The 42nd Three Peaks Yacht Race Gets Underway
After a long day of waiting, a crowded race briefing in the bar of the yacht club, and then some more waiting as it was low tide, the crews could finally load up their supplies onto the harbour ferries and get aboard ready for the start.
All but one of the yachts was moored out in the channel, the only exception being Wight Rose, which was against the quayside right outside the yacht club. They would have to wait for the rising tide to lift them off but this was obviously all part of their cunning plan, as while the other boats were releasing their moorings in the fast flowing channel, Wight Rose was calmily loading up cartons of chips from the quayside.
They were relaxed about getting out to the start as there is plenty of time between the yacht parade out of the harbour, and the start an hour later. The parade began at 18.30, behind the new lifeboat, the Ella Larsen, which was only launched last week, and it was an orderly departure, motoring out past the breakwater, where the crowds were gathered to watch the boats leave.
It was fine, sunny evening for the spectators, and a good one for the start too with a south westerly breeze across the line. Recent starts have been becalmed and even seen boats row across the line, but not this year. With little swell the local rowing crews, and even a couple of paddle boarders had made it a mile out to the start line, marked with two orange buoys.
In the long distant past the multihull and monohull races had been started separately, but now the two classes prepared to start together and at 19.30 they crossed the line with Roaring Forties and Wandering Glider first across and soon moving away at 6 knots. Denebola was close by, easily recognised by its blue hull and black mainsail with Belgian sail number. The smallest in the fleet was making an impressive start.
At the back,starting much more slowly were Infantry Training Centre and the two catamarans, with Peaky Blinders reportedly sailing right over one of the buoys and Don’t Look Down, the smallest of the multihulls a long way back.
The first night of the race came quickly by which time the leaders were approaching Bardsey Sound with Wandering Glider still just ahead. They will round the head of the Llyn Peninsula in the dark, which is unusual and this will make the usual tactic of staying out of the tide by racing very close inshore and near the cliffs a more difficult proposition.
It’s also likely that be the time they’ve made it across Caernarfon Bar, which is very shallow this year at low tide, and into the pier at Caernarfon, the runners will come ashore for the first run in daylight. More often than not they are on Snowdon in the dark, but again this year’s race is set to follow a different pattern.