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Ella Trout III Positions

Jester Azores Challenge 2012

Ella Trout III

Roger Fitzgerald

Skipper: Roger Fitzgerald


I've always lived in the middle of the country and so naturally I had to learn my sailing on inland waters. This was mainly dinghy racing in which I competed at club and national level. I did my Yachtmaster studies at evening classes (Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire) and was basically a land lubber learning about the sea. This led to a charter or two and eventually the purchase in 1974 of an Henderson Spinner - Ella Trout 2 - a boat I really enjoyed. We raced her enthusiastically all round the Irish Sea in the ISORA events and were class champions in 1981. "We" I should explain were two engineers, a solicitor and an insurance agent, all from Barnsley, three of whom had never sailed prior to my purchase of Ella Trout 2. By 1981 sharing; the long drive to North Wales, the cold hard winter maintenance and the racing made us a great team and very good friends.

Unfortunately, as you will know, Mrs Thatcher fell out with the coal miners in the 1980's and it wasn't just the miners who suffered; Ella Trout 2 and many other things had to go and times were hard. Apart from the odd sail I did nothing until August 2006 when I read the Jester report in PBO. I said to my wife "I always fancied sailing to the Azores and I reckon I could do this Jester Atlantic crossing" She replied "WELL DO IT THEN" and by September I had Ella Trout 3, a Dehler 29.

The Azores Jester Challenge was a great work out for me and my boat and I shall never forget the spirit and camaraderie amongst the skippers and the big grins on everybody’s face at Praia de Vitoria. It also brought home to me the work I needed to do to be ready for 2010. Circum-navigation of Ireland in 2009 sorted a few things out but as I write there is still a lot to do.

I wish everybody safe passage to the start and the finish of the Jester Challenge.

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