Daily updates available from one of the Jester challenge competitors

With a bang from the starter’s 12-bore shotgun (apparently filled with baby powder ‘to make a big cloud’) ten single-handers in their 20-30ft yachts set off from Plymouth on Saturday heading for Newport, Rhode Island.

There was hardly a second to spare for the most famous entry, the 25ft junk-rigged folkboat Jester. Less than a week before the start, Jester‘s mast broke en route to Plymouth. A new mast was made by Collars and delivered to Plymouth less than 18 hours before the start. The mast was immediately varnished, and with the help of Alec & Will Blagdon was ready for transfer to Jester on Saturday morning. Jester was towed to the starting line by race officer and organiser Ewen Southby-Tailyour’s yacht Black Velvet.

Business commitments meant one competitor had to turn around and recommence his crossing early on Sunday, while the owner of Vacuum, a 27ft junk-rigged Warsash One Design pulled out before the start and failed to find a buyer/skipper to take his place.

Awaiting all ten competitors at the finish line will be a family welcome from the Newport Yacht Club, where each boat and skipper has been assigned to a club member to be looked after. And once the final boat arrives, all the skippers plan to sail home together as well.

Keep track of Mike Winter’s progress during the race on his 48-year-old 23ft Cheverton Caravel Jacinta as he sends regular reports via satellite phone to http://blog.mailasail.com

For more on the race, the boats and the skippers see www.jesterinfo.org