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Preparing for the NOSTAR

Jock Hamilton and sailing the Atlantic.

I had been intending to sail across the Atlantic in my boat last year, 2020, because I thought it might be fun and would certainly be an interesting thing to do.

My father, Peter, sailed it single handed in the mid fifties when it was more unusual and of course this also influenced my inclination to go. Peter was more pioneering than I and had a far smaller boat from which he removed the engine as an unnecessary waste of space. He would, probably, be horrified at all the modern stuff I am carrying; he wouldn’t even take a radio partly because, he said, ‘knowing where you are takes some fun out of it ‘(with a radio an accurate time signal can be used to synchronise the chronometer thus making calculation of Longitude as accurate as one’s sextant skills) but partly too because he didn’t like music in any case and liked to keep things as simple as possible. This has not turned out to be a shared philosophy, I have multiple GPS, Iridium sat phone, radar engine, mp3, AIS, Navtex, Radio PV panels, as well as an engine.

I needed a plan for timings and whilst thinking about the trip, a couple of years ago, my cousin Rory was just back from the Azores And Back (AZAB) race and suggested I went as part of the Ostar in 2020. With the socialising, and camaraderie of the race this seemed like a good idea so I put my name down and it had the benefit of specific dates to work towards.

I’ve done a fair amount of preparation, a lot needed in any case with ensuring that the sails and rig is up to it along with a fair amount of investment in safety equipment to comply with the World Sailing Regulations, a requirement of the race. As a single handed race some of this doesn’t make sense: lifebuoys with lights, drogues, danbuoys and AIS transponders are unlikely to be helpful but complying with something for the club was understandable, at least while they were still intending to run it.

Anyway with one thing and another (See other blogette) I’m now leaving on May 9th 2021 from Plymouth along with some others.

I will be doing a blog on occasions from mid ocean and Graham and Jennifer Smart have very kindly offered to keep updating this on the website as I can only send and receive e mails whilst offshore through Iridium Satellites which aren’t capable of handling much data or or accessing the internet.

I’m doing it entirely for my own benefit at my own cost and for fun. It’s been suggested to me that I do it for a charity and I’m not comfortable with this - I don’t necessarily think that some people, doing things for charity, are actually doing this but just doing something that they want to do anyway and deferring costs by getting other people to pay for it with any surplus going to the charity.

I am however very happy to support a worthwhile local charity and have chosen Cowal Hospice Trust, a place that has been of benefit to many from the Cowal, not least Jill, my mother.

If anyone feels the urge to make a donation to charity on account of my voyage then please donate to the Cowal Hospice Trust, I will make a donation to kick things off. If you wish to mention NOSTAR (see other blogette) in the donation then please do. Donations can be directly via internet, by Cheque to Cowal Hospice Trust, Bank of Scotland, 78 Argyll Street, Dunoon,

PA23 7NE

Sort Code is 80/13/46 Account Number 00252725, donations can also be handed into the Hospice charity shop, re opening the week of the 25th April.








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