Ocean Cruising Club

(Carte Blanche 36’) – at the age of 76 and a broken leg in plaster he took part in his 4th AZAB, double-handed, doing quite well on the first leg to the Azores. He reached there in 9 days after encountering a severe gale of Force 9 and then, within a mile of the finish, the wind dropped to nothing and his crew dislocated his elbow. The return trip was quite eventful with self-steering gear failures, fog, some spinnaker runs and a Force 6 on the nose until about 500 miles to go when a fellow, single-handed participant called on the VHF to say he had dislocated his finger and was suffering blackouts. Jem turned about to assist as Carte Blanche was the nearest boat and his crew was a doctor. Going alongside was impossible in the prevailing conditions so it was decided to float painkillers down in a canister. In the meantime two other competitors arrived on scene, but whilst Jem was carrying out the manoeuvre, the lower fitting on the backstay parted necessitating the immediate removal of all sail and handing the drugs over to one of the other boats. After the successful transfer, Carte Blanche was escorted back by one boat and the injured single-hander was escorted by the other and, after encountering strong winds of Force 7/8 on the final night off the Lizard, they reached Falmouth with the mast still standing after 10 days at sea.