retired Lieutenant Colonel, ex Royal Marine Commando and Order of the
British Empire may not be your typical Sailing Anarchist, but odd as it
may sound, that is exactly who is inspiring an ever more popular calendar
of alternative events for single handed sailors. Last weekend Ewen
Southby-Tailyour witnessed 40 or so competitors strike out from Plymouth
bound for the Azores at the start his Jester
Azores Challenge and in doing so, collectively stick two middle fingers
up at the mainstream sailing status quo.
a counterpoint to the increasingly onerous requirement for entries in
offshore races, he has been instrumental in initiating a series of ‘challenges’
to mimic the pioneering days of single handed ocean racing 50 years ago.
The skippers of the
competing boats are deemed to be the sole arbitrators of their experience,
their boats’ suitability and the equipment they choose to carry. There
are no officials brandishing large ‘STIX’ or ISAF regulations, and to
help control costs, there is no entry fee and the boats are restricted
to about 30 feet or less.