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Search engines seem to track our entire lives. Some also trawl the web for images. Here are some that Google found on 14th March 2015. Click the mosaic for today's update - there are lots to explore.
Formed in 1979 at the Southampton Boat Show by a group of junk rig enthusiasts, the JRA (Junk Rig Association) is for its members and about their boats and their rigs. We aim to: promote the use of the junk rig by encouraging members to organise 'rallies' and 'junkets' (see About Us) and via our tri-annual Magazine and this site; encourage the development of junk and related rigs, the building or conversion of boats to the junk rig, and the use of vessels with the rig or its derivatives; create an international community of people who've already 'junked' their boat, are thinking of doing so, or are just interested in learning what it's all about.
Summing that up, our main job is to get the rig talked about. Former Chairman David Tyler certainly helped there: the Ocean Cruising Club recently awarded him their Rose Medal "for the most meritorious short-handed ...and exceptional voyage on board Tystie [from the UK to New Zealand]. You will have inspired many others, some of whom may well adopt a junk rig." David's follow-up voyage to and around Alaska was tracked here.
The final version of the Junk Rig Glossary is now available and can be found under the Junk Information menu, or directly here. This Glossary lists all the terms related to the junk rig, its implementation and use.
We were formed in the UK, and although our 'office' address and banking remains in the UK we are run by an increasingly international Committee via the Internet. A number of posts become vacant every year, at the AGM, so if you choose to join you could also put your name forward to help run the 'club'. It doesn't run itself. Our membership is now more than 50% outside the UK. Click the chart for detail.
Oct 2016 – Jester: a Folkboat design, modified by Blondie Hasler and built by Harry Feltham
Jester must, at one time, have been one of the most easily recognised yachts in the world with her full enclosure and the junk rig set on an unstayed mast. The 25ft Folkboat hull was of wood, but of carvel rather than the more usual clinker build. The boat was handled from the central control hatch, which was fitted with a rotatable, canvas dodger (pram hood), so that the crew could keep a proper lookout with his face in the open, but protected from rain and spray. The interior could also be accessed via two side hatches which could be removed when conditions permitted. The boat was steered manually by means of a vertical whipstaff instead of a tiller or, at sea, by the wind-vane which could be adjusted from the control hatch. The lines for handling the rig – halyard, sheet, downhauls and so on – were all within reach of the control hatch. There was normally no reason for the crew to go on deck at sea. Jester had no engine but a 13ft sweep was stowed on deck, which was useful at times. The original Jester was designed (conceived is perhaps a better word) by Blondie Hasler and was built by Harry Feltham in Portsmouth in 1953.
Pic of Mike Richey sailing Jester in later years
When Blondie Hasler sold Jester to Michael Richey in 1964, he could not have found a more suitable candidate to take the helm.
Mike purchased Jester when the boat got back from the second Singlehanded Transatlantic Race, by which time she had completed four transatlantic passages and a patrol of Loch Ness in search of the monster. Mike's first voyage was to the Azores and back and in 1968 he took her in the Singlehanded Transatlantic Race (where they were placed last; however less than than half the fleet got there at all). From the beginning, Jester seemed work of genius, so effortless was sailing her in almost every condition. In the twenty-four years Michael owned her, he made ten transatlantic passages as well as a number of other ocean voyages, including five to the Azores and back. The boat’s fastest east-to-west crossing was with Blondie in 1964 in the remarkable time of 38 days; her longest, 59 days in 1972. The fastest west-to-east crossing was 30 days from Bermuda to the Lizard in 1981, an eventful voyage that encompassed an attack by orca off the Grand Banks, and a knock-down with the loss of the self-steering gear in the Western Approaches.
In 1986, returning from Nova Scotia, the boat was overtaken by a storm of extraordinary ferocity some 300 miles west of Ushant, successively knocked down and finally rolled over and dismasted. She continued the passage on the deck of a banana carrier and had the considerable damage made good by Alec Blagdon's yard over the winter.
The following OSTAR (to use the old name) was, alas, to be Jester’s last. On 15 July 1988, some 500 miles south-east of Halifax, Nova Scotia the boat was abandoned and the skipper taken off by M.V. Nilam, a 60,000-ton bulk carrier bound for New York. A rogue wave had smashed in the superstructure leaving the boat open to the seas. The boat was finally lost under tow. For Mike it was an occasion of immeasurable sadness which he found great difficulty getting over. The boat had not been insured and he was in no position to replace her. (However, in due course, the Jester Trust was founded, and a cold-moulded replica was built. This boat is still going strong.)
For the full and in-depth history, please read the following;
2. Members will also find more information in Magazine no 62.
For those who haven't read about these, I'll be honest, life-inspiring personalities, please take the time to read about Blondie Hasler and Mike Richey
Our Boat of the Month Archive is here.