The Three Peaks Yacht Race

  • UK (GBR)
  • Off-Road Running
  • Off-Road Cycling

Row, Row, Row Your Boat ….

Rob Howard / 18.06.2005See All Event Posts Follow Event
It’s not going to be a record breaking race ... not for sailing anyway. For only the second time in the 28 year history of the race oars were used to cross the start line ... and with 389 miles and 3 mountains ahead that’s not the best of starts!

As the crews waved goodbye to family and friends and made their way out to their boats the flags and pennants were not stirred by the slightest breeze, though the forecast had been for a southerly 3 to 4. It never came. For the spectators and the many local boats which went out to the start it was a perfect day, the hottest day of the year, but it was windless.

The small canon by the harbour Masters office fired at 16.30 and the boats followed the Barmouth Lifeboat out of the harbour, onto a glassy sea. The start line is marked by two buoys a mile off shore and here they practiced their starts, all trying to stay close to the inshore buoy, but soon oars were being prepared.

When the start flare fired there was a melee of boats around the buoy, and Abbeydale Moonshine forced Flapjack to turn astern of the start boat and crossed the line first. But as expected, their rival was Vlad the Impaler, which pulled slowly away to take the lead.

Not everyone managed to find the wind the needed to cross the line though, and it was the Navy team in Galahad who rowed determinedly over the line, and within half an hour more and more boats had the oars out, to varying effects. The Barmouth boat Annie Gunn has two ‘oars’ with almost no paddles – they were almost like poles, and though the crew tried to make the best headway the could, they were soon a long way behind everyone else. It may not prove critical though, as in the light airs it’s possible the leaders will find the tide against them in the Menai Strait tomorrow morning, allowing the fleet to catch up.

After being forced off the start line Ken Fitzpatrick quickly tacked inshore, with several others, including Mew Gull, following to move up wind. It looked like the right tactic as they soon found some breeze, moving up to 5 or 6 knots at times, though there is no telling how long it will last and when the leaders will reach Caernarfon. Before then they have to round the difficult tides at Bardsey Head, and little wind that will be difficult.

When they do reach Caernarfon the runners have to complete the 26 mile Snowdon circuit, but the advantage of the late start and light airs for them may be that they can do the run in daylight. Normally the leaders run at night, but it seem unlikely that will happen this year. Estimates for the leaders time of arrival range from 3am to 8am, but only time will tell.

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