The Viking Challenge – 2002  

Between Friday evening 14th June and Sunday evening 14th July Balstara undertook the Viking Challenge, a single-handed sponsored sail of 1,500 miles, to help raise awareness of and funds for the Isle Of Man Children’s Centre. The intention was to visit the fjords on the West coast of Norway with the proviso that an alternative destination might be determined by the prevailing conditions.

With Force 9's and 10's at the start of the challenge, the Shetlands were reached behind schedule. Arrival coincided with the presence of some of the Round Britain Race fleet making their compulsory 48-hour stopover in Lerwick (not all of whom still sported a mast). Further adverse conditions (persistence of 5 days of strong winds) necessitated a change of plan, and instead of Norway, Balstara circumnavigated the Shetland Islands. Having sailed round Muckle Flugga and Outstack the skipper could then claim to have sailed round the most northerly and southerly points of Britain (the most southerly being the Plateau des Minquiers which lies south of Jersey in the Channel Islands).

By the end of the challenge, 1,500 miles had been logged. Whilst the terms of the charitable sponsorship were fulfilled - the skipper still had a strong desire to visit Norway under sail. It was a case of 'roll on 2003' !




The challenge was used as a fund raising event by the Isle Of Man's Children Centre which aims to provide quality care in a stable and supportive environment for all children and young people - helping them to develop their own potential. Funds raised are being used to establish the charity's ‘Summer Adventure Camps” project for disadvantaged children from Island communities, which required money to cover the purchase of a variety of items including tents, sleeping bags, gas stoves, waterproofs, boots,  lanterns, eating and cooking utensils, folding tables and chairs to eat on and prepare food on. These camps will be on island and staffed by the charity’s members.