Monday, January 06, 2014

Jester Challenge 2014

One event I am looking forward to is the start of the Jester Challenge which will take place 1400 BST, Sunday, 11th May, 2014 at Plymouth. I shall not be there as a competitor, but as a spectator. Dreaming continues, but reality overrules! Most of my sailing these days is from the armchair. Nevertheless, if I can make it to Plymouth with ‘Minnow’, my Paradox sailboat, either by sea or by road, I shall be excited by the gathering and the send-off.

These tiny yachts between 20’ and 30’ will set sail for Newport, Rhode Island, USA.  There are no rules, only ‘guidelines’ which I’ve copied from the official Jester Challenge website:

The Jester Challenge is run on a ‘gentlemanly basis’ within the following guidelines:

  • for sailing vessels between 20 and 30 feet (including multi-hulls)
  • human power is the only acceptable alternative propulsion to that of the wind: rowing or clubhauling, for instance, are permissible
  • single-handed to Newport
  • one way
  • stops allowed
  • no time limit
  • engines may be fitted but only used to charge batteries for equipment such as mobile telephones, steering and navigation systems. The sole exceptions to this, within the spirit of the Jester Challenge, would be the avoidance of an imminent ‘mayday’ situation; responding to a distress call from a fellow seafarer or when within the harbour limits of an intermediate port en route. If the use of an engine - or the acceptance of a powered tow from another vessel, whether a Jester Challenger or not - becomes necessary to meet, for instance, a personal time limit or, simply, to avoid a frustrating calm, then the details should be declared on arrival to fellow Jester Challengers. By common agreement - and using the co-ordinator as an arbitrator if there is no common agreement - the arrival order may then be amended.
  • age of skipper to be over 18 years at the start
  • no fees
  • no inspections
  • no regulations: skippers will be entirely responsible for the equipment they take, based on their own experience
  • only hint of bureaucracy will be the signing of a form of indemnity accepting the skipper’s full duty of care for himself, his dependants and his fellow seafarers during his participation in the JC 2010.
  • skippers should ensure that they have the correct visa for entry into the USA. Experience suggests that non-US citizens can not have too much lead time for obtaining this outside the United States
  • entries (will be accepted up to twenty-four hours before the start


  • a 500 mile, non-stop voyage be made in the same vessel

at least third party insurance be obtained 


Jester Challenge 2014

‘Jester’ and Mike Richey

Rory McDougall and ‘Cooking Fat’

The Jester Challenge 50th Anniversary

Jester Challenge’s Sailing Purists (The Azores Jester Challenge)

Jester Challenge 2010



Unknown said...

Hello Bill, it's my earnest hope that you watch the start of the Jester Challenge, preferably having travelled there in Minnow, with of course, you daily blog to keep us all enthralled.

William Serjeant said...


I have yet to finish and prove 'Minnow' by testing her. If she is satisfactory, and I'm up to it, I may attempt the Channel cruise.

Getting to Plymouth before 11th May could be a real challenge. I would need to leave the River Crouch early in April, allowing at least 4 weeks for the 'voyage'.

Unless these strong westerlies we are experiencing calm down, the chance of success is not high.