The 43rd Three Peaks Yacht Race - Sponsored by E.ON

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The Three Peaks Yacht Race – A Race Like No Other

Press Release / 17.06.2021Live TrackingSee All Event Posts Follow Event
The finish beneath Ben Nevis
The finish beneath Ben Nevis / © Rob Howard

The 43rd Three Peaks Yacht Race, sponsored by E.0N, starts from the Welsh coastal resort of Barmouth on Saturday, continuing a history of sporting adventure going back to 1977.  The 43rd race should have happened last year, but like so many others had to be postponed due to Covid restrictions.

It is only after a huge amount of work by the volunteer organising committee, and with support from many different partners, that the race is able to take place year.  So, it is all the more remarkable that the entry is one of the strongest for many years, and the race has secured the sponsorship of energy company E.ON at the very last moment.

E.ON supply renewable energy to all their residential customers and E.ON UK CEO Michael Lewis said, “Wind power is vital to Three Peaks Yacht Race competitors, just as it is a sustainable energy source powering Britain’s cleaner future. As a company with a legacy in renewable energy, we’re proud to combine both through the Three Peaks Yacht Race.”

The sixteen teams taking part this year will certainly be hoping for fair winds to speed them up the spectacular west coast of the UK.  Each yacht carries a team of 5, usually 3 sailors and 2 runners, and stops at Caernarfon, Whitehaven and finally Fort William, from where the runners scale the highest peaks in Wales, England and Scotland.  The race runs non-stop from the start gun and finishes when the runners return to their boat after scaling Ben Nevis.

The yachts are often very close inshore and pass through difficult and dangerous waters, including the Menai Strait and 9 tidal gates.  In total, they sail 389 nautical miles, navigating a route around headlands, through many islands and past the Corryvrekan whirlpool. Sandbanks and rocks are hazards which are not always avoided and if the wind drops teams even row their yachts.

The runners cover 55 miles on foot, and a further 40 on bikes, climbing a total of 16,500 feet as they run from the coast to the summits of Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis in turn.  (The Scafell Pike route includes the cycling stage.)  The quicker the boat sails, the less rest they have between runs, that is if they are not sea sick or called on to row!  Eight teams this year are also racing for the Tilman Trophy, for which 4 of the team have to reach a summit.  

This year the race has one of the most competitive entries for a long time, with several past winners and very experienced race skippers taking part.  (And experience counts for a lot in this race.)   The competitor ages range from 23 to 77, and they include fire fighters, Royal Marines, international sailors and runners, as well as weekend sailors and club runners.

The yachts are not of a single class and vary in size and design, so race under handicap for the overall win, and there are trophies for the fastest sailing times on each leg and overall.  The runners have their own competitions on each peak, and for the overall ‘King of the Mountains’ title, and The Tilman Trophy is one of the most prestigious in the race.

The overall win is the main prize of course, and reaching the finish line in this race is a huge achievement and for some a lifelong ambition.  To get there requires sailors and runners to combine, navigation, sailing skill, speed and endurance with great team work.

The race is a sporting challenge like no other and will be followed by fans all around the world in the week ahead.  It starts on Saturday at 16.00 and there is satellite tracking and live coverage on the race website at www.threepeaksyachtrace.co.uk

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