Juniper. Impressive like no other boat I have seen or sailed on. She looks light and elegant but when facing her from the front she looks sturdy like a bull racing towards you. She is puristic but very functional. She is old some 40 years but by the look, she’s been as fine as if relatively new. She has stories attached, sailed by her designer Chris Wight for many years and later again sailed around the world via Cap Horn by Henk de Velt. Juniper had just been bought by her new owner from UK and he was sailing here from Denmark to Plymouth to do here up. Waiting for good weather in Cuxhaven the boat had been there for a couple of weeks, every time walking past her I stopped and marveled at her. I came up with the courage to ask the skipper if he needed someone to sail her on and said I would be happy to help him sail here a bit further towards Plymouth. Some weeks later mid-winter he happily let me join him westward bound. We started in light wind but soon had strong wind when I got very seasick. I still helped with watchkeeping during the night while throwing up from time to time. The weather got that bad, that we searched for shelter behind Ameland (Nederland) some 120nm from Cuxhaven. The wind had been forecasted to reach force 11 that day the harbormaster told us later. I can’t tell how bad the wind had been when we entered the little harbor. I was too slow and we had to be too quick on docking the boat, I asked the skipper to slow down but even in full speed reverse the trimaran was blown forward onto a pontoon with its outrigger and stuck with the rudder at another heavy industrial vessel. A guy with a 600hp powerboat offered to pull us off the pontoon and help us to dock, some other people helped us to fix here up with the lines. I had been worn out due to the night shift and seasickness and felt a little guilty for having been too slow while our attempt to dock by our self. But except for that, the skipper had to pay the powerboat guy no major damage had accrued. We tried to relax a bit that day wondering through the village on Ameland. Next morning after I hopped on the ferry and went back to Cuxhaven to meet a friend, as the weather was not due to get better any time soon. The customs officials – three of them arrived after my departure to check on the boat but it seems like they came for the boat, Henk de Velt’s boat as there was not really anything else to check out.
I stayed in contact with the skipper until I sailed to Plymouth and asked him which marina to go in to, for fixing up my boat and waiting for a new sail. I went into Southdown Marina for a couple of weeks while he was preparing Juniper for an open-end voyage at the Multihull Center a bit further down the road. We great catch up while working each on our boats. After some weeks and loots of repairs, and a short crossing of the Bay of Biscay with the Tore as crew. My little boat went back into the water and I sailed on towards Ireland. But as my rudder broke and I choose to have a break from my vessel. I flew back to Plymouth to join my friend to sail Juniper into warmer climates.
We had a fast start from Plymouth and ruff seas, sailing over 12kt at times – which made me seasick again for a few days. Until then I refused to take sea sickness tables and only had the pressure point armlets.
It took us five days in October to sail to Cascais, with some beautiful sailing towards the end. We cleared in and enjoyed a good party that night in Lisbon.
As the skipper of Juniper decided to sail towards the Mediterranean, I flew to Tenerife to meet my friends from the Tore to join them across the Atlantic. In my resume, I found Juniper not to be as comfortable in motion of the sea as other people said or believed but I also had no comparison to other multi-hulls nor fast mono-hulls of her size. Unless inside the shelter had been rare and the cockpit felt so insecure as one could so easily fall over the sides. And the entrance into the main hull gave little security to hold on. But I really like the interior of the main hull and its simplicity. I also thought the vee-shaped hull had been good and gave a smooth entry into the seas.