Monday, 31 May 2010

Blog Updates

Kids and I are heading away for a few days, and will have limited internet access, but....I
will endeavor to update the position log daily. See you all soon! Michelle

Sunday, 30 May 2010

30th May Latest Position

Hi Folks, here is Rory's latest position:

Rory's Spot Latitude:44.34661 Longitude:-17.58091
GPS location Date/Time:05/30/2010 12:57:30 BST,-17.58091&ll=44.34661,-17.58091&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

It was a very rough night out there yesterday, I am hoping Rory was far enough
South to miss the worst of it. He did say it had eased up, when I spoke to him yesterday evening.
Unfortunately another competitor has had to turn back due to the severe damage their boat sustained during the storm. Condolences to John Margarson & Fluffy, safe trip back to port.

PS. Family mugshot tonight, taken last Sunday, just before Rory left.
Just to prove that the sun DOES shine in the UK!!

Saturday, 29 May 2010

28th & 29th May Update from Rory

Just spoke to a very tired & emotional Rory. Yesterday was tough going, Force 6, SW 20-25 knots bang on the nose. Poor Harry (the windvane!!) has a tough time keeping course going to windward, so lots of hand steering, Very wet & tough day for all on board.
So much so, that Rory hoved to at about 1am and slept all night. (He has now realised that this is a necessity, in order to get some rest, when sailing constantly to windward, not just for the boat, but also for him )
Really struggling with moral to then get out of warm, snuggly sleeping bag, into cold, damp clothing, and back on deck..., face it all over again.

Weather had eased today, so fixed the beams. The washer had cracked and broken, so the beams were moving more than Rory wanted them to. Cut up some wood board and replaced them, so beams are now secure again.
He will continue to head south, as there is a big low pressure coming in from the west. Cookie & Harry are back under self-steering again, so Rory is about to cook some supper and get some more deserved rest.

Rory's Spot Latitude:46.17891 Longitude:-18.02704 GPS location Date/Time:05/29/2010 13:11:57 BST,-18.02704&ll=46.17891,-18.02704&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Friday, 28 May 2010

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Update From Rory - 26th/27th May 2010

"Yesterday (Wed) was a great sailing day! Good winds and lots of hand steering. I have averaged about 135 miles a day over the last 3 days, so Cookie and I are very happy. I have been eating loads of fresh vegetables and fruit, as they don't keep long on board, and I want to make the most of them, before they go mouldy. Then it is back to pasta, rice and some tinned delight!

Already had my first equipment failure.....blew out the first pair of ipod will have to take more care with my second, and only remaining pair ;)

Used the Aquair for charging yesterday. The batteries were fully charged with just two hours towing, which is fantastic news. It is great being back at sea aboard Cookie again, but I have to say it is taking me a little while to adjust to being back aboard in an "older" body....... I don't seem to bend quite as easy as I use to!

Met a container ship last night, who actually stopped to check I was ok.......and not just lost out
at sea! They were interested to hear about the Jester Challenge and the number of boats involved, and also kind enough to give me a weather update.

The winds were calmer this morning (Thur), so I spent the time getting lots of little jobs done.
Nothing major, just finishing up jobs with extra sealant etc to stop water dripping on me
whilst I sleep, and keep everything dry down below. This is one of my most important thing
living aboard such a small boat. There is nothing worse than having to put wet clothes on, before heading up on deck.
I have been getting lots of sleep, about 5-6 hours off and on, which is just fantastic. You never know, when you are single-handing, just how long you may be awake for!! So I am napping whilst I can.
My plan is to sail to about 40 degrees North/40 degrees West before changing course, so for those of you following on the Ocean Race track, you will see Cookie stay on the line she is.
This is weather dependent, so we shall see."

Thursday 27th May, Updated Position

I have a day off work today, so can post an update a little
earlier. Looks like Rory & Cookie are trucking along nicely.
I have found a program that can tell me the distance travelled in a straight line from two sets of co-ordinates, and if I have worked this out correctly, Rory has done at least 120 miles in the last 24hrs. I will get him to correct me this evening!
OK, here is the google earth link:,-15.49092&ll=47.71579,-15.49092&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

And then here is the ocean racetrack link:

Ocean Racetrack update from my posts, so Rory's position is a day behind on this.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Some Thank You's....

I would like to say some big thank you’s on Rory's behalf. Our friend Sue Palmer runs a company called The Original Hat Box Cake Company, and she made Rory a fantastic Bon Voyage cake, it was so fantastic that we demolished it before he left Plymouth. She also loaded him up with about six months supply of brownies & flapjack, which I am sure are absolutely scrummy, but for some reason Rory would let me near them!! Check out some more of Sue's work:

Cocoa Loco also kindly donated the most amazing solid marbled chocolate fish to all the skippers of the Jester Challenge, so big thanks to them too. They have lots of delicious organic chocolates for sale at:

Also thanks to Jill Dixon, a local neighbour, who very kindly gave Rory a fruit cake for his voyage, which I already know was a lifesaver on the "row", sorry sail down to Plymouth for the start!! So as you can see, Rory has plenty of "supplies" to keep him going!!

I also want to say a big thank you to everyone that has helped Rory reach the start- line. It has been crazy the last couple of months, but somehow, everything came together bang on time.

Wed 26th May Postion Update

A few people have asked me why the position update is posted later in the day..........I have to go and work at my "real" job! :) So apologies for the delay, but here is the latest:,-13.14396&ll=48.34733,-13.14396&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Also found another good site today called Ocean Track. It is posting the positions
of some of the other Jester Challenge boats, so gives you a good idea of how Rory & Cookie are doing, in relation to the monohulls taking part.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

24th & 25th May 2010

Spoke to Rory this evening (Tues) and have a post from him about the Challenge so far:

"Race Day was a very emotional day for me. Very happy and excited to be starting the Jester Challenge, but also sad to be saying farewell to family & friends. I was absolutely over the moon to see my family out on a boat at the start line! That hadn't been planned when I left the dock an hour before, so it was a fantastic surprise and a great final send-off.

Once under way, I had some time to reflect on the whole adventure ahead of me, and felt very emotional. It always takes me a day or so to settle back onto Cookie and adjust to being out at sea alone.

I passed Lizard Point with four other Jester boats at around midnight, and shortly after, we were becalmed. This was the perfect opportunity to stow, stow, stow and stow!! I had thrown a lot of last minute stuff aboard but had no time to get organised before leaving. I am pleased to report that Cookie and I are now ship-shape!

I passed Land's End early Monday morning, and was still very tired & hollow with emotion, having only managed about two hours sleep.
When I passed St. Mary's in the Scilly Isles just after mid-day, it brought back a flood of emotions, as St Mary's had been my departure point in 1991, when I set out on my circumnavigation with Cookie.

Mid afternoon, I spotted Roger aboard Ella Trout III, a fellow Jester, flying his spinnaker.
We had a chat, just before a pea soup fog surrounded us. I had forgotten just how thick UK fog can be!! It lifted just before sunset. NB: The AIS is my new best friend! (for the non techie's reading this.....AIS is a radar system that lets Rory know big ships are in the area. If he is sleeping, an alarm sounds to notify that a ship is nearby)
Much more settled night, managed to get five hours sleep! Feel like a new person and beginning to get into the groove of living back aboard Cookie.

Weather has been steady north easterly winds, although currently looking overcast to the South."

That's all folks. Should be talking with Rory again on Thursday.

Rory's Spot
GPS location Date/Time:05/25/2010 12:49:29 BST,-9.66039&ll=49.32633,-9.66039&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Monday, 24 May 2010

Rory & Cookie's Latest Position

Wow, just got Rory's position, as of 1pm (BST) today, the first 24 hour run!
GPS location Date/Time:05/24/2010 12:55:33 BST
Looking good...he is down off St.Agnes near the Scilly Isles . Click the link below to see his position on Google Maps:,-6.34516&ll=49.87295,-6.34516&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Should be talking to Rory on the satellite phone Tuesday evening, so will give you all an
update then.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Cookie's Jester Challenge 2010 Start!

Well, after three years of planning, the day has finally arrived, and what a spectacular day it was!
QAB Marina was a hive of activity this morning as all the competitors said farewells to family and friends. Cookie was spick and span, and the skipper looked relaxed and ready. Everything on his list was checked and ticked off. With final hugs & kisses, it was time to say good-bye, untie the lines, and let Cookie fly! Her new sails where gleaming in the sunshine, as she glided out of the marina, to cheers and hurrays. They were heading for the start line and the 1 o'clock gun, signaling they were off.

Family and friends were lucky enough to grab a ride on the Plymouth Belle, which headed out into Plymouth Sound, towards the western end of the breakwater, to watch Cookie cross the official start line of the Jester 2010 Challenge. The sun was blazing and sea sparkling........and this is in England, most unexpected weather but just fantastic for such a special day!! We managed to spot Cookie on the horizon amidst the hundreds of boats that were out on the water, and headed towards her. This boat trip was unplanned as we had originally decided to wave good-bye from the marina and then watch from Plymouth Hoe. Only as the sun had come out, every man and his boat were out on the water, making it impossible to spot "tiny" Cookie amongst them all. Hats off to Ray the skipper for taking us right along side Rory, and getting a bunch of strangers to cheer him on, as he and Cookie crossed the start line. They are on their way! Big thanks to everyone who has made this dream a possibility. Love you Rory, keep safe & fair winds and following seas.

The Biggest Challenge Of Any Race Is.....Getting To The Start!!

Well Rory's has been telling everyone this for the last few month's....... "The Race is the easy part, it's making it to the start line that is the biggest challenge. How true these words are! Rory left Lympstone with his brother-in-law, David and brother Barnes at mid day on Thursday, to sail 55 miles south to the start in Plymouth. What should have been a fairly nice simple sail, took 36 hours...........yep 36..... flat, becalmed, tide chasing, endless.......... rowing hours!! They finally rowed into Queen's Anne Battery at midnight on Friday.....with very sore, tired, aching arms......having rowed the last 8 miles. I have a feeling that Barnes & Dave might pass up the next opportunity to go "sailing" with Rory. Well done boys!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Shopping day

Today Tuesday was shopping day. I bought all the dried food and rowed out to Cookie to store it in the stbd galley hull. Now the weight is more evenly balanced and the waterlines are level as most of the boat gear, spares and clothes are in the port hull. I really should buy shares in the Ziploc company!!!!!!

Testing the Aquair

Photos show the Aquair being trailed behind. The prop streams aft on 100 meters of line and as Ampair advised I installed a switch in the wiring so once spinning you can cut in the charge to the battery. You can see the cut-down funnel that works so well when pulling back in the prop.

Sundays' shakedown sail

The sail on Sunday was fab. Mostly grey but a force 3-4 gusting 5 from the SW gave a chance to test Cookie to windward with Harry steering again and m getting them balanced. Harry did what he does so well and the new sails gave a good shape and set - so no worries there. As we sailed across Torbay the wind picked up a little so checked the main with 1 x reef in and good shape too. I tested the Aquair charger and it worked a treat.Easy to stream the prop and rope and my custom lashed-up funnel works great to snuff the prop for me to haul it all back in after. The battery was up to 14.4V after only 1/2hour of charging, sailing at 5.5kts. No large effect from the slight drag and Harry held his course well. All smiles. The AIS radar display certainly worked fine with the alarm going off every few minutes as we sailed through the big ships anchored in Torbay!! The new Musto drysuit is gorgeous. Very warm and very light to wear - not restrictive at all. The biggest test of the day was to see if I could pee with the suit on..............and if I bend over like quasi modo all works great!!!! Brilliant!! The only failure was my 15yr old rubber sailing boots that perished and disintegrated all over the boat. Time for a new pair. I didn't expect any bad surprises but was a great day out and good to see all the new stuff aboard working well.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Testing, testing.............

Rowed out to Cookie yesterday evening to stow my clothes that are sealed up in big ziplock bags. Thought it a good time to push the button on the Spot Tracker and see how it loads into this blog. So click the link below and it will give Cookies position on a map. I will give position updates once a day across the Atlantic so folks can track the progress if interested. Cheers, Rory & Cookie.,-3.43696&ll=50.64917,-3.43696&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

All jobs completed!!

It's been a great week of progress with lots of good dry weather again. Each morning I've been trudging through the mud and shallows to Cookie on her mooring and get a few hours work on the last jobs. A VHF antenna is installed at the masthead now to receive signals for the AIS (Automatic Identification System) to alert me of nearby ships. I got the GPS talking to the AIS and all seems to work OK. The roll-down dodger flaps are sewn into place with bungy loops to keep secured - essential for keeping dry below and giving enough headroom to sit upright!!
Aquair charger is now all wired up to the battery and we will be testing it out on Sunday. Also managed to buy a satphone on ebay which will be a whole lot cheaper than renting. Otherwise lots of time spend on the mundane tasks of sealing all wiring connections with sealant, wiring shackles secure, whipping ropes secure and stowing spare parts. Can't wait until the test sail on Sunday to blow the cobwebs out and feel Cookie come alive again. We haven't sailed together since last October in Belize!

Friday, 7 May 2010

The Small Jobs

Hi folks. Its been a good week of tidying up the loose ends and getting some of the small jobs out of the way. Been running around buying the last of the 1st aid supplies. Got a waterproof box to stow the flares in. Fitted the canvas storage pockets inside the cabins. Secured the barometer, thermometer, sextant etc. Mounted the extinguisher and fire blanket in the galley. Today I spent an hour up the mast fitting a VHF antenna to hook up to the new AIS ship alert system. WOW!! Cookie is really gadgeted up now!! The last thing to get is a satphone for the trip and I am trying to decide whether to rent or to buy a used one off ebay?? Nearly all the boat gear is aboard now. The plan is to do the last boat jobs next week and then as the tides are good, it will be a test sail next weekend to make sure everything is working as it should :-) Anyone fancy a sail??

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Big help from Mum!

Special thanks to my Mum, Liz Robins, not only for lots of support but for sewing up custom fitted canvas storage organisers for Cookie. This will be a big help to keep all the important gear in its rightful place. I had only one organizer before and now I have six. There's no excuse for a messy boat now!!!!!

Saturday, 1 May 2010


I have now set up an easy to donate JustGiving webpage to raise funds for the Sir Francis Chichester Trust. So I am asking everyone to please show their support and to make a donation of any size so that I can try to reach the goal of 5,000 pounds. The Trust allows disadvantaged youths from Devon to attend Outward bound courses to discover themselves through adventure and personal development. This is perfectly in line with my aims to motivate young folks to "reach for their dreams".
PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY, Thanks - Rory & Cookie.

Setting up the Aquair on Cookie

After the test day it was time to see if the stainless frame I made on Cookie for the Aquair water charger was going to work. The charger is to be mounted on the port hull as that's the side with the battery and all the electrics set up. All went well and will have to find time in the next 2 weeks for a test sail. Thanks again to Ampair for their support.

Aquair Test

On Thursday, Frank the engineer from Ampair came down to Exmouth and we went out to help test their prototype new experimental Aquair unit with the fantastic assistance of Richard Crisp and his motorboat Curlew. Of course we had to pick the only rainy days for the past month, but that didn't stop us and we were very lucky to have a flat calm to make it a lot easier to get the test towing done. Frank is a great guy and knows everything there is to know on the Ampair wind and water chargers, having been with the company for 30 years!!
Top pic shows Frank and I about to depart on Curlew for the testing and lower pic is Richard at the helm.

Support from Ampair

Many thanks to David at Ampair for their generous loan of an Aquair 100 towed water charging unit. With this I will now be able to generate electricity during the Jester Challenge for the few lights and couple of gadgets that are now aboard Cookie.

Please give generously to the Sir Francis Chichester Trust

About the Sir Francis Chichester Trust