The Three Peaks Yacht Race

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Late Comers in Barmouth

Rob Howard / 17.06.2005See All Event Posts Follow Event
Yachts have been arriving in Barmouth at the mouth of the Mawddach Estuary for the last couple of days but Friday was when most arrived, and with runners and support crew arriving in vehicles it was a busy day at HQ at the Merioneth Yacht Club.

All the yachts had to be moored in the fast flowing tide of the river mouth, meaning a short ferry ride or a row to get ashore and as the tide swung around so did the line of competing yachts. There was the complex task of ‘scrutineering’ to be completed on board and for the runners on each team, a gear check to ensure they had all they needed. Most felt they had far too much as the required equipment list hasn’t caught up with the days of lightweight, high tech fabrics. It still asks for a ‘long sleeved pullover, woolen or equivalent’.

However, one boat has yet to arrive ready for Saturdays start, and a few individuals arrived only after a late call up. The only yacht which didn’t arrive by nightfall Friday was ‘Wise Guys’, this despite the fact they were in Holyhead at 10am Friday and had fine conditions to sail around Anglesey to Barmouth. Now they will have a difficult time getting into harbour and ready for the start. However, it is a late start this year, the tide dictating that boats leave the harbour at 4.30, ready for a 5.30pm start a mile offshore. So, the ‘Wise Guys’ may still be ready for the starting flare.

Someone else getting a last minute call-up was Geoff West, the owner of ‘Abbeydale Moonshine’(usually called Lightning Reflex). He has chartered the Reflex 38 to the team, who are all ex Sheffield University, and drove to Barmouth after they called him to fix the rudder seal. This he did “to save them doing so much bailing out for the whole race�. The team must be one of the favourites, as they’ve prepared well and have a yacht that has proved well suited to the race and won it several times.

West is an expert on the complex tactics of the course, and when asked if he’d included advice in the charter price he just smiled and said, “Maybe a little.� (The more his boat wins the more it’s likely to be chartered!) He did say the skipper had been out with him in the Solent to see how West managed when sailing two handed. Even more impressively the crew have now had the yacht for 18 days, and have already sailed up to Fort William and back! Now that’s serious preparation.

Their most likely challenger at the front of the race will be ‘Vlad the Impaler’, another 38 footer, which has raced Lightning Reflex many times before. This team too had a late comer, when Graeme Hobson, one of the original runners, broke his ankle paragliding. So Ian Winterburn got the call to join the team, who are in the Tilman Trophy, so must 4 runners to a summit. Winterburn is a member of Dark Peak Fell Runners and should have been attempting the Bob Graham Round this weekend. He’s also a sailing instructor, so should be a very able addition to the team.

The runners got together with Skipper Greg Marsh after he put an advert on SleepMonsters and have been to Scafell Pike and Snowdon to run over the course. “When I saw the ad. I couldn’t let it go,� said Keith Read, “this race has been on my list for years!� With a new line up of runners the team had not quite decided on their tactics for who does which mountain. “I’ll probably do the first two with Rob (Smith),� Read said, “leaving Greg and Ian to do Ben Nevis, but we’ll have to see how we feel after Snowdon! … and I’ve never been up Ben Nevis before.\"

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