June 22nd

The first two finishers were presented on the upper deck of the yacht club by Commodore Stew Abramson and Past Commodore Norm Bailey.

June 20th

Paul Mead, on board Independence ll, from Essex in the UK was the first Jester to finish the 2014 Challenge.
His adventure began May 11th from Plymouth, UK and ended at 22:41 local time (June 20, 2014) at Castle Hill.
Dick Bowman and I had the pleasure of taking his finishing time.
After finishing, Dick and I escorted him into the NYC marina and  secured his boat dockside. He was handed  the traditional
bottle of Sam Adams (ice cold) for his immediate enjoyment. He also received a bottle of champagne which I suspect he is saving to enjoy
The traditional award of a City of Newport Sailing Medallion will be made to Paul in the lounge on hopefully on Sunday.
Paul wife Rosemary who be arriving from the UK later today will be on hand.
Please say hello to them as they will be at the Club for several days. They are lovely people.
Norm Bailey
ps.This was a very hard crossing for Paul but you would never know it by the wonderful smile on his face.


May 29th

Norm's Notes:

It was a great honour to be allowed to start the race!

This photo was taken before dinner and I exchanged Burgees with the Comodore of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club. The Isle of Wight is in the background from across the Solent.

I had the opportunity to visit with the Whites and Hannah came from London where she is now a Broadcaster. She has very fond memories of her 3rd place OSTAR finish in 2009 and how great the members of our Newport Yacht Club were to her and her family.

May 27th

Here are two blogs and position reports for: Roger Fitzgerald who is 78 years young and finished 3rd in the last Jester and Basil Panakis who has a broken self steering bracket and has pulled into the Azores for repairs.

May 11th

Started 1300 BST Sunday 11th May



Newport, Rhode Island


It is becoming the norm that events connected directly with the Jester Challenge do not run to form nor indeed are necessarily disasters: they just happen and all add to the gaiety of the occasion.

This year, as with last year’s Baltimore Challenge, the weather tried it’s hardest to beat us.  Force 9 from the West with driving rain was forecast and indeed on the Saturday conditions were close to that. The forecast for today was no better and so it was decided to cancel the spectator craft in good time and have the start off the Royal Western Yacht Club’s start line from where the spectators could watch in comfort while the skippers could, or could not, sail depending on their individual wishes. It is not up to the coordinator to delay the start for that would imply taking that decision to sail or not to sail away from the skipper which of course is at the very heart of the Jester ethos. So at 1255 BST our very own, tireless friend and supporter Eric (who was first into Newport in 2006) fired the five-minute gun and Norm (our gallant and equally tireless supporter in Newport) fired the start gun. As it happened there was no one afloat on the line, indeed all the skippers were watching the firing from the Club. The wind was still gusting hugely and the rain was still driving in sheets – sometimes. Nevertheless, the Jester Challenge 2014 was now ‘open’!

Based on the maxim ‘seamanship not showmanship’ it was not the time for heroics but a calm assessment when best to face the Atlantic. At 1600 Andy Lane slipped and sailed, taking advantage of one of the increasing number of lulls while the others decided that a Monday morning (very early) start would give them a full day of light to get well beyond the Lizard. The forecast from Tuesday onwards offers a vast improvement in conditions.

The weather was not the only factor that failed to dampen the occasion. The skippers’ briefing went without a hitch, enhanced by Norm’s briefing of what to expect on arrival in Newport; however towards the end it was announced that both chefs in the Royal Western Yacht Club had, separately, been taken ill and that our dinner for 40 was in jeopardy….but, of course, it wasn’t. Thanks to the ingenuity of the club staff and the flexibility of Chandlers restaurant (also at the marina) all the uncooked food and two of the staff moved to the restaurant where a very cosy and convivial evening eventually ensued. Bravo Zulus all round!

There were no speeches but a toast to Blondie and ‘absent friends’ plus a second toast in honour of our supporting yacht clubs were drunk. Our guests included one past and the current Commodore of the Royal Western Yacht Club and the current Commodore of the Tamar River Sailing Club and their wives.

Another party, enjoyed by many, was held by Tony and Marsha Head in their fascinating Plymouth house.  Another round of applause…!

Those in Plymouth for the start were:
Len Hiley in Scallywag
Basil Panakis in Jaba
Andy Lane in Gwezer
Paul Mead in Independence II of Charlsian
Howards Chiver in Sandpiper
Roger Fitzgerald in Ella Trout III

Two skippers were also present pending a late start:
Trevor Leek in Jester
Guy Waites in Betsy

Others planning a late start are:
Robin Morritt in Scouse Mouse
Egor Korzh in Lom
There are a number of others from whom I have not heard recently who may well be having difficulties reaching Plymouth against the strong westerlies over the last 10 days.
 Sadly, one last-minute cancellation was JJ Lassalle in Gribou who suffered damage on his way to Plymouth. I know we will see JJ again.

Having studied the skippers and their vessels I have no doubt that everyone is more than capable of meeting this challenge. They are as ‘well-found’ a collection of yachts that I have seen since we began this whole venture.

Happy moons’l sailing to all, afloat and ashore but especially to those intrepid Jester Challenge skippers now heading for the New World and who knows what adventures on their way there and back.   Bon voyage.

Further ‘Sitreps’ will be issued when there is something of interest or importance to say.

May 9th 2014 Waiting..............

Force 8 conditions, some will be delayed. They're serving "Black Velvet's" while we wait.

 EDITORS NOTE: Black Velvet is a drink allegedly created by a Steward of Queen Victoria while the country was in mourning for Prince Albert (1861). The British had developed a liking for bubbly champagne and he created a drink of 4 ounces of champagne and slowly add 4 ounces of dark Stout.