• 22 Mar 2021 17:17
    Message # 10224469
    Anonymous member (Administrator)


    It is now more than fifteen years since ex-Royal Marine and distinguished yachtsman Ewen Southby-Tailyour, along with Trevor Leek, owner of the iconic single-hander Jester, decided to revive Blondie Hasler’s beautifully simple idea: a Transatlantic ‘race’ for which there would be no rules, no inspections, no organising committee, no entry fees and no ‘winners’ in the accepted sense of the term. Responsibility in all matters of preparation and seamanship would lie with each individual skipper. The only stipulation for entry to the Jester Challenge, as the new event was to be called, was that boats had to be under 30’ overall
        The reaction from the yachting world ranged from full support to total scepticism. The doom-mongers have been proved badly wrong. Since the first Jester Challenge in 2006, Ewen has organised a total of ten events. The Jester Challenge destinations are now threefold: Newport, the Azores and Baltimore in southern Ireland, giving skippers a gentle gradient into long-distance sailing. Hundreds of sailors have participated. There have been no casualties. The only emergency call-out was an unnecessary one instigated by a third party. Given the sea miles sailed, the Jester Challenge’s safety record has been impeccable.
        Under Ewen’s guidance, the Jester Challenge has become an international event. To date sailors from 13 countries have participated, with notable contributions from France and Russia. This has created an international family of ‘Jesters’, wedded to the idea of self-reliance, good seamanship and a profound respect for the sea.
        This has been an extraordinary achievement by Ewen, always executed with humour and a light touch, and as he approaches his 80th birthday, Ewen has decided it is now time to pass on the organising responsibility. Jester Challengers are averse to committees, and no individual’s shoulders are anywhere near broad enough to fully assume Ewen’s mantle, so a small group of present and past Jester Challengers, to be called The Jester Helm, have agreed to take over the tiller. They have issued the following statement:
    ‘On behalf of the hundreds of sailors whose lives have been enhanced by participation in the Jester Challenge, we would like to thank Ewen for his vision, hard work, inspiration and humour. He has encouraged a generation of sailors to strive for their full potential and has instilled in them a healthy mistrust of nannies and rules. All of us are the better for it.’  


       " ...there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in junk-rigged boats" 
                                                               - the Chinese Water Rat

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