Sunday, May 31, 2015

Jester Baltimore Challenge 2015


Close-up of the original 'Jester's' rig

There have been a number of Jester Challenges. The most recent was the Jester Challenge of 2014 for skippers of vessels between 20 and 30 feet, including multihulls. The endeavour or challenge was for participants to sail their yachts single-handed from Plymouth UK to Newport, Rhode Island, USA. The spirit of the challenge was for individuals to test themselves in terms of seamanship and total self-reliance, unlike many of today’s commercially sponsored and highly organized ocean sailing events. There were to be few rules, other than when to start, where to start and where to go. The gathering together of sailors was to be on a ‘gentlemanly’ basis, which suggests to me that it was done in the spirit of friendship and comradeship, not competition.

The inspiration for these sailing challenges can be traced back to the 1960 Single-handed trans-Atlantic Race when Lt Colonel H. G.  Hasler invited Val Howell to take part with his Scandinavian Folkboat, ‘Eira’. Hasler had modified a similar Folkboat named ‘Jester’. He completely decked her in and re-rigged her with a single Chinese lugsail. This unique setup provided protection for him from the elements. He was able to work the boat from within her cabin where all control lines were to hand. Additionally he had the aid of a wind-vane steering system that he designed and built himself. Francis Chichester famously won the race in a much bigger yacht, ‘Gipsy Moth 111’.

Another of the Jester challenges was the Azores Challenge of 2008, a shorter ocean passage from Plymouth to Tierciera Island in the Azores Archipelago.

The upcoming event, the Jester Baltimore Challenge 2015, will be for less experienced sailors who will be able to try their hand alongside some of the veterans of previous challenges. The spirit of the event will be as before. There will be two starting venues: Plymouth, and Pwllheli, the aim being for participants to sail solo the 250 nautical miles from either venue to Baltimore in the Republic of Ireland.

This will be a wonderful opportunity for anyone wanting to give it go, perhaps to gain confidence for going further afield and to find out if long-distance sailing is for them. They will also have a chance to meet more experience ocean sailors.

The Baltimore Challenge is scheduled to start on Sunday, 14th June 2015, departing from both venues at mid-day. As I prepare this article there are 51 entries!*


Jester Challenges Website

Jester Challenge 2014

Jester Challenge 2014

Plymouth UK

Newport, Rhode Island

Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race

Wind-Vane Self-Steering: How to Plan and Make Your Own

‘Jester’ and Mike Richey

The Jester Challenge 59th Anniversary

Jester Challenge’s sailing purists

Jester Azores Challenge 2008

Herbert Hasler - “Blondie”

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Guy Thompson T 24

Guy Thompson designed three ‘T’ yachts: the T 24, the T 27 and the T 31. Here we have his smallest, the T 24.

His practice was to first make a scale model; test it, modify if necessary and test again, and when satisfied use the lines for the drawings of the full-size yacht. Interestingly he wanted minimum wetted surface, a high ballast ratio and a skeg mounted rudder placed well aft for directional stability. Both ends of the boat were full to prevent pitching. This combination with a very practical interior for a crew of two or three was a winner. She was fast and could be described as a cruiser/racer.

Forget the fact that she has five berths, for the interior is small by modern standards, and with five persons aboard they would feel cramped.

As I prepare this post, there’s a very nice Thompson T24 at Ebay. The asking price is £9,000. To see the advert key in the following number into the Ebay search box: 391143969201.

LOA:  24 ft
LWL: 21 ft
Beam: 8 ft
Draught: 5 ft 3 in


Guy Thompson T24

Thompson 24

Guy Thompson Yacht Designs

Guy Thompson T24 (Nice photo)

Design 1969 Journal – Guy Thompson 24

Guy Thompson

Guy Thompson

Thompson 24 for Sale £3,750

Friday, May 29, 2015

Charlie Pitcher Ready for Solo Round Britain Row

On numerous occasions I have written about Charlie Pitcher. He is a hero of mine, an extraordinary athlete and adventurer.

The time has come for him to set off on his valiant attempt to row around Britain. He plans to depart from the Royal Burnham Yacht Club this Sunday, 31st May, 2015 at midday. No doubt there will be a big send-off with many people cheering him and wishing him well.

The task ahead will be very daunting knowing that if he is to succeed he will have to row a minimum of 2,100 miles. There will be many hazards to overcome, natural and man-made. His most formidable adversary will be the wind, but there will be times when it will be his best friend, giving him a helping hand. Unlike the open waters of the ocean, waters around Britain are less deep, and fast tidal currents alternating between ebb and flow trouble the water’s surface.  Because of his proximity to land he will be confronted with headlands, sand banks, tidal races and overflows, plus wind farms, oil rigs, and all types of shipping.

He will have little respite and he will find it hard to sleep. If he is to row non-stop, except when resting or at anchor, he will need God on his side to succeed. I shall pray for his safety and for God to look favourably upon him.


Charlie Pitcher’s Website and Blog

Charlie Pitcher

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Elizabethan 29

The Elizabethan 29 can be described as a Modern Classic yacht. Designed by Kim Holman, she has similar underwater lines to his clinker Stella,* except this GRP boat has a smooth moulded hull and she has an elegant counter stern. The first Elizabethan 29 was designed and built in 1960. She had an external ballast keel, but from 1969 onwards, production boats had their keel ballast encapsulated within the hull moulding.  Peter Webster Ltd, of Lymington, the builders of these yachts, ceased trading in 1976 and the moulds were bought by Drummond Bayne Marine of Woolston, Southampton.

Length over all:
Maximum draft:
Hull material:
Glass Fibre
3500 kg

Elizabethan 29
Elizabethan 29
Overview – Elizabethan 29 (PDF download)
Elizabethan 29 Owners Handbook (PDF download)
Elizabethan 29 – Sailboat Data details
1962 Elizabethan 29 for Sale £7,500
Elizabethan 29 Cruiser/Racer for Sale £4,950
Elizabethan 29 for Sale £5,995
Kim Holman

Monday, May 25, 2015

Delphia 29

Yesterday I featured a wooden, shallow draught sailing yacht. Here is another shallow draught yacht, but, being constructed in GRP, she is completely different in style and structure. Luxury, quality and performance are her key features.

This up-market 28’ 2” LOA yacht is for sale on the books of Clarke and Carter at Burnham-on-Crouch Yacht Harbour. She was built in 2007, and she complies with the European Recreational Craft Directive as a category B vessel, classifying her as being suitable for offshore waters.  Her lifting keel and special foredeck ‘A’ frame mast lowering system gives her the added advantage of also being suitable for inland waterways.

According to your tastes, she’s the sort of yacht you either love or hate. If you are a traditionalist, you’ll hate her and if you are a modernist, you’ll love her. Whatever camp you find yourself in, you cannot deny her practicality.


LOA: 28' 2"
Beam: 9' 8"
Displacement: 4000 kilograms
Min Draft: 2' 0"
Max Draft: 5' 3"
Ballast: 1200 kilograms


Delphia 29 for Sale at Clarke and Carter, Burnham-on-Crouch - £39,750 (Reduced from £44,750 - see last photo above)

Delphia 29

Delphia Yachts

Recreational Craft Directive

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Shoal Draught Sailing Cruiser

I couldn’t resist photographing this traditional, clinker-built gaff cutter. More than likely she’s fitted with a steel centreplate.  I feel certain she has internal ballast, perhaps in the form of lead or cast iron ingots. There may be some external iron ballast forming part of her long, very shallow keel, which will give her support when taking the ground.

She is obviously designed for shallow water sailing, and she could appropriately be kept at a mud berth. She would be ideal for exploring the East Coast Rivers and the Thames Estuary.

I love the fact that she is sturdily built with strong fittings. It’s a shame that the prop has had to be offset to one side, and that it is rather large, but this is preferable to an outboard motor on the transom which would look rather ugly and be out of keeping with her wholesome appearance. There’s no way of knowing from the photographs what colour her sails are, but I expect they are tan in the style of old-fashioned cotton tanned sails. Her heavy duty road trailer is a bonus, which will allow her owner to take her to fresh cruising grounds, or to bring her to his home for winter lay-up and maintenance.

She’s a gem, well worth looking after – a vessel that can give satisfaction to her owner.

P.S. If anyone can identify her as one of a specific class, and her designer, I would be pleased to be informed. She’s similar to a Finesse or maybe a Dauntless; on the other hand, she may be a one-off.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Prelude, an Ian Proctor Small Sailboat - Part 2

Ian Proctor is well known for designing small sailing boats: both dinghies and cruisers. Perhaps his most versatile boat is the Wayferer, of which over 10,800 have been built. He designed the plywood Seagull and her bigger sister, the Seamew for the Bell Woodworking Company. Afterwards he designed a number of of GRP cruisers, including the Nimrod, the Eclipse, the Pirate and the Prelude.

The boat featured here is his Prelude 19. 300 were built by Rydgeway Marine, and 208 by Pegasus. Ridgeway Marine’s brochure states that three keel types were available: deep fin, (3’ 9”) swing keel, (2’ 0” to 4’ 6”) and bilge keels. (2’ 3”) New owners could choose to have a standard rig, which was the normal choice for cruising, or a masthead rig for racing. The latter has four headsails - one more than the standard rig.

Both versions have four berths, a galley and a sea toilet. There are lockers under all berths, and two large lockers either side of her spacious self-draining cockpit. Internal mouldings make for a clean and maintenance free interior. Headlining throughout eliminates condensation.

All in all, she’s a smart cruiser/racer, giving good value for money.


LOA                        19’ 3”
LWL                        17’ 0”
Beam                       6’ 10”


Prelude, an Ian Proctor Small Sailboat (Part 1)

The Prelude Owners Association

Prelude Brochure (PDF download)

Prelude 19 –

Ridgeway Marine Ltd

Prelude 19 for Sale (Sold, but good photos)

Ian Proctor

Prelude 19 Sailing – YouTube Video

Prelude 19 Sailing – YouTube Video

Prelude 19 Sailing N/E Scotland – YouTube Video

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Jack’s ‘Opti-Plus’ Sailing Dinghy

Jack Fritz who lives in Missouri responded with a comment to my recent article about a Walker Bay 10 sailing dinghy. I mentioned I was looking for a small, stable sailing boat that I might use on my local river for day sailing. A Walker Bay 10 might have been suitable, but on looking at her more closely I found certain shortcomings; for example, her sail could not be reefed, and it was impossible to fit an outboard without first removing the rudder.

I was delighted that readers came up with suggestions as to a suitable craft. Jack said he was in his mid 70’s and wanted to downsize from a Capri 18. He went on to explain how he built a dinghy based on an Optimist dinghy and if I wanted to learn more about her, he would be pleased to send me photos.

He has given me permission to reproduce his email and photos.
Here’s the email:


I wanted to downsize from the Capri 18 and buy a used boat that would be 12' or less in length, as here in Missouri, it need not be titled or registered. And I did not want to have to step a long mast every time that I wanted to sail for an hour two. I also wanted something that could be dropped off of the trailer and ready to go in 15 or 20 minutes. I could not find that such an animal existed, so I hit upon the idea of expanding the Opti to 9'6" in length and 57" in beam.  In the attached photos, you can see that the boat fits one grandkid and me just fine. Like you, I really wanted to buy a used fixer-upper but could not find what I wanted. And my wood working skills and equipment were minimal so there was a steep learning curve.

I used the Opti sail and rig design for simplicity, ease of handling and low cost. For added power, I added the 10 square foot jib. Also have read that a sloop rig will outpoint a cat rig; however, I have not yet proved that premise.

One photo shows the wood frame made mostly of pine 1 X 2's. The keel board is 1 X 8. In the background, you can see the Dow .55" thick polystyrene which is epoxied to the outside of the wood frame. Two layers of glass cloth and epoxy cover inside and outside. The bare hull weighs about 150 pounds. Bought a trailer from Harbor Freight for $150 and modified it slightly. Works out well.

I feel that one could build the same design of 1/4" marine plywood at much less cost and effort. Menards sells that material at very reasonable cost on special order. Construction in the stitch and glue method should be rather simple and cost effective and result in a lightweight hull which could be more readily car-topped.

One photo shows me coming in to the dock with my grandson, age 12 with his sister age 10 waiting for a second ride. Winds were rather light but OK. Another photo shows me out in better winds checking out the new sails.

I wish you luck in whatever you decide to pursue.


Thank you, Jack. I have found a suitable boat, and in due course I’ll be telling people about her.


Walker Bay 10 Sailing Dinghy

Optimist Dinghy

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Wave Line Inflatable Canoe/Kayak for Sale

Please note that this boat has been sold

My second-hand inflatable canoe/kayak is for sale. I’m open to offers from readers. If she is not sold within a week or so, I’ll be advertising her elsewhere.

A brand new one (without a pump) can be bought at Amazon for £59.58 + £8.40 delivery. That’s the cheapest I’ve seen for a one person model.

I bought mine 2 years ago and she has been used lightly.

The link below will put you in the picture, but since then I have improved on the pump-up time. I can do it in about 7 minutes.

The pump and double paddle will be included in the sale.

Collection or delivery from Hockley in Essex will have to be discussed and agreed before payment is made.

I will accept cash on collection or cashed cheque before posting – only within the UK.

Please do not make offers if you live outside of the UK.

Contact: This email address has been removed by the author.


Waveline Inflatable Kayak

Monday, May 18, 2015

Norfolk Gypsy 20 – Part 2

I’m simply adding photos of another Norfolk Gypsy to those posted at the page below.*

They are attractive, small gaff rigged cruisers designed Andrew Wolstenhome, and they are built by Neil Thompson Boats at Holt, Norfolk.


*Norfolk Gypsy (Part 1)

Norfolk Gypsy

Neil Tompson Boats

18 Norfolk Gypsy Yachts for Sale (Spoilt for choice!)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Curlew 9 Sailing Dinghy

I can find very little information on the Net about this 9’ Clark Craft sailing dinghy. She can be built from two-and-a-half sheets of quarter inch plywood resulting in a boat weighing only 100 lbs. With a beam of four feet she should be quite stable and very suitable for single-handed sailing.

Photographs above have been ‘borrowed’ from a recent advert at Ebay. I was surprised she was not sold, and I have been looking for a repeat advert. So far she has not been re-advertised.

I like the Gunter rig which allows the spars and sails to be stowed in the boat. She looks jaunty and she has a bit of character.


Curlew 9

Friday, May 15, 2015

Walker Bay 10 Sailing Dinghy

I’ve been looking for a small, stable sailing boat that I might use on my local river for day sailing. Having researched such craft suitable for disabled sailors* I came to the conclusion, although appropriate for me, they are all very expensive and difficult to find on the second-hand market.  I am not disabled, but such a boat would be sensible because of my decreasing agility on account of the aging process. My reactions are not as fast as they used to be.

I was pleased to find a Walker Bay 10 complete with a sail kit and fitted with inflation tubes, but on further considering her appropriateness I discovered the following shortcomings:

Her sail cannot be reefed and it cannot be lowered from the mast. The only way of reducing sail is to remove the rig!! The mainsheet control is sited in the middle of thwart which means you cannot sit on that part of the thwart.  Also, every time you tack you have to avoid the sheet. Another slight disadvantage is that it has a daggerboard, rather than a centreboard, and the daggerboard cannot be made to stay put, apart from when fully down or fully up. Furthermore, there is no way of attaching an outboard when the rudder is in place.

Walker Bay have made a good product, apart from these minor failings, which when added together are off-putting to the sailor who wants to do more than just take her out for an hour or so.


New Boat Review: Walker Bay 10

Revisiting the Walker Bay 10

Walker Bay 10 Breeze for Sale £2,298 (Trailer extra from £549) (Sailing Kit £1,898)

New Walker Bay 10 Dinghy (No sailing kit) £1,079

Walker Bay Breeze 10

Walker Bay Boats 10 Performance

Walker Bay 10 Video

Walker Bay Rigid Dinghies YouTube

Walker Bay 10 Sail Kit £925

PVC Tube Kit for 310 Breeze £375

Hypalon Tube Kit £850

Walker Bay Dinghy Video

10 ft Walker Bay sailboat Sprout Lake

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Twister Yacht ‘Oliva’

I always fancied a Twister, but such a beauty was not mine to have.  When I started sailing on the River Crouch in 1973 I saw the lovely wooden twister, ‘Oliva’. She used to be kept on a Fambridge mooring.

Twisters were designed by Kim Holman, and the original, the all wooden ‘Twister of Mersea’ was launched in 1963. Her lines were very similar to the legendary clinker Stella, also designed by Kim Holman. Unlike the Stella, Kim designed her bigger sister with a carvel hull. Many of the early Twisters were built by Uphams of Brixham.

With the emergence of GRP in the early sixties, the first composite Twister with a fibreglass hull, wooden deck and coachroof was built in 1969. This paved the way for the all GRP Twister moulded by Tylers from the mid 70s until the late 90s when Tylers ceased trading. A good many of these fibreglass mouldings were fitted out and completed by amateur builders.


Twister Class Association

Twisters for Sale (Eleven of them at the time of posting)

Stella Class Association

Twister (yacht)

Yachtsnet Archive – Twister – Twister 28

C. R. Holman and the Twister

Twister 28 Forum

Yachts Designed by Kim Holman

Tyler Boat Co. Ltd.

Apollo Duck Twisters for Sale

Twister 28 for Sale Video (2012)