine, barring extreme weather, which will sort all of us out.

I have rotten history with tiller pilots - I got through 3 on my Sadler 290, 2 of them while doing my 2,000 mile solo trip in 2015. I have to admit to me being at least partly to blame, as I never reefed early enough and probably didn't balance the boat properly.

Now I do have a wind vane, I have to do both those things so I guess a vane makes one a better sailor! Which is good because I never was much of one.
 

Gitane

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Joined
18 Dec 2010
Messages
3,503
Location
Near Maldon, Essex
Nice boat Ron,

I am sure both you and the boat will manage just fine, barring extreme weather, which will sort all of us out.

I have rotten history with tiller pilots - I got through 3 on my Sadler 290, 2 of them while doing my 2,000 mile solo trip in 2015. I have to admit to me being at least partly to blame, as I never reefed early enough and probably didn't balance the boat properly.

Now I do have a wind vane, I have to do both those things so I guess a vane makes one a better sailor! Which is good because I never was much of one.
2,000 miles solo? Respect!

Where from and where to?

I hope we can meet up in Plymouth or Baltimore as I would love to hear about your experience. What worked and what didn’t?
 

John Willis

Member
Joined
3 Sep 2015
Messages
39
That's kind of you, but it wasn't non stop. I went from Guernsey, England S. Coast, Irish Sea, Ireland, Holyhead, IOM, up round Cape wrath, Orkneys (friend joined for 10 days), Fair Isle, Shetland, long run back to Scotland, Caledonian (wife joined for a week) etc. Weather pretty crap that year. I was aboard for about 4 1/2 months so became quite intimate with the Sadler 290. Boat never missed a beat though tiller pilots and electronics caused issues. Its all in a blog, which I wrote for family.

When I got Pippin, I headed straight off to Penzance then Baltimore, not so clever as en route I discovered issues, which meant stopping. This year with main issues fixed I crossed Biscay to Spain from Penzance, down the Atlantic coast, then long run home from south of Finisterre, round Ushant. Great boat and wind vane priceless. Feel free to email if you want any more.

Sailing plans are notoriously flexible, but all being well I hope to be in Plymouth a couple of days before D-Day.
 

Gitane

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Joined
18 Dec 2010
Messages
3,503
Location
Near Maldon, Essex
My plan, or giving sailing, intent, after Baltimore is to head east and then up the Irish and beyond to circumnavigate the U.K. Any recommendations on marina and anchorages (and pubs!) would be greatly appreciated. Also, is your blog available on the internet?
 

John Willis

Member
Joined
3 Sep 2015
Messages
39
Excellent intention and you will enjoy it immensely I am sure. There are more marinas now than in 2015 - for example I have just read about new marinas in the Outer Hebrides - so you will have even more choice. Of course I have a few favourites, both marinas and anchorages. I chose not to head down the east coast of England so perhaps some unfinished business.

You can access the blog here https://ajay290.wordpress.com/ but its pretty long so feel free to email anytime.

Meanwhile I'll keep you posted of my arrival in Plymouth - I will probably go Guernsey, Weymouth (to see family) then Plymouth. Where are you based?
 

Gitane

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18 Dec 2010
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Near Maldon, Essex
Thanks for that.

I am based at Bradwell on the river Blackwater.

I am planning to depart on Jun 1st and head to Plymouth, popping into various marinas and anchorages on the way. If all goes well, I hope to get to Plymouth a few days before the start.
 
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