Monthly: June 2010

20 Jun


March13 2010 Nor’easter at Beaton’s Boatyard


I can’t tell what this is and Suzanne didn’t know either, thought it might be a boat part.


Mantoloking Beach

Beaton’s from a parking lot across the bay

Mantoloking Beach

Mantoloking Beach

Mantoloking Beach

Mantoloking Beach

Mantoloking Beach

Mantoloking Beach

Mantoloking Beach

Mantoloking Beach

Looking south from the boatyard


Boatyard awash


all photos courtesy Suzanne Beaton

I remember this day vividly. Even inland, nearly 100 miles from Beaton’s, we experienced high winds, up to 50+ mph and constant rain, a wild day. Rain hard enough to create the first ever leak in my apartment.
The photos here were taken by Suzanne Beaton, wife of Tom Beaton, the third generation operator of this venerable boatyard, known for it’s very high quality of workmanship, it’s attention to several Barnegat A Cats, left to the yard for upkeep and a builder of high quality. Responsible for at least five A’cat builds, Beaton’s is also home to Sjogin. I found this suite of storm photos while casually browsing Facebook. At first blush they appeared to be ordinary snaps of a tremendous weather event. My memory of the day and the furosity of the storm held me a bit and slowly I began to sense something more interesting. I began to see these photos as a straightforward attempt to communicate experience of the storm, probably as seen through the eyes of a gifted amateur photographer. They were pretty gray, so I played with them slightly in my photo editor, pulling out some color here and there, adjusting luminosity. Inevitably I began to compare my response to these photos to my perception of the photos on the gulf tragedy I had recently put up. I was struck by the ability of these photos to somewhat innocently convey the event, without reference to their maker, in contrast to the highly self conscious ( though beautiful) photographs by professional photographers and photojournalists in the previous post. During a phone conversation with Suzanne, she answered my question as to whether or not she was a professional photographer “not quite” and confirmed her status as a gifted amateur as I had guessed. I thought so for two reasons, first, she had not manipulated the photos and second, and more importantly, her ‘style’ did not intrude on the communication of the photographs. They are pretty straightforward, beautiful in their own right, but not self referential and loaded with ‘art’ baggage. I found the contrast with the pro’s pictures revealing and instructive. Suzanne’s work exhibits a good eye for composition, a demanding search for the fact, but are unencumbered with the need to convince us that she is a ‘good’ photographer. I applaud this and feel it makes for clearer communication. Let me know what you think.

The bay and marsh pictures are from the vicinity of the Beaton Yard, and the beach pics are Mantoloking Beach.
You can view the original photos and much more on the Boatyard’s Facebook page, if you are a friend.

Thanks to Suzanne and Tom Beaton.

I am posting these photos with joy and a great deal of admiration for Suzanne’s ‘braving the storm’ to document it.


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02 Jun


Scottish Coastal Rowing Project: Coigach and Ullapool launch, and have at it


Ulla, the Ullapool boat was launched without ceremony on Friday, May 21


Adrian Morgan, a local boatbuilder and well known ex boating journalist, standing, lent a guiding hand to the builders of Ulla, led by Topher Dawson

In this photo, as ell as the two preceding, one can see the
the Viking style steering board, like a paddle, used by Ulla to eliminate problems with a rudder. It’s a bit of an experiment, and we’ll see how it performs. A full exposition of this steering method and the rationale behind it can be found here

Putting their backs into it on Loch Broom

Loch Broom

Lesley Muir, on of the moving forces behind Achiltibuie’s Coigach Lass, proudly display’s the wax model which will be cast in bronze and become the Lass’ figurehead.

The Lass being carried down the ramp at Old Dornie for splash.

Lass‘ sea trials

Ulla rowed over for the ceremony from Loch Broom,

and of course, an informal match race began!

The Lass pulls ahead

Coigach Lass raced with five other boats at Anstruther this weekend with an all women crew, all over 40. They didn’t win the race but won something more precious.

this photo courtesy P Nisbet/Coigach Lass

all other photos courtesy Chris Perkins

The Scottish Coastal Rowing Project is very healthy and rowing into it’s first sanctioned races. The Ullapool boat splashed unceremoniously on Friday, May 21, and the Coigach Lass to somewhat greater ceremony (pipes) on Saturday, May 22. A cordial crew from Loch Broom rowed over to share the moment for Coigach, and naturally, a match race was soon underway. It’s enlightening to read the teams respective blogs of what ensued. According to Coigach, they won the match hands down, but the Ullapool site has it that out of deference to Coigach Lass on her splash day, they ‘allowed’ her to pull ahead. H’mmm.
In any event, the first full regatta took place on Saturday, May 29, in Anstruther with six boats/teams attending. More here

I’ve been following this project from it’s inception last fall and am highly impressed with the vitality, industry and eagerness of the participants, really a remarkable phenomenom. It would be especially nice to see this Scots bred concept travel round the world, and invovle communities from other cultures building their own historically indigenous craft as a mirror to this Scottish idea.

The boats used by the various communties are all built to Iain Oughtreds St. Ayles design and kits are available through Alec Jordan.
Visit the Coigach Lass.
Visit Ulla.
VisitThe Scottish Coastal Rowing Project.

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01 Jun


News from Roger Taylor and Mingming


Front cover of Roger’s latest book, due out in August

Roger was awarded the 2009 Jester Medal in recognition of his continuing efforts promoting and experimenting with singlehanded sailing.

Off the North of Iceland

Rounding the NW coast of Iceland, the headland at Straumnes

Off the headland of Straumnes, NW Iceland

all photos courtesy Roger Taylor

Roger Taylor is among those making last minute preparations for the start on Sunday of the Jester Challenge 2010. However, Roger and Mingming will likely not be making landfall in Newport with the rest of the participants. If conditions permit, Roger is planning, instead, in a move reminiscent of Moitessier, to head for a landfall at Cape Dwyer, Baffin Island, a cruise designed to mirror his cruise to Jan Mayen Island last summer, and again putting him within the Arctic Circle. I’m a little disappointed, as I had planned to meet Roger upon his arrival in Newport, but no matter. It’s another great adventure for Roger and Mingming, and I’m sure he’ll share his adventure with us. Godspeed and safe voyage to you, Roger.
Other news is that Roger was awarded the 2009 Jester Medal for perpetuating the spirit and traditions of ocean cruising established by Blondie Hasler and Michael Ritchie. Congratulations Roger!
The ‘soft’ photos are screen captures from Roger’s understated but totally compelling and mesmerizing videos of last summer’s cruise, these taken from the northwest tip of Iceland.

Roger has another book coming out, a book about his voyages in Mingming. I’m sure it will be as deeply engaging as his previous book, ‘ Voyages of a Simple Sailor‘, if not more so, will document his recent voyages in Mingming and will have some information on how Roger has adapted his boat for singlehanded sailing.

From the back cover:

‘In his new book Roger Taylor follows straight on from ‘Voyages of a Simple Sailor’, taking us on three more extraordinary voyages aboard his junk-rigged Corribee Mingming. This simple, rugged 21′ yacht, constantly developed and honed for effortless single-handed ocean sailing, goes where much bigger and more sophisticated craft fear to tread. Iceland, Rockall, the Faroes, Jan Mayen, the Greenland ice, together with a southern interlude to the Azores, are all encompassed in these enthralling adventures. Written in Taylor’s trademark style – fast-moving, witty, uncompromising and intensely observational – these stories will take you to sea as you’ve never been taken before.’

Due to be published this August, you can reserve a copy here.

Roger! Bon Voyage, have a great cruise.

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01 Jun


Jester Challenge Preview


Some of the assembled fleet prior to the start of the 2008 Jester Azores Challenge

Copyright © Anne Hammick 2006 Copyright © Sandra Leek 2006

Trevor Leek, one of the organizers, will be sailing the reborn Jester

Kenyan Tim McCloy’s China Blue is a modified junk rigged Folkboat fitted out in fashion which bears great similarities to Jester

photo courtesy tim McCloy


Roger Taylor’s minimalist entry Mingming, a modified junk rigged Corribee MK1.
Roger is planning to start with the fleet but then take a divergent course, in a move reminiscent of Moitessier in the Golden Globe, and head for Baffin Island. I’ll have more on Roger soon

The interior of Mingming packed up for the Azores in the ’08 Azores Challlenge

The smallest entry in this years Challenge at 20′, the self built Golant Gaffer Just Right, is Gus Davidson’s entry. She is sailing in support of Macmillian Cancer Support.

photo courtesy We sail the North Atlantic Ocean

Bill Churchouse and Belgean will be looking to repeat his performance in the ’08 Azores, where he was first in.

photo courtesy Bill Churchouse via Jake Kavanaugh

Here’s Bill in the cabin of his Westerly 22

photo courtesy Bill Churchouse via Jake Kavanaugh


Rory McDougall built his Wharram Tiki 21 Cooking Fat and then sailed her around the world, being the smallest catamaran to do so.

photo courtesy Rory McDougall


Guy Waites will be sailing his Contessa 26 Red Dragon

courtesy Guy Waites

Thomas Jucker’s 28′ Lyle Hess Bristol Channel Cutter built by Samuel L Morse in 1990. Marta was bought in the US for the express purpose of entering the Jester Challenge. Feeling unsure of his single handed capabilities, Thomas tested himself over the summer of 2009 by sailing first to Bermuda, then the Azores, and England.

Here we see the starting gun being fired (2008) with it’s plume of talcum powder to make it visible to all entrants. the shot is fired from Ewen Southby Tailyour’s Black Velvet by the late Mike Richey. Ewen is one of the organizer’s of the event, and also a participant.

all photos courtesy Jester challenge/Jake Kavanaugh unless otherwise noted


Camaraderie, fun and a lack of formality are the guiding principles: in effect these Jester Challenges are organised by those competing in them”

“It is vain to do with more what can be done with less” William of Occam 1285-1349

This yaar mark the 50th anninversay og Blongie Hasler’s ‘ Amazing Idea’

This year’s Jester Challenge is set to commence to the starting blackpowder blast at 1300hrs on Sunday, May 23 from Plymouth England. First run in 2006, The Jester Challenge has been instituted to restore to open ocean racing the spirit ot of Blondie Hasler’s ‘Amazing Idea’. The race is from Plymouth, England to Newport, RI. This will be the second time the Challenge has been run from Plymouth to Newport, the first was in 3006, with an amended version to the Azores taking place in 2006. It is a single handed race for boats under 30′ intended to revive Blondies’ vision of Corinthian, unassisted sailing in small yachts based on self reliance and seaworthiness. It is in fact, a sort of laboratory for developing tools and techniques for singlehanded sailing of smaller boats. Though technically not a raid, because it’s not done in open boats, and not about rowing, I would posit that in some sense it is the inheritor of the spirit which allowed the inventors of the raid, the vikings, to sail from Scandinavia to the New World! The mother of all raids.

On the original conception of the Jester Challenge:

Notes by Ewen Southby-Tailyour
Up-dated 23rd November 2005
One of the aims of The Jester Challenge is for the skippers to take full responsibility for their actions and their vessels without nannying sets of rules (nor a £1000 entry fee). Another aim is that it should be FUN with the results not taken too seriously: who wins is less important than arriving safely. Sponsorship of the event and of individual yachts is not overtly encouraged – although Blondie certainly had no objection and was always grateful, knowing that without it his race would not have achieved the status it enjoys. The rules are at a minimum on the understanding that Challengers – as Corinthian yachtsmen – will accept that it is up to them to ‘behave like gentlemen’ with regard to the use of engines, accuracy of timings, numbers on board(!), adherence to common-sense, safety equipment and so on. We want to keep The Jester Challenge simple and un-fussy while proving that events like this can take place without all the hullabaloo and hype – and yet still be worthwhile taking part.
In 1960 Blondie Hasler’s ‘amazing idea was first sailed by five yachts, four of whom were under 26 feet: navigation was ‘traditional’, self-steering was ‘experimental’ and all crossed the Atlantic in good order. The only time that this has occurred. However, by 1968, he was worried that the race’s success contained the seeds of its own death, with excessive competitiveness one of the reasons cited. Fearing a demise he planned a Series Two that, if necessary, would begin in 1980 with…no sponsor nor organising club…ordinary yachtsmen going about their (legal) business…making an independent passage on (their) own responsibility…no rules…no entrance fees…treating (the skippers) as adults who can…take their own risks….

More here and updated here.

This years entry list is a testament to the chord this event has stuck in the hearts of adventurous yachtsmen. The entry list for the first Challenge included 13 brave souls. This year’s entry list shows a whopping 82 entrants!

You’ll be able to follow the boats as they move across the Atlantic with Ocean Race Track here.

Special thanks to Jake Kavanaugh and Roger Taylor for their assistance in writing this article.

You should be able to follow the ‘race’ on Ocean Race Track.

See also Bill Serjeants post:

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