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

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The First Finishers Cross The Line

Rob Howard / 23.06.2021Live TrackingSee All Event Posts Follow Event

The first finishers have now crossed the line at the Three Peaks Yacht Race, sponsored by E.ON.  On an overcast morning, with low cloud obscuring Ben Nevis and the wind dropping, the runners returned from the summit of Britain’s highest peak to rejoin their team mates on the finish line, set up between Corpach lock and the shore of Loch Linnhe.

First to return were Chris Near and Mark Davies from Bare Necessities in a fast time of 3 hours 30 mins.  It was their first time in the race, and for Mark Davies something of a surprise as he only got his place on the team a week before the race, after an injury to another runner.  “I had spoken to Chris about doing it before,” he said, “then he rang me just before the race and said, ‘do you fancy a race!’ 

“I’d never done any sailing before but didn’t really get sea sick, though I did feel dizzy a couple of times on the run while finding my land legs.  It’s been a great experience, apart from the cycling!  That was my weak point and I felt like throwing the bike in the hedge a few times on the big climbs. I’m not a cyclist.”

Near was pleased to have finished the race to add to his long list of races done, and had no problem with the cycling given his adventure racing experience. “I enjoyed the run today the most,” he said, “it’s more of proper technical fell run.  We had a bad start on Snowdon as I had severe cramp for the whole descent, and the road running on that leg doesn’t suit me. I couldn’t keep up with Mark on the road and I think we lost any chance to be competitive in King of the Mountains then.”

He added, “It was great being on the catamaran as it was so stable in all weathers, and much more spacious than I expected. It was pretty comfortable.”

His Skipper, Bruce Sutherland, said, “In the roughest conditions we put the runners safely below.  The sailing has been great, with all kinds of conditions, though I think we should rename to ‘wind hole finder’.  We could probably have finished 10 hours earlier but for the huge wind hole we found before Galloway!  Even so, they were the first boat to arrive.

Sutherland and Alison Busfield last raced 25 years ago, and on that occasion were last to finish.  “Everyone had gone home,” Bruce said.  This time they were first to reach Corpach, so it was a different story.

Dominic Gooding was their other crewman and he commented, “I’ve done many different kinds of races, but this one is by far the most interesting of them all.  There are so many challenges all the way along the route. It’s never dull.”

                                               Team Joy on the finish line

Next to finish were the two Royal Marine runners from Team Joy, Sam Deller and Neil Golding, taking 3 hours 45 minutes.  Deller commented on the snow on the summit and said they’d passed the runners from That’s Not My Dog on the climb.

The skipper, Dave Butters, said, “We didn’t know the runners, but they are good lads and fitted in well.  They’d never sailed, but helped out when they could.“  He continued, “The boat handles really well and is fast and we hit the tides right at the end of the race.  It’s always the case the faster boats get those advantages, while those behind get stuck in the tides.”

tI may be the first time a JPK10.10 has entered the race, and they have won the Daily Telegraph cup for line honours and, given their handicap, will surely win the overall race title as well.  Their 0.999 handicap gives them the advantage over the other lead boats, and Butters said it was a boat designed for racing and for a competitive handicap.

Third across the line were the runners from Team That’s Not My Dog, and the three team members not running went up the track to run into the finish with Gillies Munro and Morgan Peach.  Finishing all together was typical of the teamwork that has carried this young team through to a great result, When he’d got his breath back, Peach said, “I think the biggest thing to take away from this race is that we’ve been a strong team and always been there for each other.

“There were some things we could have done with knowing a bit more about, but that’s to be expected in our first race, and the sailing has been amazing.”  He wasn’t so keen on the running and said Munro pushed him for a long time and that he’d had cramp for the final 10k, however his run qualified the team for the Tilman Trophy, which they look sure to win now.  And their Ben Nevis time of 4.42 was a good one as well!

White Clouds finished next, 3rd across the line in the competition and, for most of the crew, they were completing another of many Three Peaks Yacht Races.  Some quick calculations came up with a figure of 22 finishes between them now and Richard Hart said his children love playing with the medals, and they are scattered around the house!

Nick Donnelly said last night wasn’t easy.  With the weather turning cloudy and raining, it was darker as they raced under spinnaker and at one point in the night he was climbing into the rigging to fix a problem with it.  Having been competitive in the earlier part of the stage, they’d been left behind by the two faster boats on the downwind sailing.  They will win the 3rd place trophy and were lucky to get the finish before the wind dropped.  The next boat behind them is Wild Spirit, and they’ve been taking an agonisingly long time to sail up Loch Linnhe to the finish in light winds.

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